Do You Know Your Family Medical History?

Serendipity. That word sums up today. I’ll break it down into three parts:

  1. This morning I wrote an e-mail to my biological mother to wish her a happy birthday. I realize that sentence may be strange to some people, so I’ll summarize: I’m adopted, and I am forever appreciative of the gift my biological mother gave me when she decided (in utero) that I would have the best chance at a good life with a family (she was single). I’m fortunate that my parents were open about my adoption with me from a very early age, so to me it was very normal and not at all mysterious. I also had the good fortunate of having a way to reach my biological mother if I wanted to, which I decided to do when I was in college because I wanted to make sure I didn’t accidentally date a biological sister I wasn’t aware of. I typically communicate with my biological mother about once a year, usually on her birthday.
  2. I went to the dermatologist today to get an annual checkup. As the doctor was finishing up, I asked when I should return, and she asked if I had a family history of melanoma. I told her I wasn’t sure, because I’m adopted. That’s the short answer, because the full answer is that I have contact with my biological mother, but that she was also adopted, and she knows nothing about her biological parents. So the full extent of my medical history is limited to one person (as well as a biological brother and sister, neither of whom have the same biological father as me).
  3. Here’s the serendipitous part: I returned home to an e-mail from my biological mother saying that she recently learned who her biological mother is! For the first time ever, she has the ability to know about her medical history, and I can know more. And all of this information is happening on one of the rare days where I happen to mention to a doctor that I don’t know my family medical history.

As I’m typing this, I’m realizing that it also means that for the first time ever, I know who my biological grandmother is. I never even considered that possibility. Of course, she’s a complete stranger to me, but where there was once a solid wall between me and that part of my biological family tree, there’s now a door. I should have thought about that before I wrote this post…it’s hitting me in real time, so I’m going to post this and try to figure out what this means!

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