I’m back pretty much. After the joy of prostate surgery, I am, for the most part, back. And it’s a joy to be back, too. I never want any man to experience what I just experienced.
During this time off, I took inventory of the health issues that I have. This surgery was to correct an enlarged prostate. I don’t mean to be too terribly blunt, but it’s something that has afflicted me for about eight years. Very recently I spoke to a prostate surgeon and he told me, “Bob, you HAVE to have this surgery”. In asking why, he informed me that an enlarged prostate can lead to kidney failure.
That got me to thinking. Around twenty years ago, Giulio, my bio father was sharing with me his prostate surgery. At the time I was in my early thirties and not terribly interested in an “old man’s disease”. He talked about how urinating was now like a “dam bursting loose”. But he decried the impotence that (at that time) came with prostate surgery.
Now, twenty-some years later, his words resonate in my mind, along with the words of my doctor. Giulio had prostate issues and, twenty years later, suffered kidney failure. I am roughly the same age my father was when he had his prostate issue corrected. Will I suffer the same fate? My father was in his late seventies when he was stricken with kidney failure and had to go on dialysis. What does the future hold for me? And if I suffer the same fate, is it a result of genetics?
This causes me to wonder…Giulio also had heart disease–it was actually his heart that killed him. He had had quadruple bypass surgery in his early sixties. Is that in my future? From my mother’s side I’m high risk for colon cancer. I’m starting to feel like a walking death watch.
But you know? Thank GOD I have this knowledge! What if I’d never met my family? I’d have no information to help me make decisions. I’d be stumbling around in the dark, wondering what to do, grasping for answers. And now that I’ve seen what my father went through, I have an idea of what could possibly befall me in the next twenty years.
You know, there are only a handful of states that give adoptees the right to have access to their birth records. The reasons for not doing so are truly ludicrous and antiquated. Generally, they follow something along the lines of “the birth mother wanted it this way”, “we want to respect the birth mother’s wishes”, etc.
There are some inherent problems with these arguments. Chief among them is that adoptees never agreed to such a proposal. We are a demographic (a HUGE demographic) that is not allowed to know our genesis, our history, our genetic information. And it is accepted! We are expected to live in silence when life-saving decisions, tests and intercession could be occurring to protect us, protect our families and save our lives. Yet, lawmakers approach the issue with a black-and-white attitude. How many issues are truly black-and-white? How many of these legislators don’t know their background?
Lawmakers could easily address the concerns of the bio family when crafting legislation. Laws allowing adoptees access to their birth records could be crafted that would protect the biological mother. Some sort of clearinghouse providing a conduit between the adoptee and the birth mother could be created for mothers who don’t want to know their child. The mother could provide all genetic information necessary and the adoptee would be able to move forward. Yes, it would be hard for an adoptee who would like to meet his/her bio family, but at least there would be the exchange of knowledge.
And it would provide a place where adoptees could interact with bio families who WANT to know the missing child. This is something that lawmakers seem to ignore in order to placate a loud minority. Why not allow people to make their own decisions? There are ways to ameliorate the situation. Lawmakers, as usual, get in the way.
Perhaps my approach is too simplistic for most people. Perhaps my opinion is colored by my own experience. OK, I’ll give you that. I would be willing to testify if it would help the plight of adoptees. I would love everyone to have the knowledge of their background that I have of my background. Don’t they deserve that?