Picking through history

When you try to keep track of what is happening in the world you often find that what you are hearing is just what you heard years ago, the world doesn’t really change, we think it does, but it doesn’t. Somewhere in the world there is a war going on, somewhere someone has been killed and somewhere there is the joy of new life and in another the joyous celebration of life, is also going on. It is as thought there are a set of dice, marked with collection of possibilities once thrown, the next act takes place while the dice wait to be thrown again. History has always been a passion of mine, I have always had this need to know what the past was about, probably because my family had been antique dealers for many years and I grew up surrounded by the past even now I still need to know the whys and wherefores. Within my own family there has always been a few members who’s lives seemed to me to be shrouded in a veil that we were not allowed to ask about, or try to find out about. I have over the years asked many many times for a few detail that no one was ever willing to give me and as my health failed I tried yet again but still I was told little. My main questions where always about my fathers mother, who died when I was just two years old, I asked about her again and again because the little I knew left me actually wondering if our conditions were linked somehow.

I know they say that MS is not passed on through families, but I have also heard many cases where more than one member of the same family have been effected by it. All I know of my grandmothers story point in my mind to it being highly likely that she to had MS. After the birth of her 5th child she had slowly started to go down hill, become more and more unable to deal with the children. A nanny had been brought in to help but still she was in more pain and less able to deal with life becoming more frail and spending more time asleep than with the family. My grandfather divorced her, I am told because of her health as she was seen as unable to deal with normal life. Once divorced he set her up in a large house just outside the city with a living in nurse to care for her, permitting the children to be taken to her occasionally for short visits. How my mother described her condition, although not identical sounds very similar to how I am, but my mother could not or would not give me a name to her condition, at most she described her as to tired to deal with life. Her youngest child also seemed to go through something very similar, I saw little of my Aunt as she too spent most of her life at home also spending more and more time alone and asleep eventually like my grandmother dying in her fifties. All the children on that side of my family including my father, each had a range of autoimmune conditions, from asthma to through to arthritis and all in extreme forms. Into my generation both my brothers and my sister all again have a range of different autoimmune conditions. My sister and her two daughters had asthma so badly that the all have oxygen stored at home as it is frequently required. My youngest brother has a very rare condition I can never remember the name of but is destroying his kidneys, at the minute it is in remission but should it flare again, there would be nothing they can do. Even a transplant would be of no use as his body would just attack the new ones as it does his own. My oldest brother as far as I know to date only has arthritis, he is the one with the best health but not one of my family is totally healthy and every condition that we each live with is an autoimmune one.

The small amount of history I have of my families health into previous generations seems to point to none of them being exactly healthy, I know the naming of conditions is a really difficult as you go back in time, mainly because most autoimmune conditions were simply not recognised. I find it really hard though to believe that it is just coincidence that two entire generations and possibly a third, all have suffered with debilitating conditions, all of them apparently autoimmune. I can’t help wondering if there is a gene or a virus that trigger the immune system to go mad and destroy some part of our body, I have only listed the conditions that are the worst that we each have, like me, I also know that most have more than just one condition somehow my siblings all have asthma, but my sister and her daughters have it the worst. Although we just have to accept what the doctors tell us, that our health is not connected in any way. As I said at the start, history has a habit of repeating itself, if that dice was tossed for each of my family and each of us has been given the similar bad deal, just seems incredibly unlikely. I find it far more likely that the dice was thrown only once for our entire family and that there is somewhere a connection between us all.

This isn’t the only story like this I have heard over the years, well when you are ill suddenly everyone want to tell you their life history. All to often the history of a families show just the same, each of them with a different condition, but with similar roots. Chance, coincidence or hereditary, all we can do for now is guess, maybe one day they will have the answer.