Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicago, Chicago...

...so, I have written about this before: our trip to Chicago for the twins' participation in the Toxoplasmosis Study Group at the University of Chicago. This was our 4th trip up there to see Dr McLeod and her team in the past 5 1/2 years. Before I continue, however, I just need to say something about "Toxo". It sucks - it really does. Yes, I've said that about cancer. BUT, there's a big difference. Cancer can be treated and one can be declared "Cancer free." (Don't get me wrong, definitely NOT trying to make light of it...as I have known 2 people these past few weeks who fought their cancers to the bitter end...)

However, babies born with congenital toxoplasmosis will never be Toxo-free. They are born with that nasty little parasite swimming around in their eyes and their brains -thanks to transmission through cat feces (no, I don't have cats), improperly washed fruits or vegetables, or undercooked meats. So, if you have a cat - keep it inside. If you're pregnant, get tested. Cook your meats, wash your vegetales AND wash your cutting utensils. And if you're not immune, get treated.

Over the past 4 visits to Chicago, I have had the opportunity to talk to other Moms. None of them can remember being ill while pregnant or how they could have possibly contracted the parasitic infection. Some have kids with no symptoms, others have kids with varying degrees of effects on the eyes or in the brains of their children. But the one thing we all seem to have in common is guilt - even if we don't discuss it. How could we have let this happen? We were so careful when we were pregnant. If they were like me, having undergone fertility treatments, I was tested beforehand for everything - or at least, I thought I was. I often wonder if the twins will resent me when they learn more about this affliction. Will Creed be pissed at me because he can't play football or hockey with 2 shunts in his brain? Will Zelda hate me because I transmitted the parasite that caused her blindness?

Shit, I really didn't want to go "there". I think I have gotten off track from telling about our weekend. I'm stopping here. For now.