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The Family Curse

But she knows she has a curse on her, a curse she cannot win. For if someone gets too close to her, the pins stick further in. ~Tim Burton


witchDo you believe in curses? I do. Before you think I’m a bit off nut or way off my nut, let me elucidate.

I’m not talking about a curse cast by wart nosed, green skinned hags stirring a boiling cauldron of newts noses, thorny nettles, worm hearts, snake venom, wolf toenails, bat saliva and a lock of golden hair from yonder beautiful maiden into a witches brew.

Nor am I talking about the curse that stems from the bite of a wolf the turns a meek and humble human into a malevolent werewolf that can only be satiated, and then only temporarily, by ingesting human blood when the moon is full. Nor am I talking about the curse of the wealthy that sees rich parents giving their children everything money can buy resulting in unhappy adults who don’t understand the character building that comes from working for what they want.

dna double helixI am talking about a curse binding generation to generation, a cursed passed from parent to child which cannot be prevented, a curse at the genetic level, a curse existing in the fundamental building blocks of humans, a curse carried by DNA. I have one of those curses in my bloodline.

My grandfather died of a massive heart attack in his 40s. His son, my dad, underwent a quadruple bypass in his 50s. By linear extrapolation (it’s an Engineer thing) I figured I was safe from heart disease until I was well into my 60s. I found out today that I was wrong, luckily not dead wrong.

Over the past couple of months, I have been short of breath when walking around. I had an EKG in February to rule out heart disease which came out normal. So, I chalked the breathing problems up to the lingering affects from the bad case of bronchitis I had at the close of the year and my recent propensity for asthma. When I received the all clear from my asthma doctor and the breathing issue still did not abate, I self diagnosed this as acid reflux and took those meds still without correction.



I recalled from years back my dad saying he was getting short of breath from walking up steps which turned out to be an indicator that he had blockages in his arteries. This had been lingering in my mind for the better part of the past two months, a stain on an otherwise optimistic disposition, an annoyance I could not shake. With two years in India just around the corner, I figured it would be intelligent to undergo a stress test to rule out once and for all that my breathing issues stemmed from heart disease so I scheduled a stress test. Truthfully, on the way to the test, I was fairly sure I would be whisked away to the ER for emergency surgery.

The results were not quite that bad still they are a cause for concern. There is definitely an abnormality  in the way the front of my heart is operating, an abnormality which indicates a possible blockage. In two days, I am returning to the Heart Dr for a consultation. On the third day (or the fourth day), I will have an angiogram. I will also possibly (most likely) have an angioplasty to address the blockage.

I am shaken, very shaken at this news. I am also thankful that I received this information before I moved half way around the world. I would hate to have had my dream of living in India tarnished by having a heart attack while living in India.


One comment on “The Family Curse

  1. There you go — you did the right thing by being proactive! And no matter what anyone says about the American health system, there’s just nowhere else I’d want to be when facing illness. Good luck.

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