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survival genes



I took Ray to his neurologist today, he goes every six months to get his Reminyl script and for the neuro to see how he is, he has been Ray's neuro since he came back to the local hospital after his first stroke 17 years ago. It is not unusual to go in for an appointment and have a strange conversation. The neurologist is very easy to talk to. He does clinical trials and a lot of lecturing and stroke education seminars both for lay people and medical professionals. He tends to talk about whatever is on his mind right now, bouncing ideas off the patients to get an idea about how non-professionals think he says.


The neuro said that there is a lot of research being done on what causes predisposition to illness or certain diseases. It is all very interesting, says he, but we should also be looking at the genes that help people survive. This is because a lot of people, like Ray, have illnesses that one would think would be enough to kill them and yet they survive. So he also thinks there must be in some people a pre-disposition to survival, so if we find these survival genes, the ones that make us tough, we may have some more answers.


I found that a very interesting theory because as he said the stroke that is intensive enough to kill one person will have a lesser effect on another. This can be regardless of age, fitness, other illness or pre-conditions. There are some people who have a "toughness" that seems to fly in the face of reason and medical probability. Most of us put it down to having strong minded ancestors, the kind of pioneers that could walk miles with bullet wounds, axe wounds, fevers and snake bite and through whatever kind of weather and conditions nature threw at them. So is the survival gene some kind of gene left over from the pioneering days?


We have a good friend staying a few days, he is actually the godfather of our youngest son. We have known him for over thirty years, he lives about 300 miles away and came up for a few days as he said to "do a few little jobs for Sue." So he is painting the gables at the end of our house which are wooden and were starting to peel and flake off paint. As a house painter he saw something he could do for us that we could not do for ourselves. How blessed are we when friends see a need and do the job without being asked to? Mighty blessed.


I have been chatting with people on Dementianet, mostly late evening my time. This is a site for dementia carers so as they often have to put the one they are caring for, be it spouse or parent, to bed before they feel free to sit down for a while 9.30pm on seems an ideal time. I am enjoying talking to another set of people who are struggling with the same problems as we are here but from a slightly different perspective. This will not take away from my chat hosting here as it is a very different time slot but I feel in a way what I learn at each site I can use on the other, for the benefit of others.


The rest of the week is a faster pace as we have several things on each day, tomorrow is my chat day and I have other things to do as usual. On Thursday the "biggest Morning Tea" which is a fundraiser for Cancer research will be held in a nearby park by our Lions Club and I want to help out there. I haven't done any service work recently and it is about time I gave a hand when and where I am able to. We have physiotherapy for Ray that afternoon. On Friday I want to go clothes shopping for Mum so she has plenty of warm winter clothes to wear. A lot of her clothes are really faded and no longer warm as the automatic, industrial strength washing machines used by the nursing homes seem very hard on fabrics.


Mum is a survivor too. She had a tough childhood. Her father was away from home a lot and she lost her mother at 16, her father remarried at 17 and Mum had to make her own way in the world. She lived in London during the Blitz, working in a munitions factory as her contribution to the War Effort. She had her husband ( my Dad) missing in action, then taken to Germany as a prisoner-of-war. After the war they started a new life but realised that they wanted more say in how they lived. They came to Australia with two small children, my sister and me, and made a fresh start. It was not pioneering but it was still a hard life, starting again from scratch. Good survival genes there, in both of them.


So I hope as you read this you will take heart, thinking of all you have come through to get yourself to this part of your life. We all have genes that pre-dispose us to all kinds of nasties, strokes and heart attacks among them. But hopefully we also have survival genes that will allow us to be overcomers.


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Guest lwisman


Hi Sue,


Very interesting blog. In my family there has long been talk of people surviving when medicine said they would not. For example, my grandmother had a kidney removed at 53 in 1938. She was not expected to live, but did. Then she proceeded to have all kinds of other medical problems over the years including three heart attacks. She died of leukemia at 82 in 1967. everyone always talked about her will to live. And, in fact, in was obviously to even me as a teenager the day she gave up. She was dead within a few days.


It is interesting to consider that maybe there is a gene involved as well. Hmm...


I like to think I inherited some of this tendency. I am one of those whose family was told after my stroke I would survive more that a few days. Now it is ten years later.


Think of you often and all you are going through. Know that your stroke family is around.


Have a good day.

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very interesting blog, I still give lot of credit to my family support for me to be able to survive and thrive., looks like I also have survivor instnicts.




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Dear Lady, you've done it again - gave this brain of mine something else to ponder :uhm: about. Which is a good thing of course as it helps to keep the brain cells stimulated.


From our IM chats, you may recall that I have come through alot of "stuff" in life. Granted, I am a stubborn, bullheaded Irish/German/English mix - but I'm sure too that genetics plays in there. Family history shows much willpower also - but I tend to lean towards the survival genes also.


I'm glad you're receiving good information from dementianet too. In addition, there are similarities between our organizations that are beneficial to members. You give so much of yourself - wish we could reciprocate more than :hug: :hug:


Thanks to you for challenging my brain cells today.

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Well Sue, a scientist (a neurologist) says it is "a pre-disposition to survival" and a spiritualist (me) calls it fate. Aren't the 2 things the same? The person who is very ill survives and the not so ill one passes. Or take it a step further as I have done in the past- one person gets a stroke in the brainstem, a not too good place or a person gets one a few cm. away in the cerebellum, a not too bad place. How else can these things be explained?


You are very fortunate to have such a great friend; some people have family that wouldn't do what your friend has......


Well, normally, I would be at chat tonight but because my computer are in different areas and since my "tushie" (think that word is acceptable) can't be in 2 places - although it is large- I am going to watch American Idol like so many others here and see what all the yelling is about.........and what my crazy broter voted 1200 times for......so - net time.



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