I'm guessing you have an idea where this blog is going...
Today my baby boy turns 19.
Eric Anthony Cassalina, my first born child, turns 19.
Big deal you say?
Let me explain.
My whole life I had always thought positive was a good word.
Slow down, not so fast.
Eric was born with meconium ileus, a blockage in the intestines that usually comes out during childbirth. His didn’t. I was still recovering from having him at Vassar Brothers Hospital when I was asked by the doctor on call to pick either Albany Medical Center or Westchester Medical Center because Eric needed to be flown to one of them immediately.
Two people in red flight suits walked in and put Eric in a small, clear box called an Isolette with wires hooked up to him.
I discharged myself, and Marc and I drove by car to meet Eric at Westchester Medical Center which was over an hour away.
Marc and I were in our sterile yellow garments in the NICU unit. I was rocking Eric in the rocking chair, staring at him.
His tiny hand grasped my pinky.
Dr. Doom, the only woman of the seven doctors who had trooped in, reached for my hand when she said that Eric had tested positive.
Marc looked at me and then at the solemn faces of the rest of doctors.
and that was not a good thing.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) was unknown to me—a new mom who had just given birth three days ago.
“CF is a fatal genetic disease.”
I certainly understood those words.
What a nice way to say death.
Breathe, I told myself. Breathe.
The doctors started getting more detailed and explained that Marc and I were unknowing genetic carriers of the CF gene found in chromosome seven. We’d had a 25 percent chance of having a child with CF. Back in 1989, scientists had isolated the cystic fibrosis gene, and they are working on gene therapy and,
ultimately, the cure for the disease.
They had my full, undivided attention when they disclosed to us that