Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lost Life

I not only lost my family of origin due to adoption, I lost a great majority of my life battling multiple health issues without any family medical background.  Health issues not only affect work and finances, they are also destroyers of emotional and mental health, and take a huge toll on relationships including marriages.  Chronic illness steals away days, weeks, months, and years from its victims especially those who have no current and updated genetic history to give to doctors to help with diagnosis's.  My children also lost out because I could not function as I should have, or be the mother I could have been spending so much time sick between doctors and hospitals with few answers.

I started to suffer from female problems at age 15 that slowly affected my ability to function in school.  I had always been a good student.  I tried to tell my adoptive parents I was in a great amount of pain and fatigue and spending time in the nurses office at school, but this was written off as ploy for attention.  Luckily, my dwindling grades and increasing class absences caught the attention of teachers and finally the realization I was not physically well.  But, these problems would continue on until age 29 I was finally diagnosed with the same health problem my biological mother had surgery for at the same age.  I would not find that out until age 39 upon petitioning the adoption court.

At 24 after the birth of my first child symptoms of pain and nausea plagued me off and on and became increasingly an issue for me being able to eat and or keep food down.  Testing that was ordered revealed nothing.  I was finally taken to an eating disorder clinic and convinced I was anorexic and bulimic.  But, I loved food and eating I told them.  When I was served meals I ate salad and light fair as heavy, fatty, greasy foods made me sicker.  That only cemented the doctor's theory that I was in fact an anorexic and or bulimic.  I was released after insurance refused to pay for any further stay.  After years of wasting away and unable to eat anything but crackers, broth, bread, and living on Ensure, two more months of testing finally led to a final procedure that gave doctors the knowledge I had a rare gall bladder disease.  It was rare and only 6% of all people with gall bladder problems suffered from it.  It also was I found out VERY hereditary.  It was removed and three weeks after surgery I was up and about eating and back at work and putting on weight.  My non-identifying information later revealed that my biological parents were very thin and small people.  So was I.  Add a gall bladder disease and what do you have?  I person who LOOKS anorexic and bulimic.  I had not had all the information to give to doctors that could have changed my life.  Instead, I lost life yet again.

I've been told that opening adoption records is not necessary and that this is just an excuse for adoptees to obtain identifying information about their biological families.  As if we didn't DESERVE the same information as every other person does JUST because we ask for it.  Genetic testing is expensive and time consuming.  Adoptees should not have to spend any more time and money and unnecessary medical testing to get crucial medical background.

I have just touched on two of the five or six health problems I have battled, and am still fighting to this day.  I have half the answers to my family medical history but thirteen years later I am on my fourth court petition for the other half.  No one should have to endure guess work where their health is concerned and life and death medical issues are involved.

This is just another example of the disaster that the closed records system of adoption is.  I have lost the majority of my life in the pursuit of answers to medical mysteries.  We deserve the right to our own family histories and information, not just because we are sick.  But because it is ours.