It is without a doubt one of the best decisions we made - to go to the WSA convention this past summer. That decision led to us sitting in on one of Dr. Morris' lectures on the ABCs of WS and where kids should fall in their development. Brady has always been behind the WS kids his age and we just assumed he was on the other end of the spectrum. But when asked, Dr. Morris suggested we look into having the chromosomal micro array testing - where basically all chromosomes are looked at, not just chromosome 7 which is owned by WS.
That decision led to our appointment with Dr. Pober, WS geneticist expert extraordinaire, who examined the boy. She acknowledged his consistent progress, albeit slow; his good health, and our good attitudes. Then she ordered the tests.
Two weeks later, we have been hit.
The micro array showed Brady has a larger deletion than his WS counterparts, it extends beyond chromosome 7 and includes additional genes. There is also a second change in another location down by chromosome 11, where part of the chromosome is missing but no genes are missing. The typical deletion for WS is a loss of 26-28 genes. Brady's micro array showed he is missing an additional 75, a total of 100 genes missing.
More genes missing means there will be more interference with normal growth and development. Dr. Pober said she needs to research the genes missing since they didn't know how they contributed to a person, and they may not even be able to find out what each one does. The idea is to follow medically anything that they could help with, but that is about it.
For example, she did note that one particular gene they knew that was missing would put Brady at a higher risk of seizures. Seizures that went untreated would cause a person not to learn as well. While we have never witnessed Brady having a seizure, she is setting up a consult with a pediatric neurologist for a brain scan. The "autism 2" gene is also missing, but Dr. Pober discounted that he had autism. She felt it was more of an association that he didn't have that one particular gene.
The second tiny chain of missing chromosome was down by chromosome 11, where no genes were missing. She felt it was likely irrelevant and thought it was a more of a "fingerprint" of his DNA and wanted Tom and I to give bloodwork to see if it was hereditary. We will visit with Dr. Pober in about four to six weeks once they have done more research on the missing genes.
I am typing this watching Brady... he was sitting in the middle of the floor, pulled himself up independently, walked to me and peered over the table to see the computer monitor. Uninterested, he turned, walked into the living room to the coffee table, grabbed a couple Fruit Loops, climbed on top of the table, ate them, got off the table and walked back into the kitchen to check out the CD playing ("Almost Famous" soundtrack, incidentally, fabulous). I smile.
How far he has come... yet now I know for sure he is 100 genes less. So easy to slip into that black hole cycle... but how can I possibly, seeing his progress? Seeing his quirky smile, upon which I am reminded all the time it took 14 months to get, yet is here all day now? Just another deep breath, I am sure this is not the last of news I don't want to hear. But the news I do enjoy getting, I am reminded daily.