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Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, A Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington's

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Would you marry the man you adored if you knew he had a chance of inheriting one of the cruelest diseases on earth? Therese Crutcher is not a risk taker. Through meticulous planning, she eliminates as much uncertainty from her life as she can. Yet during her senior year of college, blithely planning to marry her beloved John Marin, she is suddenly thrown into turmoil when J Would you marry the man you adored if you knew he had a chance of inheriting one of the cruelest diseases on earth? Therese Crutcher is not a risk taker. Through meticulous planning, she eliminates as much uncertainty from her life as she can. Yet during her senior year of college, blithely planning to marry her beloved John Marin, she is suddenly thrown into turmoil when John's sisters announce they finally know what killed their mother, institutionalized when her four children were all under ten. Phyllis had Huntington's disease, an inherited neurological disease with horrible odds: John and his three older sisters have a fifty-percent chance of inheriting this terrible wasting disease, which slowly kills the brain cells that affect movement and cognition. There is still no treatment or cure. John says, "You never know what will happen in life," but his at-risk status shakes Therese to the core. How can she live with such uncertainty? Eventually, Therese decides to marry the man she loves. All four Marins choose to ignore what they cannot change; and in the early years, John and his sisters--a big part of Therese's life-- remain healthy, fun-loving, and as close as ever. Therese takes another big gamble and has a child, and then another. When she observes symptoms in Lora, the oldest sister, Therese fears that Huntington's has found her. And when Marcia, the gentle middle sister, is diagnosed with the disease, Therese--with two small children, a career, and a husband now in the prime age range to show symptoms--struggles against the demons that feed her fear. After Lora dies, Therese feels unprepared to support her family should the unthinkable occur, so she earns a master's in healthcare administration and begins a new career. When Marcia's symptoms worsen, John moves her nearby, and Therese lovingly oversees her care. Several years later, Cindy, the youngest, most athletic sister, alsodevelops Huntington's, and Therese does the same, feeling that managing the care of these loved ones is a privilege and the greatest gift she can give them. Thus unfolds a life filled with unpredictability, tough choices, and pain, and yet full of love, good times, and great joy. Therese comes to realize that the uncertainty she willingly took on has opened her heart to love more deeply; that acknowledging her world could change overnight has made her life richer. She has learned to overlook shortcomings and to compromise, to let go of anger when she can't control a situation, to find joy in the simple things. Life is just too precious to waste a moment on small stuff. And though John's sisters leave this world far too soon, the Marin siblings, she realizes, have taught her about embracing life, forgiveness, and unconditional love.


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Would you marry the man you adored if you knew he had a chance of inheriting one of the cruelest diseases on earth? Therese Crutcher is not a risk taker. Through meticulous planning, she eliminates as much uncertainty from her life as she can. Yet during her senior year of college, blithely planning to marry her beloved John Marin, she is suddenly thrown into turmoil when J Would you marry the man you adored if you knew he had a chance of inheriting one of the cruelest diseases on earth? Therese Crutcher is not a risk taker. Through meticulous planning, she eliminates as much uncertainty from her life as she can. Yet during her senior year of college, blithely planning to marry her beloved John Marin, she is suddenly thrown into turmoil when John's sisters announce they finally know what killed their mother, institutionalized when her four children were all under ten. Phyllis had Huntington's disease, an inherited neurological disease with horrible odds: John and his three older sisters have a fifty-percent chance of inheriting this terrible wasting disease, which slowly kills the brain cells that affect movement and cognition. There is still no treatment or cure. John says, "You never know what will happen in life," but his at-risk status shakes Therese to the core. How can she live with such uncertainty? Eventually, Therese decides to marry the man she loves. All four Marins choose to ignore what they cannot change; and in the early years, John and his sisters--a big part of Therese's life-- remain healthy, fun-loving, and as close as ever. Therese takes another big gamble and has a child, and then another. When she observes symptoms in Lora, the oldest sister, Therese fears that Huntington's has found her. And when Marcia, the gentle middle sister, is diagnosed with the disease, Therese--with two small children, a career, and a husband now in the prime age range to show symptoms--struggles against the demons that feed her fear. After Lora dies, Therese feels unprepared to support her family should the unthinkable occur, so she earns a master's in healthcare administration and begins a new career. When Marcia's symptoms worsen, John moves her nearby, and Therese lovingly oversees her care. Several years later, Cindy, the youngest, most athletic sister, alsodevelops Huntington's, and Therese does the same, feeling that managing the care of these loved ones is a privilege and the greatest gift she can give them. Thus unfolds a life filled with unpredictability, tough choices, and pain, and yet full of love, good times, and great joy. Therese comes to realize that the uncertainty she willingly took on has opened her heart to love more deeply; that acknowledging her world could change overnight has made her life richer. She has learned to overlook shortcomings and to compromise, to let go of anger when she can't control a situation, to find joy in the simple things. Life is just too precious to waste a moment on small stuff. And though John's sisters leave this world far too soon, the Marin siblings, she realizes, have taught her about embracing life, forgiveness, and unconditional love.

30 review for Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, A Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington's

  1. 4 out of 5

    Renika Jacobs

    3 of the Most Courageous Women Ever I do not know if I could just keep going knowing a death so very too soon and that gruesome awaited me. I also don't think I could have had kids knowing that there was a chance they'd die like that too. But then I think that most things in life are a crap shoot and her husband was right when he said he could walk outside and get hit by a car and die tomorrow so why worry about some disease killing him years from now. Anyway, his sister's were very brave amazing 3 of the Most Courageous Women Ever I do not know if I could just keep going knowing a death so very too soon and that gruesome awaited me. I also don't think I could have had kids knowing that there was a chance they'd die like that too. But then I think that most things in life are a crap shoot and her husband was right when he said he could walk outside and get hit by a car and die tomorrow so why worry about some disease killing him years from now. Anyway, his sister's were very brave amazing women and I was honored to read their story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Huffman

    A beautiful way to honor these women. Thank you for sharing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    my notes are under private

  4. 4 out of 5

    Linda Eckhardt

  5. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  6. 4 out of 5

    Les Gallo-Silver

  7. 4 out of 5

    James A Trantham

  8. 5 out of 5

    nola king

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    Elise

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara McLeod

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    Giselle Mazansky

  12. 4 out of 5

    Max

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul J. Rogstad

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Homewood

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beverly McClellan

  16. 4 out of 5

    lea ann gunderson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan Jacobs

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fairlene Wearne

  19. 4 out of 5

    Candy Shelton

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph E Catlin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  22. 5 out of 5

    JULIE H. SNYDER

  23. 4 out of 5

    VIRGINIA DAUGHERTY

  24. 5 out of 5

    drug trafficking

  25. 4 out of 5

    Francine

  26. 5 out of 5

    Violet Unrau

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marcy J Payne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Margaret H. Kohmann

  29. 5 out of 5

    Donna Cox

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frances Harkins

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