How we’re facing familial adenomatous polyposis

When my father-in-law was in his 30s, he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer as a result of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a genetic condition that stimulates the production of polyps and increases a person’s cancer risk. My husband, Jesse, learned that he too had familial adenomatous polyposis when he was 15 years old. By the time I met Jesse in college, he’d already had a colectomy, a procedure that removed his colon. So after we got married, we had a lot of conversations about whether we should have children and risk passing this condition onto them. Jesse and I decided to put our faith in God and not let a genetic condition get in the way of our life. Talking to our children about familial adenomatous polyposis Now, we’re proud parents of an 8-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter, and we talk openly with them about familial adenomatous polyposis. Starting at about age 3, we showed them anatomy books and explained that their daddy doesn’t have a colon. Slowly and through regular conversation, we explained the potential impact that familial adenomatous polyposis may have on their bodies, too. We relied on reading materials to help us create talking points and answer questions properly. These conversations also helped us prepare our children for Jesse’s Whipple procedure, which he underwent last November after doctors discovered high-grade dysplasia in his duodenum. The Whipple procedure removed Jesse’s duodenum, gall bladder as well as a part of his stomach and pancreas. Coping with fears of passing on familial adenomatous polyposis Yes, my children sometimes get scared about the possibility of having familial adenomatous polyposis,...