Creative, free-spirited, business owner, and recent college graduate, Adariel Lee, of the Bronx, NY, was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome at the age of 4 when her mother noticed she was looking down at her hands a lot. At an eye doctor appointment, they learned that the connective tissue in her eye was loose, leading her to additional medical evaluations. As a result, the diagnosis of Marfan syndrome was confirmed. Adariel is the first in her family to have the condition.
When I had my open-heart surgery to repair my aorta back in the summer of 2014, I did not have many questions. I wanted the process to be over as soon as possible and I trusted that my surgeon, Dr. Craig Miller, and my cardiologist, Dr. David Liang, would be able to make that happen successfully.
If you have a connective tissue condition or are seeking an evaluation for one, you know that you need to see a cardiologist to evaluate your heart, an orthopedist to evaluate your bones and joints, and an ophthalmologist to evaluate your eyes. But what is the role of the medical geneticist?
My interest in Marfan syndrome started many years ago when I was in high school in South Africa. One of my classmates had Marfan. I heard him talk about it, and his words stuck in my mind throughout my medical school and surgical training in the 1970s and 1980s.
For parents of a child with a connective tissue condition, worrying is a daily habit. The beginning of a new school year is especially stressful. Not only do you and your family have to get back into the routine, but you and your child have to “break in” a new teacher and sometimes a new school and a new school nurse. You want to ensure that your child will be safe at school and empowered to achieve academically – and that the school can handle any potential emergency medical situation.