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Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Q. Genetic testing shows that my son and I are cystic fibrosis carriers. Our research shows that most carriers are asymptomatic, as I am, but my son has some pulmonary issues, which is why the testing was done.

I’ve asked my parents to be tested so we can determine which side of the family the recessive gene mutation comes from.

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When the results come back, I feel we have an obligation to inform that particular half of the family.

If a CF carrier has a child with a CF carrier, they have a 25 percent chance, with each pregnancy, of having a child with full-blown cystic fibrosis, a debilitating and life-threatening disease.

How do we gently and lovingly share this without causing unnecessary stress or drama?

A. I shared your letter with Laurie Fink, spokeswoman for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (, who confirmed your take on this disease. She tells me that your situation is not all that rare: One in 30 Americans is a symptomless carrier of the CF gene mutation.

In your approach with other family members, be straightforward, honest, and neutral.

You are generous to share the results with family members. They will decide on their own whether they want to be tested. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation wants to spread the word that there is more hope than ever before for people with this disease. The life expectancy for a child born with CF has doubled in the last 30 years.

Q. I have a lifelong friend. We are both mature single mothers with good jobs. My son is 4, and her daughter just turned 3. Our different work schedules do not allow us to get together with our kids as much as we’d like.

I sent my friend a text message stating that I would like to take her daughter with me and my son to a live-action children’s show as a gift for her daughter’s third birthday. She asked about the time of the show. I replied that it was at 6 p.m. She then sent a text message asking, “Why am I not invited?” My response was “Ha ha, parents not allowed, ha ha.”

My friend’s next text message threw me into a tailspin. “I’m not comfortable. She can’t go. Sorry. Have fun.”

I am hurt because I feel my friend does not trust me for two hours with her daughter without her presence, and I don’t know why! Honestly, I cried thinking she doesn’t trust me.

I don’t know how to proceed. How do I talk to her about this?

A. Your friend responded to your invitation quickly and candidly. I cannot imagine why you would choose to be confused and brokenhearted when you could have simply picked up the phone and asked if there was a way you could make this event more palatable for her and her daughter.

Perhaps this just-turned 3-year-old might not be ready to go out to an evening event without her mother. Your friend seems to have deftly tried to imply this by asking if she was included. Given how young the child is, you should not have planned this without getting that all-important “mom” stamp of approval.

Your assumption that this is a personal slight is childish. Grow up and have the moxie to say (verbally): “I feel like I blew it. I definitely should have run this past you before I made these plans. Let’s do something together soon.”

Send questions via e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.
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