Let’s Get Physical

Hey there my friends. So, I have been thinking about this “mark” on one’s palm that can be indicitive of those with an FASD. The Hockey Stick Formation. When I got my diagnosis, the geneticist advised me that I had, “the mark.” She did not call it that of course. I do though. On both of my hands, I have this formation. Now, not every single person that has an FASD has this mark, and not every person with this mark has an FASD. It can occur when the hands are forming in utero, depending on when and how much the woman drank during pregnancy. There is NO EXACT Science. My mom has the hockey stick formation, and her mom did not drink during pregnancy. It is also known to occur in some who have Down Syndrome.

So, I figured I would talk about other physical features I have from my birth mother drinking during her pregnancy, that MAY be part of someone with an FASD. Please take note of the word MAY. People who don’t have an FASD may also have these physical traits. Let’s start from the top:

  1. A small head circumference. The geneticist used one of those Seamstress flimsy tape measure things, and placed it around my head. My head circumference is in the 3rd to 10th percentile for adults. My 10 year old and I share hats and sunglasses.
  2. My eyes: I have slightly small and asymmetrical palpepbral fissures (the distance between the upper and lower eyelids) which can play an optical illusion, making one’s eyes appear far apart.
  3. HORRIBLE VISION: I got glasses at the age of 9, and I can’t see the BIG E the eye doctor has on the letter chart. I told my eye doctor once, I know it is an E, because all of you have that letter. (I don’t think he found that funny).
  4. My upper lip is very thin, and I have a long philtrum (The indent in one’s upper lip, sometimes it is non existent. Mine was as an infant, over time it developed ever so slightly).
  5. My mouth is very small. From the age of 6 until maybe 12, I had my baby teeth removed by my dentist to make room for adult teeth. I also had 4 adult teeth removed, and was blessed with braces for my middle school years. I thought it was normal to be on a first name basis with the dentist, and for my parents to be so friendly with him. Yea, we spent ALOT of time there. I always have to use the flouride trays for little kids, even today. Never had a cavity though!
  6. My pinky toe nails: I don’t have any. They never grew properly. They are hard crusty things like mini boogers. I didn’t know until I met with the geneticist this has a name “toe nail hypoplasia.”
  7. As a baby, I was diagnosed as failure to thrive. My pediatrician mentioned Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to my parents based on my facial features and small stature, but that was in 1980, and he didnt have any contact with my birth mom, nor did my parents. I didn’t eat much for 18 months, and was constantly sick with ear infections and bronchitis. At 18 months, I had tubes placed in my ears, and that helped things. I started to eat more, and I started to thrive. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was off the table until I was 34.


One response to “Let’s Get Physical”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I will have to take a look at my son’s hand to see if he has the hockey stick formation too.

    I’m familiar with other common physical characteristics like the thin upper lip and head size but not the others.

    Good learning moment, thank you!


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