Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Diabetes, Disease, and Genetics

Can you believe that was me!
I was six years old- Cooper's age! Amazing how blond my hair was!
Now we know where Ryder's blond comes from, eh? :)

This picture would've been taken right about the time I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes.
(That's the kind that has nothing to do with what you eat or if you exercise.
It's the kind where your pancreas just stops working, rather than gets over-worked.)
And when mine stopped, I was this tiny little blondie... and I was pretty. darn. sick.

I was drinking, drinking, drinking. And peeing, peeing, peeing.

I remember sitting at the top of our stairs and hearing my Mom crying so hard on the phone.
We came to Rocky Mountains Diabetes Center, where I remember listening, listening, listening.
I remember my parents reading label after label at the grocery store.

And still now, 25 years later, I take shots and count carbs and test blood sugar.
And despise this disease that likes to think it controls me... ya know, because it does.

worry about the future.
About being a burden to my husband and my boys.
About passing it on to them.

Ryder got more than just that blond hair from me,
he also got a greater chance of having Type One Diabetes himself.

And here's the thing... we'd do pretty much anything as parents to keep our kids well and happy, right? I know my own parents would still take this disease away from me in a second if they could. And if I can prevent my boys from getting it at all, I will.

Because knowing that I could have after it's too late would be absolute misery.

Wanting to prevent a painful or shortened life is what prompts women like Angelina Jolie to have a double mastectomy. And what prompts me (in spite of my disdain) to test, dose and count so that my body can run like normal.

That's why I recently took Cooper and Ryder to have their blood drawn as part of a research trial. Their blood will be tested for antibodies that can indicate up to two years in advance whether or not they will get Type One Diabetes. They did great- so brave even though I knew they were a bit scared! And I got tears in my eyes and choked them back down. 

But it's worth it. I couldn't feel stronger about that!

Prevention is also the reason I was interested in writing this post
for 23andMe Genetic Testing, a health and ancestry DNA service. 

Maybe Type One Diabetes isn't a concern in your family. But something is.
Cancer in one form or another?
Chrohn's Disease? High Blood Pressure? ADHD? Rhuemotoid Arthritis? 
Even Stroke or Alcohol Dependence?

23andMe actually provides more than 240 health reports through their Personal Genome Service.
A simple spit test allows you to better understand your ancestral history and
understand how your genes impact your health. 

Even easier than a blood test, eh? :)

I believe this.
An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
And knowledge leads to prevention.
Knowing what your genes say about our future allows us to do what it takes to change it,
to make it look like what we want instead of having to work with what we're dealt.
Health is more in our hands than it's ever been!
What an awesome time we live in!

Check 23andMe Genetic Testing out yourself HERE :)


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


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