My DNA Testing and Ubiome
My Move to the Mainland
Quick history of my medical past
Not to bore you with all of my ailments, I just want to highlight a few of my chronic illnesses. Here are a few:
- Severe sleep apnea
- Hypothyroidism (seriously)
- MTHFR DNA Mutation
- Liver disease (NASH) - Hepatitis B
- Chronic fatigue
- Social Anxiety
I moved to the mainland USA from Hawaii in 2013 basically because I had shingles and had no more sick leave or vacation leave where I worked. I had worked there for fifteen years, so I was eligible for a pension albeit a very small one. I hoped there would be better medical care here than in Hawaii. In some ways, it is better, but my opinion is that what the doctors learn in medical school does not cover all possible tests or treatments.
I had lived for 36 years in the South Pacific, had three miscarriages and four living children. My offspring are fairly healthy and we have survived to this point for which I am truly thankful.
I began my pursuit in 2015 for better health and answers to my questions about the best way to feel better. I have several family members who are in the medical field and one of them particularly helped me to get started. I am also open to alternative medicine, so I have tried all of the following:
- Foot zoning
- Chiropractic care
- Essential oils
- Vitamin supplements
- Mineral salt baths
- Special Diets
- DNA testing
My daughter, who is a Nurse Practitioner has helped me so much. Together with my family physician, I started my journey with a buccal swab test to determine if I was on the right medications or if I needed to change them. The MAPP Report discovered that I have MTHFR. Because of my MTHFR, I cannot metabolize folic acid well and so I was put on L-Methylfolate to help with that. The test also said I was a poor metabolizer of a medicine I was already on, so I was switched to another one that was suggested. It was also determined that one of the medications I was on was actually very bad for my genetic makeup so I eventually stopped that one.
All through my life, I have been very sensitive to pain. I found through my DNA test that some pain relievers give me insufficient pain relief. That is part of the reason I am scared of surgery.
I decided to further my knowledge about my particular biome by taking the Ancestry and 23andme DNA tests. It was interesting to find out where my ancestors originated as well as the wonderful genes that I had acquired. I discovered that I am 100% European hailing from Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, France, Germany, and Northwestern Europe. I am less likely to be a deep sleeper (duh!) and more likely than average to move in my sleep (restless legs) - all of which I already knew.
I also uploaded my DNA results into an online site which gives recommendations for supplements due to my makeup. It reported that I should eat more whey, avoid Vitamin E, encourages Vitamin D3, sage and rosemary. It also encouraged L-methylfolate, Vitamin B3, B6, B12, Potassium, Vitamin C, and Manganese and avoid Folate (which is added to most bread, cereals and other packaged foods) as well as other suggestions.
My Worst Health Year Back in the Mainland USA
Just when I thought things were getting better, we were caring for my aging father and one night I felt such pain that it sent me quickly to the ER with cholecystitis (gallstones galore) with a jump in my liver and pancreas enzymes to heights I hadn't seen since my Hepatitis B diagnosis in Tonga years ago. It was not only painful but very frightening and the caretaker became disabled for a while.
Not too long after that surgery, my eyes started to bother me, becoming red, inflamed, bulging and weepy. I was diagnosed with Grave's disease and was scheduled for ocular decompression. Grave's is usually the result of hyperthyroidism attacking my eyes specifically. The surgery was a nightmare for me and my husband took over the responsibility of taking care of my father.
Our out-of-pocket expenses that year alone were over $10,000. It affected my psyche also and after a year of trying to take care of my father, we decided to move back to what I called home (my daughter's place). Unfortunately, I hadn't asked my son-in-law and they decided to move a few blocks away. We worked it out so we could purchase their old home and we could still be close enough for support, but far enough so we were not on top of them.
After settling down somewhat, I saw an advertisement for another test which looked at my gut microbiome to see how it correlated with certain health conditions. I trended towards abdominal pain (check), IBD (check), Liver disease (check), prediabetes (check), atherosclerosis (oh, no!), and cardiovascular disease (double oh, no!). It also found some things I wasn't expecting like chronic kidney disease and the possibility of kidney stones (ouch)! It listed microorganisms associated with the conditions mentioned that I was low on as well as the composition of my gut microbiome linked to metabolic conditions. Just call me a hypochondriac, because I know that is what you are thinking!
I do love Greek yogurt, drink kefir and love Reuben sandwiches on rye with sauerkraut. Maybe I should just eat some dirt to get all the microorganisms I need. The uBiome test results suggest what you need to help your body heal and avoid further inflammation. uBiome uses machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced statistical techniques, as well as a patented precision sequencing process to analyze the microbes in your sample.
The Health Spot
It is 2019. I am still having some bothersome symptoms and was looking online for anything that might help. Last year, my hyperthyroidism fell to hypothyroidism. I've read so much and found that this is not uncommon. Why??? So I feel fatigue, but can't sleep because of my insomnia, anxious and depressed although I am on meds for both. Having already spent quite a bit to get better, I was hesitant to try another test and most of the places do not accept Medicare or insurance. You have to pay up front.
Here are some of them: We are now retired and do not have the extra money to spend on extraneous tests and medications. I happened upon a place near where I live called the Health Spot. I called and they said that Medicare will pay for testing. That was encouraging. I thought, why not? I went and they took five vials of blood and sent it for testing. MyGenx extended comprehensive pharmacogenetic report came a few weeks later. It showed that one of the medications I have taken for over twenty years is not very effective for me. Also, the anti-depressant I am on is not the best one for me. The test gives recommendations of what medications would be more effective for my personal genetic makeup. I have tried several of the medications that indicate an increased risk of therapeutic failure. No wonder!
You know all the pharmacology advertisements that suggest certain medications and then for 30 minutes list all of the side effects possible, this test could eliminate the possibility of suffering from these side effects in my honest opinion.
When I went in for my follow up, I listened as a professional went through each of my genes noted. Some said "normal function" others said, "altered function, reduced, or decreased expression". It was all very interesting to me. I used to work in the Pathology Department as a medical secretary before I was married. This is where they bring surgical biopsies from patients and our Pathologists looked at slices of the specimen under a microscope to diagnose diseases, cancer or the lack of it (benign). This DNA stuff, on the other hand, can find the expressions of your genes and know what would be the best medication to help you before it gets too bad.
This is the first time I have had real hope that I might be able to feel better. Backed with several DNA test results that spell out which medications are okay for me to take and those that are not effective, I am going back to my family doctor. He has all the reports and recommendations and will not be forced to try several different medications pushed by the pharmaceutical companies to see if they work. For me, this is the future of medicine and hopefully many will catch on soon. It is not a perfect or complete way yet, but at least it is a preventive path rather than a reactive one.
I will report in a few months how my new meds are working for me. If you wonder if you should have DNA testing, here is an article about it:
Have you taken a DNA test yet?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2019 Elayne