Friday, October 22, 2010

Flashback Friday and A Question for You!

I am linking with Christopher and Tia. I still can't get the button to work, so go see them here.  

Oh this is a Flashback that will have my sister and a few of my cousins wanting to strangle me. Remember this Christmas?

Look at me in my pink sweater – I hardly ever wear pink – I don’t think to goes with my hair. I loved how my mom would put yarn bows in my hair. This had to have been 1983 and I was 6 because we lost my Papa the following August. I am almost positive of that because Amy was still a baby.

I love this picture. It was framed in my Meme’s house for years. I love my Aunt Becky’s sofa – they were such the fad – we had one too. That was a good Christmas.

Now, I have a question for you and the reason why I am asking during Flashback Friday is one because my Meme is in this picture and two because I would like to hear from people other then my family – who are normally a big majority of my everyday readers.

If you had the opportunity to know how you would die, would want to know?

Let me clarify. I was watching last week’s Grey’s Anatomy on my DVR where Meredith Grey was tested for the Alzheimer’s Gene. As soon as I saw it I hit pause and called my mother. I proceed to ask her why she didn’t tell me about   the gene testing. She in turn proceeded to tell me she didn’t want to know and then after a long discussion she said if I researched and do it then she might.

I have a friend who was tested for the cancer gene because her mother passed away from ovarian cancer. I have seen people test positive for the breast cancer gene and wind up having a mastectomy in order to avoid the cancer, but I had never known that they have a way to identify the Alzheimer’s Gene.

If you are new to my blog, please go read this post about my grandmother (Meme), here. This may help you understand why this is so important. At the same time, though it is scary.

The Alzheimer’s Association states the following on their website, here.

“APOE-e4 on chromosome 19, is linked to a greater risk of susceptibility for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s, the more common form of the disease that is manifested after the age of 55 and generally associated with old age. APOE-e4 is a variant form of a gene that encodes the production of a protein called apolipoprotein E, which may play a role in repairing connections between brain cells. People with one copy of APOE-e4 have a greater risk of getting Alzheimer’s than people with other forms of the gene, and people with two copies of APOE-e4 have an even greater risk.”

“APOE-e4 increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but it is neither necessary (people without APOE-e4 develop the disease) nor sufficient (not all people with APOE-e4 develop Alzheimer’s).
Although there is no way to change one’s APOE-e4 status, lifestyle modifications may help reduce the potential effects of having APOE-e4. These lifestyle modifications include eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising and staying mentally active.”

A few things that I feel completely suck about this genetic testing is the social consequences. The possibility that an insurance company could find a reason to drop you or deny life insurance based on the outcome of the testing. That is why most people turn to at home kits which are not as reliable as going through genetic counseling.

The reason why I would have the testing would be to able to maybe combat the symptoms as they said above through lifestyle modifications. Also, to prepare, I can not begin to tell you how much more information I would have gathered from my grandmother if I knew that she would lose all of her memory. I so wish I could go back and record all of her memories – like what she thought when she met my grandfather. Those little details are now lost.

My question to you is – would you do it? Would you take a test like this one knowing that it could possibly come back and tell you that you are very likely to have Alzheimer’s? If you have gone through this with anyone, you understand the sadness that would be felt knowing that you would possibly end your life that way. I say possibly because even if you have the gene is it not a 100% definite that you will have Alzheimer’s.

I am torn – as you can probably tell by my rambling. It is so emotional for me – this topic. We are pretty sure my great grandmother had it along with my great aunt and now my grandmother. At this point it scares me more than heart disease and the history for stroke in my family – especially since I am a carbon copy of my Meme.

If you were me, what would you do?

In searching for the picture above – I found a few favorites of my Meme and Papa. I miss them both so much.

Also, before I forget! Vintage Pearl is having a give-a-way! Go visit her blog here.

5 comments:

  1. That's a hard one... for me, I dont know if I would want to know, just because I know how "crazed" I would get - blowing things up out of porportion. Like if I'm sick, I can go onto Google & look something up & then EVERY thing I read, I get or I have... so if I knew I had it, then I'd probably take things to extreme...

    I see the pros/cons for it though... that's a heavy decision - for sure!

    (& I too had to laugh at the couch - I know like 10 families that had similar ones!) haha!!!

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  2. It's a tough one..my family doesn't have history of Alzheimers however we have Colon cancer, my grandmother died from it. There is genetic testing for it, but I haven't researched too much about it. I think that I would consider it. I think that down the line the genetic testing and tests like that would (hopefully) be up for approval for insurance, much the same as a breast cancer screening. But then again, I don't know, I don't think I'm all that interested in genetic testing for it, if I eventually get colon cancer, then fine..

    I try to live every day the best I can, and that is preparation enough. I blog, and handwrite a journal, I take a million pictures a day, and I try to document every thing I do and think, so that if something were to happen to me tomorrow, my son would have written documentation of memories and things that I've gone through.

    I think that you don't really need to have the genetic testing, you can go through the lifestyle modifications, and preparations anyways, as a just in case, because you really have no idea what will happen in the future, you could walk outside and get hit by a car or something..or if you don't get Alzheimers but get breast cancer instead? or something.

    Basically what I'm trying to say, I think that while I sat here and thought hard about what to write, and what I would do..I think *I* personally wouldn't go for the genetic testing.. I'd do the lifestyle modifications, and documentations, and preparations regardless, and what happens, will happen, you know it runs heavy in your family, there's a strong chance you might have it, so pretend you took the test, and it came out positive for the gene..and bypass all the possibly maybe's of insurance and life insurance, and do what you would do had you done the testing. but that's just me.

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  3. I am sorry about your Meme. It is sad and it hurts us to see our loved ones go through those things. When I read your post one of my favorite scriptures came to heart. The Bible says in Matthew 6:34 and it reads "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the days is its own trouble."

    There is a history of heart disease and cancer in my family. All I can do is carry on and try and take care of myself. The Bible also tells us “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Preventative care is important by getting our yearly physicals, well woman exams, mammograms, and the colonoscopy. Watch that cholesterol, reduce that salt, eat more roughage, and exercise. One thing I do know is that the Bible says "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

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  4. I'm not caught up on the last two episodes of Greys, so I had to skip that part in case there was a spoiler.

    But, to answer the question, without reading all of the other stuff- no, I would not want to know how I'm going to die. That is SUCH a heavy question, and when I think about all of the emotions and details and worries and anxiety that go with it, I couldn't possibly write it all down in a comment, but- you've got me thinking about it, and now I'm going to go talk about it with hubby, haha.

    Also, I love your pictures. I love the picture of your grandparents in their kitchen. That one is my favorite.

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  5. Well, I don't think I would test for it. I mean, I know that I am SUSCEPTIBLE to getting certain ailments coz they 'run' in the family. However, like one of your post-ees stated, take care of yourself. Do the healthy stuff it suggests to avoid or at least minimize effects... and Matthew 6:34! ~~ MCF

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