Cherished Moments: Day of Discovery

Your heritage/DNA is important to your medical care. This is a must read.

I noticed that many people used the month of November for giving thanks to the things in their life.  A person battling any type of mental health issue is thankful for the strength to just get out of bed each day.

On that note, I am using the month of December for a time of reflection on the daily blessings.  These are the daily things that I have recognized as my joy; happy moments that I cherish.  Consider this my journal for this month.  On my blog site www.reflectionswithrhonda.com , I wrote about my experience with Lupus and mental health issues.  My psychotherapist suggested I keep a journal on the moments of joy so that feeling can be recreated.

Journal Entry:  December 13, 2012

I not only won the battle with the bed, but also the alarm.  Well, with a little help from my ever faithful Samia.  She decided she wanted to be petted and fed at 6am.  I looked at the clock and seen I still had 30 minutes to enjoy the bed, which did not make her happy.  Apparently she has reached Diva status where we are supposed to be awake on her time; she use to be on my schedule.

I think I shocked everyone at work by being earlier than my start time, or on time for that matter. :)

Today is the beginning of my psychiatric testing.  It is a series of 4 tests: the first test I get to look at pictures, play on boards, draw and answer questions.  I guess I beter brush up on my stick figures.  The second appointment I get to spend a boring 2 hours in front of a computer.  Yeah! 

I am not sure what today's appointment will be about; intake and all that it implies.  Too bad I have to come from Minneapolis, back to Woodbury for testing, then back to Minneapolis for a long night of work.  It is too much to ask for convenience?  I am not coplaining because I am actually making progress now instead of medication being thrown my was as a trial and error.

Guess what I learned?  It isn't fun unless you learn something new every day.

High levels of Dopamine in the brain can cause Alzheimer's.  However, a decline of dopamine can cause Parkinson's.  Low levels make people shakey, weak and confused. 

Dopamine is the brain's system of motivation; when the levels start declining a leaves a sense of depression.  Dopamine is also associated with psychological conditions: psychosis and schizophrenia.  It can also be a root of ADD where decreased levels make it hard for people to focus.  Medications are prescribed to help the brain make its own dopamine to balance the levels.

This would explain my mood changes.  I am all across the board with my Dopamine imbalance.  Loss of focus and memory to depression crying moments.  Peaks and valleys.  Unless I can find some miracle combination of fruits and vegetables to juice, looks like I will be on medications, possibly for the remainder of my life.  It is worth it to be me again.

If you think that was some news, wait until I share this.....

During our intake process the psychotherapist asked me about my heritage.  Luckily for me, I am an Ancestry.com addicted and had my DNA done and knew exactly what I am:

51% Scandinavian (Norway)
15% Central European (Germany & France)
14% British Isles (Ireland)
12% Native American (Chippewa, Sioux & Huron)
08% Southern European* (Portugal/Spain/Italy)

* I have not yet located this on my family tree yet.

History plays a big part in your genetic ethnicity, as most regions have seen many invasions, intermingling and population movements. So keep that in mind if your results don't quite align with your family tree.

You are probably thinking big deal, what does that matter?  It actually mattered a lot more than I could even possibly imagined.  Her next question was a description of all the medication I am allergic too, potential food allergies, and the medications used over my journey.  Then she said to me: "I can tell you exactly why you have these allergies and why the medication you have tried have not worked."  Really, I thought to myself:  how would she know anything that my doctor doesn't already know?!?   She said, "You are of Native American descent.  Native Americans do not have certain enzymes which allow them to break down certain medications."

She explained that the medications may appear to work in the beginning, but build up in my system and release at once; causing a major meltdown.  She further to explain that since I am hearing voices, but at a distance and not in my head, it is the medication I have been taking causing hallucinations.  She referred me to have a Genotype Test done at the University of Minnesota so we can figure out what enzymes I am missing so I can have the correct medication that will actually benefit me.  How cool is that?  Customized medication just for me.

That was a moment of enlightenment.  I believe everything is for a reason.  Without my knowledge gained from Ancestry.com and the wonderful team am priveged to have, along with the support of my awesome kids, Mr. Man and friends, I would not have made this journey.  Because of them, I am able to stay in good spirits and focus on the end results.

If you haven't traced your ancestry, that is alright.  However, I do strongly recommend you at least have your DNA done.  You can order a DNA Kit through Ancestry.com for $99.  It is simple to use: swab both your cheeks, put into container, and mail it back in the postage paid envelope.  The results come back within 12 weeks.  I mention Ancestry.com as that is the only place that I am aware of that perfoms this service.  Also, it would help a lot of others build their tree if they can locate others through DNA.

It appears the DNA test could save your life, or at least improve your healthcare options.

Side note:  Mr. Man's doctor also recommended a gluten-free diet.  I told him I did that back in August and started juicing to feel better.  He asked me if my doctor told me to do that.  No, I did my own research to be pro-active, not re-active with my health.  So if you are battling mental health issues, you may want to go gluten-free and give juicing a try.

As for work: today I am ready to pull my hair out on some of my files.  I do not have the patience today. 

Rule of thumb:  when agitated, it is best to walk away from the situation versus blowing up at work. :)  I do want to stay in the land of the employed.

Had a meeting with my manager at work.  Since I have come back and started these new sessions, I wanted to touch base with her on future game plan.  She is glad to know that there is progress in the making; she would love to have me here consistently each day.  :)  This pass year has been really hard on me.  Went from working 70 hours per week when needed to lucky I can put in a 40 hour work week.  Cannot wait to get balanced again.

Now that you know your heritage is important for your medical care, are you going to get your DNA analyzed?  Or even your Genotype?

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