I'm super excited that my class was funded to do 23&me. I've been wanting to do it for the past two years, but I haven't gotten around to doing it. I'm most interested in discovering my ancestry. My family has been in the United States long enough that I don't know much of my heritage. (I can actually trace every side of my family back over 100 years in the same two adjacent counties in North Alabama). There has been some circumstantial evidence that I may have Scottish in me, but that is the only European country I can name-despite my family being completely of European descent. And as every other white southerner would say, there is a rumor that my great-great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee. I've always been fascinated by figuring out my ancestry, and having these results could give me some interesting clues.
The second part to 23&me is the health risks and traits it returns. I'm both excited and nervous about this. I don't really want to hear bad news. The things I'm most worried about are breast cancer (or any cancer for that matter) and Alzheimer's (or other forms of dementia). Both of my grandmothers have had a form of cancer, and I feel that I could be at high risk for breast or colon cancer. Something that worries me more than that though is the mental issues I may face down the road. My dad's mom and her family are also an interesting case with mental diseases. Of 6 children, 4 of the siblings (including my grandmother) have had some form of mental disease. One of my grandmother's sisters was put in a mental institute at age 20, and died there. Another sister is in the late stages of Alzheimer's, and will not be around much longer. My grandmother's brother has dementia that is getting worse with time. And my own grandmother's mind has gotten worse and worse, especially after my granddad died 3 years ago. With 4 out of 6 siblings having problems, it begs the question is it genetic? And if it is, what does that mean for me? I feel that there isn't a lot of prevention that can actually stop these mental diseases. Time will always win. So knowing now, years before it becomes an issue, just seems like torture to me. I'm very future oriented, but knowing that something bad is coming will bother me more than it will help me.
I really want to do 23&me. I'm super excited about the ancestry part, and a little apprehensive about the risks part. Talking about this to my class will be lots of fun, and I can't wait to see all the results.