Would You?

Given the recent circus revolving around my father and his colon removal, my brother and I have had an opportunity to chat about our “prospects” for healthy living in the future. We’ve inherited a cornucopia of medical issues and developed a bunch on our own. My brother used to have blood pressure and cholesterol issues and is still battling triglycerides. I have high BP, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, neuropathy, degenerative disc disorder, cluster headaches and the normal stuff associated with the aging male and pissing. Both of our parents have high BP, my father has been successfully treated for colon cancer, colitis, etc., my father has had a stroke and a quintuple bypass and a couple of angioplasties, and has diabetes. My mom has had her neck roto-rootered and has Parkinson’s and cataracts. Our maternal grandfather died of colon cancer and our maternal grandmother died of Parkinson’s and had cataracts, too. Paternal grandfather probably had several heart attacks and died of a massive one. Paternal grandmother died very early. So we figure our prospects are pretty bleak. About the time of that discussion, I read an article about Google’s Sergey Brin using a DNA test to discover that he had an increased liklihood of contracting Parkinson’s disease.

Technology has come a long way. I’ve stopped fighting with my doctors and take all of my meds like a good boy. Both of us pretty much have our issues under control. But Parkinson’s is one of those issues that absolutely gets worse. And we know so little about it. Now, there is a genetic test that is going to give us a heads up on the fact that we are or are not likely to suffer from a debilitating degenerative nerve disorder. One whose treatments has some nasty side effects, too. We’ve both passed on having the test done.


1 Response to “Would You?”

  1. December 29, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I’d pass on the test because it sounds like you already know enough about the DNA you possibly inherited to worry. Everything you mention above runs in either my father’s or mother’s family, except the Parkinson’s. For that, I am very grateful as I have seen the effects of the treatments. My son had a closed head injury that seriously affected the substantia nigra and has been treated with various Parkinson’s drugs.

    Since his problems are not progressive, we have the choice to discontinue the drugs.

    It might have been merely a placebo effect, but my father used to get yearly smallpox vaccinations to keep his cluster headaches under control. About the time that doctor died, the CDC stopped making the vaccine and his headaches came back so bad, that he begged for it and somehow got the vaccine for a few more years. His headaches are very infrequent now, and he hasn’t had the shot for probably 15 years. Go figure.

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