The Results of the Warm Fuzzies

“I know you don’t want to hear this…”
Genetics Counselor Carrie starts it off like that… knowing I am the type who would rather have 50 genes mutated and destroyed than tell me I tested negative for DRD or (DYT5) and 13 other dystonia gene mutations.
Genetics people, scientists and researchers are SO different to talk to than doctors.
She said over and over that they firmly believe my mother and I have a form of Dopa Responsive Dystonia but they just don’t have enough genes and markers to do the testing yet. She reminded me that genetic testing for dystonia only became available at all in the last decade and that there are 50-75 genes they “sort of” know exist for dystonia but a test of 14 is just not accurate enough for specific mutations.
She wanted me to know it doesn’t change my diagnosis, it doesn’t change anything. She “blamed” science and difficulty of the process,
and she apologized to ME… I told her that Drs do not think like scientists or geneticists, they really don’t think all that much other than their own SUBjective opinions and the fact they must put something on paper.
I told her a negative test would immediately be “judged and sentenced” before knowing genetic testing is barely 40% accurate.
She said for us to keep in touch every 3 YEARS when they may have some new genes to test and to always keep track of trials where scientists are trying to locate new dystonia genes, that my mom and I are perfect candidates.
I have no doubt my mother and I have genetic dystonia.
Her dystonia made a big appearance in the hospital because of her broken leg and finally got it in her records to be treated for dystonia properly too.
I am not telling anyone yet.
Ok. I just told an entire group of people, but I’m not telling my neurologist yet. I have to think about all this a little longer. She is mailing the results just to me.
Carrie said she would be happy to write a letter to my neurologist letting him know this in NO way changes my diagnosis, treatment, medications for DRD, etc., and I really appreciated that offer.
I don’t need an “I told you so” or ANY even HINT of that thought or I might be sued and taken to a prison for angry semi-blind female patients with dystonia, wearing a sling, on and off twisted legs, giant traps and a giant belly if I eat a bean or onion because no one can figure out what to do with my shoulder, eyeballs,
poop and other body parts and problems that can most assuredly lead to insanity.
I studied too hard and have way too much “evidence” accrued to believe that this FIRST test is the end all final anything or that I don’t have dystonia. I sure damn do and it sucks like no one’s business.
We may be DYT46 … When that is available to be found…
I know I’m a mutated number… Somewhere in our DNA/RNA/protein/hormone (epi)genetic soup bodies.
Sigh.
Time to take my meds.
I’m upset but not as much as I thought I’d be.
I still know in all my brain and heart we suffer from one of the most complex disorders of many and one day science will catch up to our daily lives. Science isn’t dumb, it’s not even about how much money they have for research. It’s just BIG, COMPLEX and the variables are too many for this part in our lifetime.
At one point the earth was flat.

(Actually, NOW there’s a whole new theory on this…I won’t go there this post. It messes up my last line….)
Things change.

Fantasy map of a flat earth --- Image by © Antar Dayal/Illustration Works/Corbis

Fantasy map of a flat earth — Image by © Antar Dayal/Illustration Works/Corbis

Read this! …..     www.whatisepigenetics.com

Warm Fuzzies and Science

I am still waiting patiently for the results from the 14 dystonia genes and mutations of those mutations.

I never wrote about our 2nd visit to the genetics counsellors (my neuro gave me the referral in case anyone wants to know how to get to them). I saved up $500 for my mom to get tested after our first time there. I figured if she had it, it would prove me too, because at the time I thought ONE gene (DYT5 – Dopa Responsive Dystonia) was $500 through Athena Labs and we couldn’t afford for us both to be tested.
Well…My mom went to her appointment, this was the second visit but this time just her, with the $500 in cash in hand.
Genetics counselling is not like a doctor appointment. Or, at least this place isn’t. It’s 2 hours of many questions and careful listening. It’s very serious and extremely caring. I guess I’m emphasizing “care”, like I said, it’s not like regular Dr. appointments. There is the main Dr. we see and the really crazy smart side-kick who kind of reminded me of a uber-scientist version of Velma from Scooby Doo with short hair.

My mom was sent away from that 2nd appointment. They said I needed to be tested because of some real technical stuff that includes both parents and I won’t try to explain that part. I was scheduled to come back and have my own 2nd appointment and blood draw and I went the end of last month.
Some things had occurred during the time my mom left and I came back, mama with me, too. They, the Counsellors, were so “taken” with the idea I saved up that cash for my mother…they did something really unexpected. They called labs all over the country and explained who we were and that I had this $500…A lab in California said they would test 14 genes for me for $561 instead of $2500-$3000. They wanted to help us.
When the Velma scientist was explaining this to me, she said,
“It was a true moment of grace that what you had saved was what they would offer…” I dont know if that is verbatim anymore, time passed, but I DO know the first 7 words are exactly what she said.
There were a lot of odd feelings discussing genes. Geeky excitement and a spiritual vagueness hovering around the room I can’t describe, only felt.
During our conversation, she could tell I liked hearing about how this whole procedure works. She, in turn, got her little “geek on” herself…She started talking faster, she started talking about genome testing. Thats where the regular DNA and RNA is tested. Whole genome sequencing could reveal many types of mutations, diseases, all kinds of stuff. However, scientists thought that only 3% of what they found was “worth” anything and 97% was sort of….trash. NOW…..they are dumpster diving.
Exome sequencing is the rage. TWENTY THOUSAND genes in the body, sequenced and looked at, the “trash” is where they are now finding the rare diseases, the previously hiding mutants being passed through family trees, randomly dropping bad apples along the way.
She and I both are totally hyper by this point, or at least as hyper as a scientist can get and me knowing about .00005% of what we were talking about. But I got the point.
I have now been looking at articles and different things I can find about “exome sequencing” …and it is fascinating.
As you all know, I think, I listen to podcasts at night to got to sleep and that one of my favorite shows is called Radiolab.
So, the other night I am listening to whatever topic they decide to explore in this weeks episode, and the episode was called Antibodies Part 1: CRISPR.
CRISPR????
Yes….something that is mind blowing and has been around for decades! It is and will and could be exactly HOW we CURE these diseases we have. ALL of them. I was riveted. the thing about RadioLab is that they talk like we do. They don’t know what they are talking about, they just get excited and find cool people to explain it to us and in essence of the show, also to the two guys who narrate every time, Robert and Jad…. (These guys are HUGE…this show is huge….I want to be on Radiolab so bad I can’t stand it, but they have gotten too cool for the likes of me now…haha)
So….This episode….it made me think of the conversation I had about exome testing being “the thing”…and THEN, my mind went wild…because THIS is how we could all be saved.
God bless science and all the world.
Please listen when you are able and watch their website for PART 2 when it comes out!

http://www.radiolab.org/story/antibodies-part-1-crispr/