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Crappy Genes

Posted Jan 15 2012 10:28pm
I have a twin sister. We're not identical. She was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, about 2 years ago.

My older sister just found out that she is insulin resistant, which explains some of her extreme reactions she has to sweets. My mother was also told she was mildly insulin resistant, and was heading towards Type II diabetes, which is different than Type I diabetes, but in the end means that my mother and my twin sister often order the same kind of food at a restaurant.

Of course, my mother gets to eat the food without the silly nuisance of an insulin injection, unlike my sister, who pretty much has to shoot up every time she puts anything in her mouth that isn't an egg.

And please, before you ask, let me just say, no, my twin sister is not fat (5'7" and pushing 100 pounds soaking wet), she didn't get the disease from drinking too much Diet Coke, and no, diabetes is not like AIDS. (These are real questions. Not even joking. People are seriously dumb.)

I come from a family of 8. 6 kids. When I was diagnosed, every female in my family immediately got tested. Every male in my family refrained, including my father. My mother pushed my father to get a kidney ultrasound at his conveniently scheduled yearly physical, and it was then that we found out that I got my disease from him.

My brothers haven't been tested for PKD. Part of it is that they are worried that they would lose their health insurance if a pre-existing condition is discovered. I don't know how that all shakes out now with Obamacare and everything. Maybe that's not an issue anymore. But the rest of it, I think they just don't want to know. Even when I tell them that any of my father's children have a 50% chance of having PKD, and the fact that my 2 sisters don't have it considerably ups the odds for them.

Plus, it's not exactly a cheerful conversation. I mean, how do you bring it up--"Hey, don't you want to know if you're going to DIE?" My family would much rather talk about politics and religion than kidneys. (Although you'd think politics and religion wouldn't be cheerful conversations either, which is sometimes true, but at least in my family, the conversations are never boring. Unless my husband is talking about contract law.)

But regardless of the stimulating conversations, between the kidneys and the pancreases (pancreai?) it seems my family didn't exactly win the gene lottery, did we.

Still, I suppose it's not all bad. I did inherit long legs and a musical ear. My husband tells me those count for something. Especially the long legs.
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