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Can You Have Too Much Information?


I was raised by ostriches. You, know, those big birds that hide their heads when something is happening that they don’t want to experience, know about, etc. (They don’t REALLY hide their heads in the sand, they just lay them down on the ground and it LOOKS like they are!)

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Okay, not LITERALLY raised by ostriches, but by people who adopt that philosophy – “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.”

I know it’s ridiculous. Often times what you don’t know can KILL you. BUT, if you know something has a higher risk than normal of killing you, do you want to know about it so you can try to protect yourself from it? Or ignore it and hope it goes away?

I recently had some genetic testing done at a site called 23andme.

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It’s really a pretty cool deal. You order the kit, then spit in the tube and send it back. A few weeks later you get the results. It’s all VERY interesting. But now I’m sorta wishing I hadn’t. It’s forcing me to confront some things I’d just as soon not confront. It’s one thing to think you are at increased risk for certain diseases. It’s another to KNOW it. Especially when the things you need to do to attempt to prevent them are things you’re already trying to do, with little success.

It’s just a major buzz kill.

I didn’t do the testing primarily for health reasons, but more to see if there were any hidden surprises in my ancestry (which there weren’t.) The health stuff was a side benefit (um, NO!) As nervous as the prospect made me, I couldn’t help looking. And seriously, my ostrich-like protective instincts were in full force. But, I overcame them and looked anyway.

A lot of the stuff I had elevated risks of I assumed in advance because of family history, but it was unpleasant to see it in black and white. Like Heart disease and Type II Diabetes.  I had reduced risks of a few things that I thought would be elevated (like Alzheimer’s – because my memory is so lousy and my grandmother had it.) So that was good. I also have no genetic pre-disposition for breast cancer, and that’s comforting.

I guess now, after a few hours of absorbing the information I’m not quite as freaked out as I was initially. Maybe it IS good to get the confirmation. Even with the increased genetic pre-disposition, there are preventative measures that can be taken on some of these things. Maybe the next time I make the conscious decision to over eat or opt out of taking a walk, I’ll reconsider. Maybe I’ll try harder to participate in active pursuits instead of the sedentary ones I tend to prefer.

Don’t laugh! It could happen!

About tatterednworn

I am a woman who has committed to living a creative life.

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