I've always wanted to do an ancestry test and six weeks ago, I finally ordered a kit from 23 and Me. Before the test, I always said that I was 50% British (my maternal grandpa once traced his ancestry back to the year 1500 in England and Chilcott is a British surname so I presumed that was my paternal grandpa's heritage too), 25% German (from my maternal great-grandparents), 12.5 % Yugoslavian, and 12.5% Czechoslovakian (one great-grandparent from each country.) While my DNA is consistent with a lot of this, there were some surprises!
My results show lots of Irish and British, French and German, and Eastern European, which was expected. Everywhere I travel, people ask me if I'm French. Looks like I might be a bit French after all! There is more Balkan DNA (modern day countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Montenegro, and Greece) than I would have expected, but that is likely from the Yugoslavian side of the family. There is also .1% Scandinavian! Maybe, I have a Viking ancestor! Perhaps most fascinating are the .1% North African and less than .1% East Asian. I'm curious if my hair comes from the .1% North African DNA. The East Asian is very unexpected and I wonder how that slipped into my DNA. Interestingly, both are on Chromosome 6. I need to do some more research on genetics and ancestry to try to learn more.
Okay, the Neanderthal part of this was the most fascinating to me! My whole life, I've had dreams that I could telepathically communicate with Neanderthals. I realize that these are very bizarre recurring dreams, but no wonder! These are my people; I have more Neanderthal DNA than two thirds of the people who have taken a 23 and Me DNA test! Since the Neanderthal valley was in modern day Germany, and I have German ancestry, I guess it isn't super surprising, but it is cool to know that I have one Neanderthal variant directly influencing my height and had a Neanderthal in my direct line of ancestry!
Overall, I found this ancestry kit very interesting and it provided me with lots of inspiration for writing material! Leave me a comment below if you've ever done an ancestry test!
It's been six months since the doctors in Iceland told me what I already knew. Six months since they showed me how to use a glucometer and I, still not entirely believing the diagnosis, saw my blood sugar at 20 mmol/L and then being told it was only supposed to be between 4-7 mmol/L. Six months since my first insulin injection. Six months of constantly being aware of my blood sugar. I can't believe it has only been six months, as it seems so impossible to me that I once never knew my blood sugar or even what numbers were normal, that I was never had to inject insulin before eating, or that I once was considered young and healthy and at low risk of any health problems.
It has been both harder and easier than I anticipated. At first, I thought I was never going be able to eat really anything again without my blood sugar spiking through the roof. After about a month, my levels got as steady as a type 1 diabetic could hope for (read: not steady at all, but in range most of the time) and I haven't actually had to change my diet at all. Physically, I feel fine most of the time, it is well-controlled and my A1C is very good not only for a relatively newly diagnosed T1D but a T1D for any length of time. The harder parts are the comments from others who don't understand that still annoy me more than they should, the anger at the unfairness of a cruel universe, and the feeling of absolute betrayal by my own body. I've never felt such a disconnect between mind and body and always think, "How could you do this to me? We're supposed to be on the same side here." There's the fighting with insurance companies and pharmacies, the struggle finding empathy when friends complain about their problems which seem so insignificant compared to having a body that is trying to kill you, and the despair when realizing that this is for life and now my life will likely be at least a decade shorter since my poisonous blood is harming every major organ.
I waited a long time for a misdiagnosis or to hear that it was just some temporary, passing phase. That never came, so I decided I might as well embrace it and do something productive with my diagnosis. I still have a hard time not hating my body and I'd still give anything to go back in time before my diagnosis, but already one good thing has come out of it...
I am going to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a published author! Very soon, my children's book Gliding on Insulin will be published! I'm not going to give away the whole plot, but I will tell you it is about a young T1D figure skater who travels the world for her competitions.
,And that's not the only thing I have planned. Here's what you can look forward to:
1) More advocacy work with Beyond Type 1 and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
2) More T1D-related blog posts.
3) And, in June, I will take my type 1 diabetes platform to the Miss Colorado stage!
Hi, I’m Crystal! Just like you, I love to travel. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 24 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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