I’m 3,3% Neanderthal and other things I learned from my DNA test 

Back in December I ordered a DNA kit from the company 23andMe because I was curious about what my genome could tell me about me. Several weeks later I got this box in the mail:

In it was this little plastic tube I had to spit into:

Then I put the tube back into the box and had it shipped to the 23andMe lab in the Netherlands. Fast forward two and a half months later and I got an email that my results were in.

The first thing I checked out in my online 23andMe profile was how many procent of my DNA was inherited from Neanderthal ancestors. The reason is that I kind of have a nerdy fascination with this extinct species of humans and was eager to know if I’m in anyway related to them. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I am actually in the 99th percentile, meaning 99% of 23andMe users have lower Neanderthal DNA than I have! 

It can seem a weird thing to be happy about but I’m kinda weird so there you go. Having a high procentage of Neanderthal DNA can also tell you something about you. It has been discovered for example that it can lead to having a higher risk for depression but also a better immunity to certain diseases.

Then I looked at my ancestry. Having a French father and a French-Swedish mother I was curious of what it might look like. This is what I found:

As expected I was mostly French. But as was a little bit surprised to find out I was more British and Irish than Scandinavian. Overall I think it was cool to be able to see my ancestry all over Europe, from Finland to the Iberian peninsula. 

Next I looked up what genes I may have that carried potential for different medical conditions:

To my relief I didn’t find anything unusual and worrying. But certain features were locked, like info on whether you have the genes for Alzheimers and breast cancer. It seems you have to ask to have that unlock, probably because a lot of people prefer not to know when it comes to these conditions. I’m myself still pondering whether or not I want these features unlocked.

You can also look up other interesting genetic traits you have:

Some are not that super interesting, like the texture of your earwax. But others can be very helpful to know. Like for example I learned I have a higher number of fast-twitching muscle fibers, which makes me better for strength training than endurance training: 

This has actually helped me make a decision. I’ve been pondering lately if I should focus on running or go back to weight training. As I’m genetically much more built for strength training that’s what I’ve decided to focus on. After the 5K I have in the beginning of May, I’ll get back to the gym! 

The 23andMe website has other cool features to help you learn more about yourself, like it can help you find genetic relatives. This has actually helped people who are adopted reconnect with their biological families. 

You can also browse raw data if you’re looking for specific genes:

There is even a website you can upload your genome information to and learn more about your genetic makeup. A word of warning though: you might learn some things you would have preferred not to know. 

Overall I’m glad I took this test. I learned a lot of interesting things about myself  that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I’m definitely not done researching my DNA and I hope to continue learning more about it. 


Here is the link to the 23andMe website if you’re interested in taking their DNA test: 23andme.com

The Swedes are coming out of hibernation, first post-op picks and other random stuff

Yesterday marked my one month post top surgery and life is going pretty good. The infection I had cleared up nicely and it looks like I will get to keep both my nipples! 

I’ll put some pics at the end of this post if you wanna see or skip if you don’t want to.

My mood is definitely up. The sun is shining and it looks like spring is on its way. Winter is so depressing in Scandinavia, so cold and dark it feels like living in a fridge which has a broken light. So when it ends it feels like the world and the people in it are coming back to life. I say that spring is the time when the Swedes are reborn and coming out of hibernation.

The future feels brighter than it has ever been and not just because the sun is shining. With my top surgery done and my mobility soon fully recovered I will finally get to do so many things I’ve wanted to for I long time but never could. I’m looking forward to start dating, go to the swimming pool and walk with my shirt off in the sun.

I also registered for a 5k in a couple months and will start training for it as soon as I get a OK from the surgeon to start exercising against. Even bought myself a brand new pair of running shoes as a congratulation gift to myself for having top surgery. 

Another interesting thing that happened recently is that I learned my doc had been giving me the wrong dosage of Strattera, my ADD meds. Someone my age and weight should be on 80-90 mg a day but I have been on only 40 mg a day since starting. I’m definitely better off than before I was medicated but I still struggle a lot with a shitty attention span. Going up to the right dosage could improve my symptoms even more and help me reach my full potential. Perhaps I’ll even be able to be more productive in my writing. 

Below are my first post-op pics. I was a little nervous showing them since I’m a bit chubby and my torso has a weird shape (crooked spine) but here we go (that yellow stuff is not dirt btw, just residue from the bandages. Took this right before getting in the shower): 

A World Tour of Books: The Road by Jack London (United States)

When starting my World Tour of Books I decided to not go by any specific order. That way it will make things more interesting as my reader will not know from post to post where the next stop on our journey will be.
So, after having read the first book in the tour I had not specific plan on where to continue next.
One evening I was lying in my bed and happened to look up at a bookshelf in my room when my eyes landed on the two novels The Call of The Wild and White Fang by Jack London. These were my two absolute favorite books as a child and it hit me that I associated a lot of things in London’s work with the United States: rugged individualism, the great Western wild and what we call “The American Dream”.
I decided that one of London’s book would be a great choice for our stop in the US of A. I looked through a bibliography of Jack London and became immediately interested in his autobiographical work The Road when I learned it inspired Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, which just happens to be my favorite book of all times.
In The Road London tells of his time when he was a train hopping hobo. It was in the 1890s and the US was experiencing its worst economic crisis in its history up till then. London would travel from town to town and often had to resort to begging for a living. It was during that time in his life that he first mastered the art of storytelling, as he would make up sap stories to try and win the sympathy of those he begged from.
During his travels and his stay at the Erie County Penitentiary, where he spent 30 days for vagrancy, London met the poorest and most marginalised of society. He witnessed the desperation of his time, but also the resilience and ingenuity of people just trying to survive. This influenced him greatly and he would later become a passionate social activist.
The Road was a great read about a fascinating man in a difficult time. This book as well as Jack London’s other works are a must-read for anyone interested in American literary history.

2 weeks post-op: upswing in mood despite infection

TMI/Grossness Warning!

 

On Monday I had my second post-op check-up and has soon as the nurse removed my bandages I knew something was wrong. I had felt an odor since the day before and now I could see pus. The nurse left the room after cleaning my scars to get the doctor and he told me what I already suspected: I have an infection.

I’m now on antibiotics to try to fight it but the doc informed me that there is a risk that I could lose one or both of my nipples. The left one especially looks pretty bad while the right one seems to heal a bit better.

I was aware that this is one of the risks of top surgery and I took it into account. Top surgery was something I really needed so this doesn’t makes me regret anything but it still sucks.

The infection is only in the nipples so the good news is that the other scars are healing well.

Also on a more positive note: my mood in the last week has been much better than the previous one. I’ve been able to be more mobile so I have been more active, which is in my experience the most important thing for me to not fall into a depressive state. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and reading and been out on walks so that also helps.

Now I just hope this infection clears up soon. Fingers crossed.