Coffee & Conversations: How Nebula helped Johnny

Buckle up with Nebula!

Navigating life’s winding road can be difficult. Throw in some speed bumps, potholes, detours and it can be easy to lose control. For Johnny Ohl, Nebula helped him buckle up and steady that steering wheel so he could have a happier journey in life.

Take it from him:

Ever since I got your data, I’ve been brought back to life honestly. And you could never have intended that to be the truth, but it is.

Amidst the familiar ringtone coming from the computer, a circle encapsulating a photo of Johnny popped up on the screen, an indication of our next conversation. There’s no coffee this time, but plenty of laughter and stories that stretched beyond the Google Hangout to help keep us wide awake. Johnny Ohl isn’t your average software administrator; among his hunger for knowledge and empathetic nature lies a ten-year long illness that plagues him to this day.

Johnny did not stumble across Nebula by chance. In 2010, our enthusiastic user was working at Autobase, a software company in Indianapolis. After 11 years of work, Johnny explained that he felt it wouldn’t be long before he’d be named Vice President. Optimistic about the future, Johnny was walking down a hallway near his office when he suddenly collapsed. Ever since then, “I just couldn’t catch my breath ever,” he says. Nearly 10 years later, and Johnny explains how that single experience still affects his current life.

Doctors still have no idea why that was happening to me.

Johnny’s life journey began to consist of unknown ailments and uncertain doctors who found neither infections nor lung complications. His oxygen levels continued to deplete until he was put out of work completely. Desperate for answers, Johnny began searching at the microscopic level, hoping that a genetic understanding of his body would allow him to take back more control of his life. He began to research the world of genomics — specifically, different genetic companies that could help him interpret his genes.

Over the last three decades, genome sequencing has become an integral part of the scientific and economic community. The 1990’s brought with it the Human Genome Project and the sequencing of the first human genome. But this marked only the first steps in understanding our genome and the information it holds. . Since then, the amount of genetic information available has increased exponentially with consumers receiving access to genetic tests to better understand their DNA and ancestry.

Johnny was hoping that with this vast and ever-increasing trove of data, he’d be able to find some genetic explanation that may help him better understand his body and the conditions he faced. Like most people, Johnny was hesitant to get his genome sequenced at first. Genomic research, as well as personalized therapeutic strategies and medicine, are not guaranteed to give the right answer if any answer is provided at all. However, rapid progress continues to better reveal the correlation between life’s variety of influences that may lead us to a healthier and happier life.

Johnny eventually turned to 23andMe, but felt they were simply “spoon-feeding me information”. He wanted to understand everything about himself, but with 23andMe, “it was just impossible” as it seemed they handpicked what was important and what was not. Johnny explains that his attraction to Nebula Genomics is our unique service that allows users to access, download, and have full private access to their entire genome.

Basically, I wanted to be able to find anything I wanted, for any reason at any time.

Human ailments typically have some genetic component, and the mystery behind Johnny’s may finally be able to be unlocked with low-pass whole-genome sequencing. Though not a diagnostic service, Johnny explains that being able to unpack the wealth of information that makes up him has been invaluable. It has helped him incorporate a variety of life-changing habits including homeopathic remedies, which he feels have aided both his anemia and body pains.

What I was trying to accomplish was not diagnose myself as much as become a partner with my physicians to get the best care that I could.

Of course, we aren’t perfect and Johnny explains that it can be difficult and even overwhelming at times to maneuver through the whirlwind of his data. Yet, with the ever-growing Nebula Research Library that provides curated information on the newest scientific discoveries every single week, Johnny is now able to understand the novel research that can explain and even directly point him to how variants relevant to him may function. The updated library now also provides polygenic scores as well as allele effect sizes, giving our users an easier way to understand the cumulative effects of many genes on a particular trait or disease. With changes like these, Nebula is continuing to make it easier to understand what the latest research findings mean to user’s DNA.

This has empowered me. I’m a part of my health in a way that I never was before. Hell, I’m a part of life in a way I haven’t been in a long time.

Here at Nebula, Johnny’s complement has resonated. User experiences like his continue to push us forward to provide the absolute best service we can. We are committed to empowering people to take control of their genetic information,  any opportunity we can help in providing information to aid a person’s livelihood is the greatest gift. And just like Johnny, we want to help our users feel in control of their bodies, utilizing knowledge of their genetic information to the best of their abilities. Let Nebula help you buckle up – because life doesn’t always have to be a bumpy and wild ride.

We care about and are interested in our customer’s stories. Reach out to stories@nebula.org, and perhaps we can have a conversation in person! Together, we can help one another discover more about ourselves and share our stories over afternoon coffee.

If you are interested in beginning the journey of owning your genetic data to better take control of your livelihood, order your kit today!

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