Tuesday, April 12, 2016

So let's talk about Diabetes

About two months ago, my pump warranty expired. No big deal, right? Wrong. In fact, it's a very big deal. This means that if something that happens to my pump, I go without my basic control over my diabetes. Sure, I could go to injections. But, it's nothing I have ever been good at. I have a fight with my body without the constant flow of insulin. I go high when I shouldn't go high and low when my math is terrible. Worse yet, I can't feel it when it's happening.

Let's touch on that. Before the ACA, I could not afford insulin. My first pump and CGM costed me about $1600 out of pocket. That does not include more than three months supplies, much less test strips, insulin, glucose tabs, batteries, meter, lancets, doctors, blood work, or anything else diabetes related. The list goes on AND on. So, God bless Obama Care. Fight with me if you want, I will argue my point until I die of old age, or much worse, complications of diabetes. But, I digress.

I, along with my health care professional team, have been fighting with insurance for two months now. It was all looking very bleak. We have received not one, but TWO, denials about how I shouldn't be provided with a new pump, partially covered by health insurance, because I was not hypoglycemic enough. Let's review:

Hypoglycemia, according to Mayo. Yes. The last complication could mean DEATH. So, you're telling me, my life needs to be at stake in order for you to provide the tools that could prevent that? Okay. Thank you.

Yesterday, after months of many blood glucose tests, my basal being increased more than it ever has been, many treatments, and lots of blood work, I received a letter that said: "After reviewing your case, we determined the initial first two denials will be overturned."

HALLELUJAH! We have started on the process. What will this mean? Well, it may take a little bit. But, we have started.

This morning, at six forty five, I awoke and I felt weird. I decided I was fine, but I may as well check. I grabbed my meter. 55 mg/dl. That's LOOOOW. I'm supposed to stay between 100 and 120, ideally, as decided by my care team. I could barely feel this. What if, it happened in the middle of the night? While I was driving? While I was working? I could die. From one instance. There would be nothing I could do to prevent it. Tell me, again, how this is my fault.

In a very controversial year, I am facing the possibility of a president repealing the ACA. It's not perfect, I get that. But, it's something. Had this happened four years ago, I may have been fine because I have the most amazing support system any person with, or without, diabetes could ever ask for. The thing is, I'm luckier than most. Not every one is.

Today, we started the process of getting me a new pump and CGM. Today, I shelled out $206 for my insulin, covering my prescription deductible for the year. This is is the LATEST in the past four years I have made it. Usually it is done by April 1. Since I have been fourteen (I was diagnosed at 27,) I have worked at least two jobs. In the past six months, I have been fortunate enough to not have to do so for the first time in my life. And I am STILL struggling to cover my disease. I pray that in ten years, the system will be better. But, we can't afford to give a health care system, that makes everyone eligible , up.

I recognize that I still have luxuries that not every one has. I was able to pay for my insulin. And I know I will be able to save for my pump and CGM and make that happen, too. What happens to the 20 year old that can't? Okay, they can stay on their parents insurance until 26. What happens to the 27 year old, who is freshly diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, who doesn't have a support system?

I'm so thankful. I just want to make sure that whatever happens, it keeps getting better. I don't want to look back on my children, or my nieces and nephews (whichever comes first) and wish they didn't have to worry about the decision between paying out of a pocket to save their lives, or deciding to pay their rent.

These are major issues this year. And I am facing them on a day to day basis. I have had to be on the phone over one hundred twenty hours in the past two months to my insurance company, my doctors, and my distributor. I know I said that I have been blessed with only one job in the past six months. But, this...this has felt like my second job.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. And every one else faced with this insidious disease.

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