I am 27, I turn 28 in April and I have been diabetic for 20 years. I know that there are far worse things or diseases to face in life than just being diabetic, but it still isn’t a pleasant or cheap thing to face. At least with diabetes you have a fighting chance at an ‘average’ lifespan. But what if you  can’t afford the supplies you need to take care of yourself?

In the U.S alone {as of January 26, 2011}, according to the American Diabetes Association, 8.3% of the population {children and adults} are diabetic. The total cost of diabetes in 2007 was $174 BILLION, $ 116 billion was for direct medical expenses, and $58 billion was for work loss, disablility, premature mortality or other indirect expenses. That is a lot of money! Those numbers do not include the expense of gestational diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, or prediabetes.

Diabetes also leads to other illnesses such as heart disease, nervous system disease, amputation, and high blood pressure. It also is the LEADING cause of blindness and kidney disease or kidney failure {2008}. These complications can be lessened by having really good control of your blood sugar, exercising, eating right, and having your A1C level check often. The very frustrating part, at least for me, is that I didn’t do anything to get this disease. I’m sure this frustration is common for people dealing with cancer, diabetes, leukemia, etc. The diseases where it is completely out of your control, nothing you could do to prevent it or change the course you were on.

The VERY frustrating part, at least for me, is that even though I do everything I can to manage and control my diabetes as close as possible, is that the insurance companies will always look at you as too expensive. And that sucks, it’s not a very nice word to use, but that’s how I feel. I do not get a break after a certain number of years to consider myself in remission {my dad had cancer when I was little, I kind of remember the insurance issues from then}. I will always be diabetic, there isn’t a cure. When my husband changed jobs in July, we had to wait 3 months to be eligible for the benefits there. So we looked into insurance through other places. I asked {knowing they would never cover me} about me being on the policy with my husband and kids even though I had been diabetic for so long. The person actually started to laugh before catching themselves. A private insurance will not cover someone who is diabetic. The costs are too great, especially with the other issues and complications that arise from being diabetic. But, if insurance companies allowed people the chance to take care of their diabetes on a daily basis maybe the costs would decrease instead of increasing. We had to COBRA my coverage, which again we were fortunate to be able to do because if I ever lose health coverage, I will either have a very hard time getting it back or just won’t get it back. COBRA was expensive. We were easily paying a mortgage payment with the money we spent for health coverage each month between mine and my husbands and children’s coverage. Obviously, I do not have all the answers for healthcare, insurance, or any kind of reform. I am simply a frustrated individual who is trying to take care of myself as much as possible, but even with insurance, which we are VERY fortunate to have, things can get expensive. For example, I am on an insulin pump and have had the same one for almost exactly 5 years. It lasted me through 2 pregnancies and allowed me to have a healthy children, something I was told would never happen when I was younger. But now, 5 years later, technology has changed and my pump is not doing as well as it once was. So I have been working with my doctors office to get a new pump and yesterday I found out the cost: $4277. And my insurance company will not pay any more than $2500. So the rest is up to me. And that doesn’t include supplies for the pump to actually function or the insulin to actually go in the pump, or the test strips to check my blood sugar {sometimes as many as 10 times a day}, or the lancets to prick my finger with, or the needles to have just in case my pump isn’t working correctly and I need an injection……..It goes on and on.

I guess my frustration just comes from feeling like I’m being punished for something I cannot control. Don’t get me wrong, I know I have been very fortunate in my life, but even when you know you’re lucky sometimes it’s just hard to look past an obstacle that is in your path.

There you go, that’s what’s been on my mind for the last few days. I may be doing a fundraiser type thing for the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation because the best thing would be a cure!

One Comment on “Personal”

  1. Christy says:

    I completely understand. Which is why I don’t like our health care system in America.

    I have waited in the emergency room in the US with chest pains for 8 hours, only to be told I was to young to have a heart attack go home–but we’ll bill you $800, even though we did NO tests. People say things like “if you hate the wait in our ER, wait until it goes universal, like in England.” But, as usual, people spout off without ever having been to a place with free healthcare.

    We were in London and had to take my sister to the emergency room. NO wait. NOONE waiting in the lobby.

    When we were in Ireland, we would walk into a doctor’s office and they said that they could see us, no appointment necessary, for 50 Euros (about $75 at the time).

    There are many diseases people are born with, but can get no insurance. And in America, that is sad!

    We pay for public schools because that was “better for the good of America.” I would think health care would be too.

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