Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Cost of a Chronic Illness - Diabetes Blog Week 2017

Diabetes is an expensive disease. Even with insurance, we pay a substantial among each month in copays. I know many families struggle with the cost of insulin and supplies for 1 person with diabetes. We have 3 in our family. I've learned a few tricks to help us use our healthcare dollars as good as possible.
First, we fill everything on a 90 day cycle. This is about a 50% savings just on our insulin. On our particular insurance plan, when we get 90 day prescriptions for insulin, our test strips, lancets, and pen needles are included at no additional copay. I recently learned from another person on our insurance that alcohol wipes are also covered 100% when filled with the 90 day insulin prescriptions.
Next, our Dexcom sensors are filled every month. We could get them every 90 days and save a few dollars, but monthly works better for us. Storage would quickly become an issue, and that's already a big enough issue in our house. We extend our sensors as long as they are reliable, and that helps with the cost as well.
To me, the emotional costs can be greater than the financial costs. The constant drain of dealing with not only my own numbers and supplies, but also keeping up with my son and husband, can be exhausting. Don't get me wrong, they are both fully self-sufficient. But as wife and mom, I keep tabs. I don't micromanage or anything, but it's still on my mind frequently.
Another emotional aspect is how much I am surrounded by diabetes. At least once a week, it seems, someone messages me with concerns about their own child or the child of a friend. I absolutely would not want any of my friends to stop doing this!! But I do have to recognize the emotional drain it can put on me. I have to step back sometimes in order to keep myself in an ok place emotionally.
The physical cost can't be discounted either. My body is covered in tiny marks and bruises from all the injections I take daily.  I have a device attached to me 24/7. I would not want to be without it, but it does get in the way sometimes. My family has always referred to me as the princess and the pea. I've heard others say they don't even notice their Dexcom on their bodies, but I'm always aware of it. I wear it all the time and monitor myself closely in an effort to avoid the physical cost most of us don't like to thing about....complications. Even with tight management, being free of complications isn't a guarantee. We do the best we can and hope for the best. It's really all we can do.
I've shared this picture before, but it is the best visual of the financial cost of diabetes.

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  1. I can't imagine diabetes x3... you guys are rock stars!

    1. You are too! I know it hasn't been easy parenting diabetes through toddler/preschool and now elementary years!!

  2. This photo is wild. Our stash is nothing compared to yours.

  3. It sounds like you have a great system in place for ordering your supplies! And you are right, the emotional costs can often outweigh the financial costs.

  4. Wow, I can certainly understand why storage space is an issue!!

  5. I didn't know any other juvenile onset/type 1 diabetic until I went to diabetic camp at the age of 8. So for 3 years, I was the only one I knew. My parents didn't take me to see my endo on a regular basis. I saw him only 2 more times after my diagnosis in 1965. I'm the only juvenile onset/type 1 in 6 generations. I would have loved to have had someone in my family to be able to "compare" notes with when I was younger. I didn't have as much stuff as you did, growing up in the 60's and 70's. But it would have been nice to not feel so alone.