Thursday, December 27, 2007

Type 1/Type 2: A Moment That Made Me Proud

As many of you know, I have often been upset by the public's lack of knowledge concerning diabetes and the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. I have often been disturbed by lack of knowledge among diabetics themselves, such as Ms. Berry. In fact, I get upset and frustrated by it so often, that I could probably write a blog post for every day of the year, just focusing on the above mentioned things.
But I have to say I had an experience on Christmas day that made me quite proud and made me think that maybe, just maybe, people are listening. When I went with my church to Nashville for our bridge ministry I rode in a church van with several people I didn't know. My church is a large church and although I recognized everyone on the van, I didn't know any of them by name.
On the way back on Christmas night we stopped to get a quick bite to eat. My blood sugar was low. I knew it. I usually can't feel my lows, but that was one of the rare exceptions. I tested and confirmed a 64. At the convenience store I grabbed a blueberry muffin (I know, not the best of dinner choices, right?) and ate it. I knew, however, that it wasn't going to bring my blood sugar up fast enough. I asked them to let me back in the van so I could grab a juice box, explaining that I was diabetic.
When we got back on the road, one of the women started asking me some questions. The first of which was, "How long have you had diabetes?" This is a standard question. "Since I was 4 years old," I replied. And then, another lady says, "Oh, you are Type 1 then?" and she turns to another lady in the van and says, "That means she can't ever get rid of diabetes. It's not a diet issue."
I couldn't believe it. How could this woman know the difference? It's so rare to find a person who does. I asked her a few quick questions and found out that she worked at a school in which there was a diabetic child and she had learned quite a bit in dealing with him.
I was blown away. And proud. And slightly hopeful. That woman may not have known everything about diabetes, but she could, at least basically, tell the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
I also have to note on here Diabetes Mine's blog post for the day. It was regarding diabetes etiquette. How wonderful to know that someone is thinking about diabetes etiquette and how to spread the news to all the non-diabetics in the world!
In regards to my recent Christmas gift, I leave you all with a clip of the great fiddle player, Mr. Charlie Daniels, and his timeless classic The Devil Went Down To Georgia. I'm not delusional enough to think I'll ever play like that, but seeing him play could be inspiration to almost anyone.
On a separate note, I will not be posting again until after the New Year. I am going out of town tomorrow and won't be able to post. I leave you all this year of 2007, praying that you all have a blessed and HEALTHY 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Under the Bridge

Yesterday was Christmas. And it was a very special Christmas for me. Christmas Eve, I spent with my dad and his side of the family. We had a wonderful time. Christmas morning I went to my mom's. I was truly blessed there also. I got a fiddle for Christmas (or a violin; I guess it depends on how you want to play it!). I don't play. I don't ready music. But I have said for years that I would some day learn to play the fiddle. I love to hear that instrument. It makes me smile!

Now I have the fiddle. Time to learn to play! :) I am currently trying to locate someone in my town that will teach me all I need to know about playing a fiddle. Wish me luck on that one.

The second part of my day was spent with my church, traveling 2 1/2 hours to Nashville to minister with the Under the Bridge Ministries to the homeless community. Our church raised close to $12,000 to buy 300 sub-zero sleeping bags. The ministry has a service and feeds the homeless under Jefferson Street Bridge every Tuesday night.

It was a very humbling and an experience that I will never forget. To know that I was there for several hours and how cold I was made me think how very lucky I was to have a bed to sleep in, an apartment to live in, and food to eat. I had never done anything like that before and I felt blessed to be a very small part of it all. I truly hope to go back to the bridge in the future.

I hope that you all had as wonderful a Christmas as I did.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

My Christmas has already started! I had Christmas Eve dinner and exchanging of presents with my dad and his side of the family earlier this evening. Tomorrow morning I head to my mom's and tomorrow afternoon I am going with my church to Nashville to deliver Christmas dinner to the homeless population that lives under Jefferson Street Bridge. Along with dinner, we will be ministering and handing out sub-zero sleeping bags.
A full and happy Christmas is what I am receiving already this year. I have been truly blessed and feel fortunate in so many ways.
I hope you all know how much I appreciate you! It means so much to have this community!
I pray you will all have a wonderful day tomorrow and that you all have a blessed time with family and friends.
Here's a little bit of holiday cheer for you. God bless!
(Just to note: this isn't my church, but my church youth group did this program for Christmas. It was AWESOME!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pharmacy Hopping!

Okay. As most of you who check out my blog on a pretty regular basis know, I have been having trouble with my insurance company & my prescriptions. I went to get a couple of other prescriptions filled today. One for my insulin and for my cholesterol medicine and I was running out of some vitamins that I also needed to pick up.
About 2 months ago I switched pharmacies because the one I was at took FOREVER to fill anything and you had to wait FOREVER to pick it up, even if they had it filled and all they had to do was hand it to you. I got sick of dealing with that and decided to switch pharmacies.
Every since I have switched pharmacies, things have been going nuts! My insurance won't pay for 3 months on the "new" strips. And today I was told that my insurance company had pulled the 3 month prescription contract with all the pharmacies and would only do 3 month supplies by mail.
I HATE mail order meds. Mostly cause I can't remember to order them on time. Call me spacey, but it's true. Not to mention I like to see who I am dealing with when it comes to my medicines. Someone who knows me cause they see me so often. And someone with whom I can talk if there is a problem with my prescriptions or I have a question.
I was highly upset and wanted to talk with my insurance company to find out what was going on. When I called them, the guy I spoke with was very nice, but didn't seem to know what I was talking about at first. I explained it to him in the exact way that it was explained to me at the pharmacy: Company X, which contracts all the prescriptions for Insurance X, was bought out by Pharmacy X (which is NOT my pharmacy!). Due to this, the only pharmacy in which you can get a 3 month prescription with Insurance X is through Pharmacy X (which isn't located withing an hour of my home).
The insurance guy started looking through whatever computer program or manual or whatever he had in front of him and then asked me what county I lived in. He then told me that Pharmacy A (my pharmacy) didn't contract with Company X and that's why I could no longer get prescriptions for 3 months from Pharmacy A. Then he told me that there were 2 pharmacies in my county in which I could get a 3 month prescription.
The first one he listed was Pharmacy B (the pharmacy I JUST SWITCHED FROM!!!!) and another, local pharmacy which I will call Pharmacy C.
On the plus side, I am going to switch my prescriptions to Pharmacy C so I can continue to get my cholesterol medicine and insulin in 3 month supplies.
On the negative side, this will be the 3rd pharmacy change for me in less than 3 months.
Sigh. Why does diabetes have to be so difficult??

Monday, December 17, 2007

For These Times

I experienced my first bit of sussy from the Diabetes OC late last week. I hadn't yet posted about it because I've been really busy this weekend and simply haven't had time.

I have to give my heartfelt thanks to Bernard, who read my impassioned rant about test strips and the current cost of my diabetes life. He contacted me and offered to send me a box of test strips, an extra meter, and the software & cable to download all of my pump and meter information. I have to say that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I have gotten the chance to experience the wonderful generosity of the Diabetes OC and it makes me thankful that I found you all.

And on that note, while I was cruising around on the Internet today, I found the video for Martina McBride's new song. The song is touching. It fits in with my mood and my idea of what people are really about. The video is also shot in one of my favorite cities, NYC.

I have listed the lyrics below:

In these times in which we live

Where the worst of what we live

Is laid out for all the world on the front page

And the sound of someone’s heartbreak

Is a soundbite at the news break

With a close shot of the tears rollin’ down their face

Blessed be the child who turns a loving eye

And stops to pray

For these times in which we live

In these most uncertain hours

Where the balance of power

Is a fight that is fought every day

And freedom is a word

Some cry out and some whisper

And some are just too quick to give away

Blessed be the one who stands by the one

On the battle line

For these times in which we live

Well give me a heart full of tender mercy

And arms I will open wide

For these times in which we live

Seems like the only answer is

Givin’ up on findin’ one at all

And we hide behind unsure

Pull the blinds and lock the doors

And hang a pleasant picture on the wall

Blessed is the believer who knows love is our redeemer

And the only breath of life

For these times in which we live

Well give me a heart full of tender mercy

And arms I will open wide

Yeah give me words full of loving kindness

And hands ready to hold up a light

For these times in which we live

For these times in which we live

I hope God truly grants me the heart to open my arms to those who need my help.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Picking My Battles

Last time I posted, I was discussing going into battle with my insurance company over the cost of test strips. I had intended on calling Monday, but got busy and work and forgot. Tuesday, I planned to call on my lunch hour. As I was walking through the door to my apartment for lunch, my phone rang. It was a representative from MiniMed calling me to discuss my CGMS. My doctor's office had contacted them to get help on writing the request for my CGMS that has to go to my insurance company.

The gentleman was calling from a local Tennessee office only a few hours from my home. He asked me a series of questions, requested my pump and meter download information, and gave me both his name and phone number to call if I had any questions about anything. This is basically the first real step to getting the CGMS. If the insurance company denies the request (which they nearly always do), we will work on appealing it.

While I had him on the phone, I asked him when it looked like the meters were going to be changing to the One Touch meters. He said they are still saying spring, but he had heard rumor that they were looking at March. That piece of information made my life very happy. March is only a few months away.

With that on my mind, I decided to pick my battle. I know they keep records of all our phone calls, complaints, requests, etc. at the insurance company. Due to this, I do not want to cause too much of a fuss until I get my CGMS approved. If March is an accurate date for the One Touch switchover, then I will suck it up, pay the extra cost, and wait on the One Touch.

This reminds me of the recent posts of Amylia, over at Amazing Grace. She has been discussing the cost of diabetes. With or without health insurance, diabetes is expensive. In this instance, I am going to have to pay $40 per month, for several months, for my test strips. I understand that this is a great deal cheaper than if I had no insurance at all. I am always thankful for my access to good health insurance. But it is still hard to make it on one income (and not a very big income at that!) when you are paying out of pocket-costs every month. It's like another loan payment. But this one never gets paid off.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Test Strip Wars

I went to check with my pharmacy today about my test strips. I kind of guessed that I was going to have to pay another $40 for the rest of my test strips, but I was hoping to just go ahead and get my 90 day supply. I was just going to let it go and pray that Medtronic switches to the One Touch meter A.S.A.P. Right now it is saying Spring 2008. So I am hoping before May... but you know how companies can be. Sometimes they end up pushing stuff off for months.

The had gotten in my strips. They had to order them from the new company since the BD company is no longer making test strips. I knew this was going to happen. When the pharmacist handed the bag to me he said, "There are 6 boxes in there. That should be for 10 times per day."

What? That is 10 times per day for one month, but not for 3 months, like my prescription was written for. I asked him about this right away. He said that my insurance company denied the claim since it was a new company. They basically said they would only pay for 30 days at a time. This pretty much sucks. $40 for 3 months is much better than $40 per month.

Oh, dear Lord, I can't wait for the One Touch meter! I know my co-pay for those strips is only $20. And I know I can get a 3 month prescription.

So, now to the title. Basically, I am getting ready to fight the test strip wars with my insurance company. The only reason I didn't call them today is because I wanted to calm down before I call them a BLESS THEM OUT! It is the SAME STRIP! Just made by a different company.
So wish me luck on Monday when I take up my armor and head into battle with the insurance company....

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Endo Appointment and the Crazy A1c

Yesterday I had my check-up with my endo. I got all my prescriptions straightened out. That's a plus. I also got some good news about my CGMS. They are going to have to re-submit the letter as it did not have the correct codes, but the nurse in charge of the whole CGMS thing said that she's had another patient in the office with the same insurance that I have and he was approved. This gives me hope. Hope for a lower A1c.

Lately I haven't been being as diligent as I should be with my blood sugars. I've been testing regularly, but not being so careful what I eat and when. Because of this my blood sugars have been running a little bit on the crazy side. My 3 month average, according to all my meter downloads, is 136. This is higher than I would have like. I've also been having fewer lows, which for me means higher blood sugars overall.

I went into my doctors office toting a stack of graphics and print-outs from my pump and meter software, a list of all the vitamins and medicines I take, a list of the prescriptions that I needed him to write for me, and a list of questions that I wanted to ask him. Call me the good diabetic. :)

The last time I was in the office, my endo had not written me a lab order to get my A1c done. And to be honest with you, I had forgotten about it (bad diabetic!). Maybe it was my subconscious not wanting to know what my A1c actually was...

When I sat down with my doctor we looked over my blood sugars and made some major changes to my pump settings. We changed almost all of my basals, 2 of my carb/insulin ratios, and we also changed the active insulin time from 6 hours to 5 hours. This was after looking over the last 4 weeks of graphics and discussing the trends. He sees stuff I never can.

I also asked him some questions about Dr. Bernstein and what he thought about low carbs and no carb diets. He, of course, did not agree and spouted off something from the ADA that says we need at least 160 grams of carbs per day. I am not sure that I agree with that. I would much rather keep my carbs per day under 100. Although I have trouble doing it most of the time.

I also asked him about the vitamins I have been taking. He told me he wanted me to take more Vitamin D. So that's next on my list of stuff to buy.

Before I left the did an in office A1c. It was one of the home-type tests, I think. When it came back it was 5.6. That is CRAZY! I know there is no way that my A1c is 5.6. Not when my average of blood sugars is 136. It doesn't add up. If I believed it was correct, I would have jumped up and down and screamed for joy. I just don't think it was. So basically I am pretending like that A1c never happened and I made sure to get an order for lab work for my next appointment.

Honestly, I don't know what the deal is. I just know that my doctor called me "motivated," which I took as a complement. I figure that I have a right to be obsessive compulsive about my diabetes care. I want to live a long and healthy life. I want to still be alive when there is a CURE!

Sunday, December 2, 2007