This is my second in a series of posts for Diabetes Blog Week 2017.
Today's topic is the cost of chronic illness. This is an awkward topic for me to speak of since I'm not using medication or insulin as part of my diabetes management, which is what most people think about when discussing the cost of diabetes. However, there are limitations in my care that are financially driven.
For example, many people with Type 2 diabetes are limited on the number of test strips they are allowed to get through insurance, if they're allowed any at all. My mom is only allowed two per day. At this time, I have a prescription of four per day. This was my requested number shortly after my diagnosis. Originally my doctor didn't think I needed any. (What?) However after much thought on my part, I called asking for test strips using our upcoming vacation as an excuse. Should I even have to ask for test strips? Should I have to use a vacation as an excuse? Why do I feel hesitant to ask for more? (I'd like at least six so I can test before an after every meal.) Do I fear being judged or turned down, either by my doctor or insurance?
What about a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)? Why can't everyone with diabetes get one? It's obvious the more data someone has about how their body reacts to various foods and activities then better that person can manage glucose levels.Why is it if a person's body still produces some insulin, whether it's not enough or just not using it properly, insurance will deny coverage for a CGM? Oh yeah, the cost. They don't think the benefits outweigh the cost.
Let's forget for a moment the financial cost of diabetes. What about my personal cost? Not being able to enjoy certain foods with my family? Avoiding making pancakes for my kids because I love them so much but they raise my blood sugar even more (even if I only eat 2-3)? Having to stop working in the garden with my family or helping my kids clean their rooms because my blood sugar is low? Does anyone consider those costs?
The cost of living with a chronic illness isn't just a hit to the pocketbook.