Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Cost of a Chronic Illness

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.


  1. Too often when the subject of cost comes up the discussion ends at dollars and cents. But there's a very real cost to life with diabetes that can't be figured in a balance sheet.

    Yeah, we make choices about what to eat or do that are dictated by diabetes. But I choose to think about those choices in the longer term. No pancakes today, but the promise of a longer, healthier life tomorrow.

  2. Love your post! Please don't ever feel awkward about speaking because you're not on meds or insulin. This is something to celebrate! I went 8 yrs with my treatment being diet and exercise. Yay you!!!

  3. I admit I don't know nearly enough about T2 but I couldn't imagine only being allowed 2 test strips per day if I actually wanted/needed to test more. How frustrating! What happens if you don't put enough blood on one and you need to check again? There goes half of your day's supply. And you are right-it isn't just a hit to the pocketbook! Thanks for sharing! (I wish we had more T2 bloggers!)

  4. Thanks Sue! Really thought provoking! I can't imagine not having enough test strips so I could check my bgs before I sit into the drivers seat of a car. Test strips should be about personal and public safety.