I love it when I read an article, a blog or talk to a person and find myself saying on the inside or the outside, “Yes! Yes! Exactly! You get it!” Since it’s March (what is it about March? It’s the end of the 1st quarter, it’s not quite winter and not quite spring, everyone pretends they are Irish for one day and we have to change our clocks and lose sleep!) I like to take stock of where I’ve been so far this year, what I’ve accomplished and what goals I have yet to meet. It can get depressing if you look at my calendar—you’ll quickly see a whole lot of time spent working full time and managing my health full time, with a sprinkling of fun thrown in (very small sprinkles). If I look at Facebook (which I’m trying to do less and less), I see a lot of babies, weddings, promotions, fabulous vacations, new homes, new dogs, and new haircuts. Not exactly my life.
So, take a break from your Facebook and Twitter feeds, because we are going to get real here. And let’s recalibrate how we define accomplishments. I suspect your list will look a lot like mine—and I also suspect that many of your (wonderful) friends with the fabulous vacations would weep at the thought of tackling all of this!
Kristin’s (Cruddy) Highlights of 2014! (Thus Far)
- I called all of my doctors, medical facilities and pharmacy with my new insurance information at the start of January. Of course, this sounds like it took me 30 minutes. No. It took several hours. And yet, I still got calls from those same facilities—“Your insurance didn’t go through.” One call is never enough for managing your medical care. Am I right? One day I literally made seven phone calls back and forth with my doctor and CVS to get my insurance information straight.
- Vain and complicated attempts to save money: I started transferring my medications from CVS to the mail order pharmacy. Of course, it’s not as simple as my health insurance would lead you to believe. The wrong form printed—for a generic version of my medication—and I need the brand version. I went into the system to print the correct form and the system told me
- “Congratulations! You already have mail order service!” “No, I don’t!” I yelled at the computer. Alas, many minutes later, I found a form that would work, sent it off to my doctors and now I will be waiting, waiting, waiting for the transfer and arrival of my 90 day supply of medications.
- My insurance company denied me a medication that I need to manage the GI complications of my scleroderma. It’s not that they said it was a Tier III or “specialty” medication—they outright refused to cover it. My doctor says I need this medication to function, but my insurance company says “hey, we think you’re great and managing just fine….”
- Twice-weekly visits to physical therapy for my jaw—which has been time consuming, expensive (because an out-of-network PT was recommended by my TMJ specialist) and sometimes painful. I endure it with hope that I can kiss the majority of my headaches and jaw pain goodbye. And I look forward to posting photos of my sexy jaw splint to Facebook and Instagram.
- Twice-weekly sessions with my personal trainer who is helping me find muscles and tendons I didn’t know existed! I love her, I love our workouts, but I don’t love feeling like I’m going to throw up at the end of those sessions. (Thank you thyroid weight for….nothin’.)
- A last minute international trip for work sent me on a tear to make sure my vaccinations were up to date and I had sufficient medications to travel. I researched how to carry my medications and made phone calls to my doctors to get their opinions.
- My gynecologist doesn’t take my new insurance, so I’ve spent hours researching new doctors.
- I’ve had an MRI of my jaw—that was not covered by insurance—and another mammogram. I’ve confronted my fear of small spaces in the MRI machine and my general dislike of mammograms. (Note: I’m on the young side for mammograms, but have had some breast cancer “scares” so they are necessary for me, along with breast ultrasounds. Second Note: Guys, be very, very glad mammograms aren’t usually on your to-do list.)
- I’ve been to CVS at least 24 times to pick up medications. (Note from the boyfriend: “You’ve been to CVS that much?” Alright, confession: I send him there a lot.)
- I surpassed my $3,000 health insurance deductible! I actually celebrated this achievement with a little dance. Of course that deductible is real money that came out of my very empty wallet.
- I’ve called, and called again, to request my records from my pain specialist.
- I’ve had 10 doctor’s appointments in 12 weeks. This included a new, fabulous dermatologist who can help manage my lupus and my furrowed brow lines. (Thwarted by attempts to get Botox for my migraines, because I “only” get headaches 12 days per month and not 15, I will have to join the masses in LA who visit the green juice and Botox bar.)
- I tried a new “Yoga RX” class with a friend.
- I walk/jogged the LA Marathon Big 5K. This led to a greater commitment to walk/jog 2-3 miles several times per week.
- I made 2-3 phone calls per day to my insurance company, health savings account administrator, and doctors to get answers I needed. And then I waited, waited, waited for the information.
- I was continuously frustrated by weight gain—despite working out and eating a clean diet—and even more frustrated by my doctor’s suggestion that I see a bariatric specialist. My thyroid is on my shit list. And I think I’m on my boyfriend’s “tune out” list because of my almost nightly rants about my butt.
- I’ve endured more conversations and “suggestions” that I go paleo, stop drinking diet soda, stop taking antibiotics, do yoga every day, and then, THEN, I will feel better.
- I tried a new acupuncturist and left with a massive headache. I long for my former acupuncturist in Houston—she was amazing.
- I continued my never-ending project to scan all of my medical records—over 14 years—into Evernote. It’s a tedious, but worthwhile, endeavor.
- And I forced myself to love kale—and then un-love it, because I read it could exacerbate my thyroid problems.
So cheer up, my arthritis comrades. I hope you are now saying to yourself, “Yes! Yes! She gets it!” Because, I do. Sometimes it just sucks.