How much do you appreciate your medications? This is a question I have asked myself on auto repeat after restarting pieces of my medication regimen this week. As my rheumatologist said last week, “Wow! You’re on a lot less medication than you were a year ago…..” To which I replied, “Yes, but not by choice!”
It would be nice to think that I’ve weaned myself off medications because symptoms are improving, my sed rate is low, and my cortisol is even. But this is not the case. I lost my health insurance for a few months this summer and thus couldn’t pay for many medications or even see my doctors for refills. Thankfully, my diseases did not take a nosedive to land me in the hospital. But I think I made it through this danger zone by the skin of my teeth. This week’s lab work results have got me terrified for various reasons and certain aspects of my disease did get worse. This adventure of living without health insurance and my meds deepened my understanding of what many of you contend with on a daily basis. Do you pay the rent or see your doctor? There is never an easy answer. And my answer this summer was to play RISK with my health.
Now that I’m back in gear with health insurance and new prescriptions, I can’t shake the fear I felt all summer long. And I can’t deny that my medications do work, on some level at least. Some medications like Plaquenil keep my lupus and scleroderma at bay—as signified by the painful ulcer that started to appear on my index finger because I was not on the drug (did I mention I haven’t had finger ulcers for over two years until now?). Now I’ve learned, with certainty, that without my drugs, my diseases rush in.
In other news….my rock star boyfriend is riding in the California Coast Classic Bike Tour for the Arthritis Foundation. He is riding over 500 miles down the coast later this month. It’s an amazing event and you can learn more about how you can get involved, or support our efforts here: http://afcabikeclassic.kintera.org/tdk