Imagining the Unimaginable

Meagan Esler

| Apr 1, 2012

As I listen to the news of the recent Mega Millions jackpot of over $600 million, my dreams aren't about fast cars, vast mansions, or plush vacations. My thoughts revolve around my diabetes. How awesome would it be to have the best care that money can buy?

I've been that person, you know, the one who could not afford her supplies. The one who re-used her syringes to save money, cleaning them with alcohol between uses. The one who said no to hundreds of her test strips because her bank account couldn't cover them. The one who skipped doctor appointments due to no insurance and staggering lab work costs. Regretfully, I've gone too long between A1Cs back when times were really tough.

Thankfully, things are better financially at this point in my life, but as far as diabetes goes, I'm always on the edge of my seat. What if I lost my job and my health insurance? I never want to be in that position again. That's why my lottery fantasies turn immediately to what I'd do about my diabetes if I won.

First and foremost, I'd get myself an insulin pump. Sometimes I feel like the last type 1 on the planet who takes manual daily injections. Most of my friends have pumps, along with much better blood sugar control than I do. I tried years ago to get one, but after undergoing all the preparation and blood work, I was told that I needed to come up with several thousand dollars. My insurance covered some, but not all, of the costs. To my dismay, it was just not something we could afford.

A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, would also be nice. Knowing my blood sugar trends and having some warning of the ups and downs we all face daily with diabetes would be comforting, as well as helpful in figuring out insulin doses. But I've heard many friends tell tales of arguing with insurance companies in their attempts, often futile, to get this expensive but valuable device approved.

I'd also find a really good endocrinologist who could help me do this diabetes thing right. My ideal endocrinologist wouldn't rush me out the door after an appointment. If I had questions at 8:00 PM, I'd simply call the doctor and ask. Who needs a butler? I'd rather have an endo on staff.

It's great fun to imagine life without financial woes. I know of several amazing diabetes charities that would top my list of causes. If I won, a certain "D" prom that the diabetes online community humorously buzzes about would surely take place. Of course, I know the chances of winning are akin to getting struck by lightning multiple times, but it sure is fun to dream. What would you do if you won?

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Categories: A1Cs, Blood Sugar Control, Continuous Glucose Monitor, Diabetes, Diabetes, Diabetes Charities, Endocrinologist, Financial Woes, Health Insurance, Insulin Doses, Insulin Pump, Manual Daily Injections, Syringes, Test Strips, Type 1

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Posted by Anonymous on 2 April 2012

If you don't have an insulin pump, I have an extra and wouldn't hesitate to give it to you if you want it.

Posted by Tamara Ragon-Gamble on 2 April 2012

There would have been enough set aside to cover my sons medical expenses, if a cure is not found, long after I'm gone, so we no longer needed to worry about that. 10% would have gone to our church, as our faith is what has made and kept us strong despite the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in our family. I would have had additional time to advocate for those families who child/children are unsafe at school. I would have had more time to educate those struggling with this diagnosis, those who know nothing about it, and those who do not have access to ample supplies; thereby empowering those struggling with type 1 diabetes, increasing awareness, and decreasing the disparities among us on all levels, respectively. I would have donated to a few organizations that I hold dear. I would have helped those who are close to me who are working hard and not quite making ends meet, so that they could enjoy life a little bit more. Last but not least, I would take a trip and spend some time with my husband. Often times he has taken a back seat for "the cause," and he has done so willingly, lovingly, and without thought. That's how I would have utilized my millions in brief.

Posted by Anonymous on 4 April 2012

Absolutely agree! I have a 11 yr old son with type 1 and I can relate to everything u said! We have ran out of supplies multiple times and just had to do with out or afford what little I could to last until the next month till insurance would pay! well thank u for ur inspirational article and God bless u. =-)

Posted by seashore on 5 April 2012

Don't expect an expensive endocrinologist to give you very much valuable information. Usually they merely repeat the dogma they receive from the American Diabetes Association, most of which is confused. Instead, read mthe book "Diabetes Solution" by Dr. Richard Bernstein.

Posted by bongobuzz on 5 April 2012

Your discourse is a blaring example of why we need a national healthcare program in the US. Why should decent people have to worry about where their health insurance coverage is coming from? This would be inconceivable in any other industrialized country.

Our ultrarightwing justices in the Supreme Court may strike down the only piece of legislation that has benefited people without money, including many, many, many diabetics, very soon. :-\ I can only hope that some of you will realize these people are not your friends.

Sorry to have introduced a political angle here, as I think Diabetes Health would prefer us to do, but I think it's necessary.

Buzz Haughton

Posted by laforĂȘt on 6 April 2012

Let's eliminate the "if". You have not won the Jackpot but you can look closely at what you Americans call "Obamacare". That's maybe where people with diabetis can do something. It seems to me that the proposed plan is quite similar to what we have here in Canada, i.e free insulin and stuff needed for daily treatment. My diabetic son lives now in France where all diabetics are given free what they need for their survival. According to the theoraticians of this health program it is a good investment as more people are kept healthy and productive and not a burden for society.

Posted by cde on 8 May 2012

We are NOT the last people with DM1 to not use the pump. Only 1 of my patients/clients uses a pump (because he doesn't want anyone to know that he has DM1), and two girls who used it have stopped, because they say that they are more easily able to achieve their BG goals.

As my mentor (who has had DM1 for over 60 years) has said, "If you can't achieve normoglycemia with injections with syringes, you can't do it with the pump, either."

Another fun money exercise (besides what to do with the lottery money) is to simply take the monthly cash register receipts from the grocery store, total the cost of ONLY the carbohydrates bought (which are subsequently the principal reason for large doses of costly insulin, syringes for corrections, strips for unpredictable results after their consumption) and calculate what percent of total food bills go to purchasing ONLY carbohydrates. Anything saved on that front (by reducing carbohydrate consumption) can be directed to the purchase of high-quality proteins and fats, which are required to build and repair body tissues.

It's none of my business, but I think you have reason for optimism in regards to having an "on-call" endo. There are some out there. As a Certified Diabetes Educator, my clients/patients can call me 24 hours of every day (and I personally answer), and often do. I do charge for the time at the same rate as for the office visit ($50 for 60 minutes)...but a series of 10 5-minute phone calls is probably more useful and educational for these clients/patients than a single 50-minute consult, because they call about an immediate doubt, question, problem, rather than some theoretical issue.

Dr. Stan De Loach
MĂ©xico, Distrito Federal

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