Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Are You a High Roller?

A friend of my parents recently quit her job.  The circumstances aren’t important, what is important is the conversation that followed.  My mother asked her if she was going to take the COBRA option which allows you to pay out-of-pocket for your health insurance.  In most cases you can do that for 18 months unless you have extenuating circumstances.  She replied that she had just gone to her doctors for routine physicals, had her dentist visit, and is feeling fine.

Let me explain the idea behind insurance because it’s a bit odd.  When you purchase a health insurance policy you are betting that you will indeed have some type of illness or accident and the insurance company is betting that you’ll be happy and healthy and they’ll simply collect their premiums.

The truth is that no one ever thinks they are going to get sick.  I took my cats to the vet today for an annual exam and vaccinations and in walks the vet wearing a wig.  She’s obviously going through cancer treatment…did she plan on this?  Could she have foreseen that she would be diagnosed with a health challenge this great?  If you look at the bankruptcy courts in our country a high percentage of people filing for bankruptcy are doing so because of medical bills.

I realize that not everyone has the funds to pay for their own insurance, but then it’s important to find other means of coverage.  Until healthcare reform is finalized if you have a lapse in coverage of one day between insurance policies any new provider can deny you for having a pre-existing condition.  All it takes is a 24 hour lapse in coverage and you could be in hot water.

There are the types of conversation you should be having with your legislators as they discuss and argue about healthcare reform.  It only takes one cell to go haywire, one text while driving, or a myriad of other mishaps to set you in the poor house.  Think ahead, plan ahead, and take every precaution possible…you’ll thank me.

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, History, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Telling The Story

How many times have you told your illness story?  If you’ve been a part of a support group the answer is too many times to count. If you haven’t you may have told the story to close friends, extended family, significant others, but every time you tell the story you need to think about how you feel about the story.\

Last night I began telling my story again after making a comment about going to get refills of my medication.  My story begins when I was twelve so I’ve been living with an autoimmune disease for many years.  The story had a different story this time because I was looking at it from the vantage point of feeling blessed.  I’m blessed because I have health insurance, and great health insurance at that.  If I didn’t have this insurance my life would be far less pleasant than it is.

There is a discrepancy in this country when it comes to health care.  The treatments I receive are very expensive if I were paying out of pocket.  I have a physician who monitors me closely and we always discuss new treatment options as they become available.  If I didn’t have health insurance I’d be a mess.  I’d be totally disabled.  If I had mediocre health insurance I’d have to make choices between treatment food, gas and treatment.  I’m not sure what type of treatments I’d receive if I had federal health insurance such as Medicaid.

I’m sharing this with you because telling the story this time brought up feelings of relief and gratitude, not something you hear about often when discussing illness.  I have the opportunity every day to live my without too many interruptions.  I know that all treatments have long term effects, but today I’m feeling great.

I realize now that it’s important for me to tell my story on a regular basis.  I take away different lessons each time and that promotes my own wellness.  If gives me physical and spiritual stamina which all of us facing an illness need to develop for our journey to wellness.