Tag Archives: diabetes and money

Taking Control of Your Health

Too often, I have worried about my health, let questions swim around my head and neglected going to the doctor to deal with my concerns. I know why I’ve hesitated. It has to do with two simple things: fear and money.

Fear is so powerful a motivator but it isn’t a positive one. To neglect one’s health due to fear is generally to encourage a more negative outcome based on putting off something important. For example, the person with diabetes avoiding their annual eye exam may create a more frightening scenario when they finally go and find out they would have been better off knowing about a treatable eye issue while it was easier to treat and while their vision wasn’t yet compromised. I did this the year before last and when I went to the doctor a few months ago, basically shook in my boots over what she was going to find in my eyes. I was lucky–this time.

Money is not just a huge motivator, it’s a stubborn deterrent. If I can’t afford something, I can’t afford it, right? Thanks to credit cards, more of us are managing to get our insulin, strips, and doctor visits in but we are psychologically crumbling at the rising debt caused by affording what we need, knowing that we are further in the hole. I posted a while back about how much I spend on healthcare outside of my premium each year on my diabetes. That was just a few years ago and the number has not doubled or tripled, it has quadrupled since then. My family income hasn’t quadrupled so good luck to us. I’m not the only one trying to choose healthier versions of food, better insulin, adequate strips, and regular doctor appointments. I know many of you are struggling with the same and it is frustrating. We have to make some hard choices don’t we?

So how does one cope with these realities and still feel like we are in control of our health?

I don’t really know but I can tell you what I do to feel as close to that as possible.

First thing I do is make a list of my concerns and questions. I try to get as many of those as possible met at doctor visits. I ask my husband to help me make sure I go to the doctor. I think of my children and how they need me to be well and I push through and make sure I don’t neglect getting my questions answered and concerns dealt with. I go to the doctor with a list of things so that I don’t forget anything. Pushing through fear ends up feeling better than cowering at it.

Then I create a list of things to do each day that support my goals. Eating healthy, exercising each day, getting enough sleep and water, checking my blood sugars and taking my insulin–these are all non-negotiable. I have to be that person who loves spontaneity but who puts her foot down and tells people, “Sorry, I am not available at that time of the morning because that is when I work out.” Or “No, I can’t get a drink, I have to get to bed, maybe tomorrow at an earlier time?”

When it comes to finances, I also have to put diabetes and health first. So I budget diabetes and health items in like a car payment or the mortgage and try to have the mentality that these things are more important than even a mortgage. Wine and entertainment may seem like necessities but aren’t really. Those things get pushed back if needed. No it’s not fun… yes it is worth it.

The thing with discipline is that even though it seems really boring and restrictive, it doesn’t have to be. It can be the most empowering and noble thing in the world because of what we can accomplish through this discipline (and how we are the recipient of all the earnings). And you don’t have to suffer if you don’t choose to. Suffering due to our own choices can be very minimal or even non-existant because we are in control and no one is the boss of us and we aren’t blowing aimlessly in the wind like my blood sugars after a pizza and dessert.

Sure I mess up and throw off my health from time to time with poor choices. However, each time this happens I’m only more convinced that my disciplined routine is wonderful because it is what gives me the feeling I imagine healthy non-diabetics have: to feel decent most of the time. How marvelous it is to feel decent most of the time. With diabetes and without discipline, feeling decent most of the time isn’t possible (unless you are special and not like me). Think of how much you can do when you feel fine most days and can carry on with work, family, friends, and fun?

I’ve spent about half of my whole life feeling crappy and that is why I’m so enthusiastic about taking control of my health, despite the challenges. I deserve to feel really good and so do you!


Uncommon Find at the Dentist and Uncommon Thieves at the Park

Just an old photo we took of our ball- courtesy of Idea Go


I’ve been having this toothache for a few months.  Right now, for the first time in my life I don’t have dental insurance.  So the first thing I did was ignore the pain.  I thought, “Maybe it will go away”.  Then it got worse.  Then I got curious about it’s whereabouts and started poking and prodding and flossing around to figure out the pain’s exact place of origin.  I found it along with a high pitched yelp I didn’t know I had in me.  The pain felt like nerve pain, which I have been acquainted with in the past.  I assumed I must have a cavity or a filling had fallen out.

I made an appointment which I had yesterday and Alex stayed home from work to be with the kids.  I got x-rays done and my dentist says, “I don’t see anything, let’s compare with your last x-ray from 2 years ago.”  Then he studies the x-rays for a while and says “ahh this is interesting…very interesting”.  My adrenalin starts pumping from worry and suspense and he asks his assistant to come look and see if she notices anything odd.  She doesn’t and then he points out that the space inside my tooth has shrunken substantially.

I immediately go into what I call “Sysy land” otherwise known as my automatic inclination to be a medical detective (skilled or not).  I think, “Ok, maybe the tooth grinding at night has been pushing down on my molar?”  “Nope…unlikely…teeth don’t compact do they?  Ooh!  Maybe that was the one tooth I’ve had filled and it was done inadequately and infection has been eating up my tooth…wait…the space has shrunk, not gotten bigger…”  I was stumped.  Just as I was about to wonder if I had cancer in my tooth (ah, how fear trumps logic) the doctor finally put me out of my misery and explained that he rarely sees this but it seems to be some nerve inflammation going on deep inside the tooth.  He thought it was interesting, I thought it was probably expensive.

He said he’d have to take out the filling and put in a temporary medicated one.  If in a few months that doesn’t work, I’ll need my first root canal.  I don’t care how much it hurts, I simply can’t afford a root canal.  So let’s hope the filling works.  I’ll still need a permanent filling put in but I’m pretty sure that’s cheaper than a root canal.  I took some glucose tablets before he proceeded because I wasn’t expecting the unexpected.  He had to numb me twice and there should have been a third attempt because I was still feeling the drill but honestly, I just wanted to get it all over with.  I was prescribed an antibiotic for 10 days and to take two regular aspirin every four hours for a week.

I paid over 100 bucks for this and left thinking, “Noooo my poor wallet…”  Then I stopped the pity party.  Wait.  I used to make as much as my husband.  I could get a job and make that again.  I could have more money and dental insurance and I could put the kids in daycare.  I choose not to put the kids in daycare and am grateful for that opportunity.  I don’t think one way is better than the other, but feel for those who have to have it one way or another because they have no other alternative, no choice.  So this is the trade off.  And I just gotta deal with it.  These next few weeks I’m going to have to simply incorporate some serious money saving plans.  It will work out.

I wasn’t the only one experiencing something uncommon yesterday.  While I was at the dentist my husband was at the park with the kids.  He was kicking our soccer ball around and left it a hundred feet away when the kids migrated away from it.  No one else was at the park and he was close enough to the ball and he had on soccer cleats.  Suddenly a car drives by and stops in front of the ball.  A young kid jumps out, runs to the ball, doesn’t seem to care that my husband is like, “Hey that’s my ball!” and she and her mom drive swiftly out of there with OUR ball.  Alex can’t run after them with our two small children in his care so off they go.  LOL Can you believe that?  I couldn’t help but laugh about his encounter with drive-by thieves.  How often does that happen?  I bet they don’t know we can’t replace it.

Apparently yesterday was all about beating the odds (rolls eyes).