The Cost of Diabetes

2 things I know for sure: #1 money makes the world go ’round #2 healthcare is expensive. I am fortunate enough to have group healthcare offered through my employer at this time which helps out tremendously with the cost of my Type 1 diabetes. Even with this blessing in my life, I am shocked when I add up how much my diabetes cost (out of pocket) at the end of each year. Here are some stats for ya:

• As many as three million Americans may have T1D.1

• T1D accounts for $14.9 billion in healthcare costs in the U.S. each year.5

1 Type 1 Diabetes, 2010; Prime Group for JDRF, Mar. 2011

5 The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead, 2010; United Health Group: unitedhealthgroup.com/hrm/UNH_WorkingPaper5.pdf

For 1 month of treatment, here is an estimate of the retail cost of the supplies I currently use to treat my diabetes:

  • 4 vials of Novolog insulin $880.76
  • 20 insulin pump cartridges (part of the pump where the insulin is stored) $176.82
  • 20 insulin pump infusion sites  (part of the pump that attaches to my body) $471.70
  • 4 Dexcom continuous glucose monitor sensors $639.99
  • 200 Bayer glucose test strips $204.64

TOTAL: $ 2,373.91

*I do realize that an insulin pump is not required to treat T1D (type 1 diabetes) & is really a ‘luxury’ item but I wanted to show the retail prices of the items that I am currently using. PS the retail price of my insulin pump is $4,000 & $2,400 for the Dexcom device.*

Without my health insurance I WOULD NOT be even able to afford the cost of insulin. $880.76 is more than I pay to keep a roof over my head. My point is to show the reality of things, as they are at this current time. We could all debate our political views as they pertain to healthcare but that’s not what I’m here to do. I think that knowledge is power & that knowledge starts with awareness. You can now say you’re had your lesson for the day. You’re welcome. 😉

Love, health & happiness,

Jessica Lynn

My Blood sugars were 126 before I worked out, 107 when I finished and now they are 467!!! I really want to eat my stuffed green pepper. STUPID BETIES!

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Pump/CGM Updated

It’s been 2 weeks since I started using the Animas Vibe insulin pump system & I must say that I’m loving life with my new pump! I can equate getting adjusted to using a new insulin pump like getting a new cell phone. All of them have similar features & the same basic functions, just in a different format. Going from using a Medtronic device to an Animas device has been much like the time I went from using an Apple smart phone to an Android.

The first few days were annoying as it took extra time for me to do simple tasks, like blousing or viewing my insulin on board (IOB). After a slight learning curve I’m feeling like a pumping pro again. I have begun to recognize the meaning of the sounds produced by this pump without having to read the prompt on the screen. I even changed my infusion site at 3am, in bed, without turning a light on or waking my dog! That’s what I call success!

The continuous glucose monitor (CGM) has given me such peace of mind at night (especially) & while working out. I was concerned at first that I would become obsessed with looking at the CGM & constantly doing corrections to make my blood glucose ‘perfect’. I’m thankful that this has not been the case since that would be a full time job (hassle) seeing as THERE ARE NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT BLOOD SUGARS! I had a day when my readings ran on the higher side for majority of the day & I used the CGM as a tool to help gain steady readings again before bed.  I did that without obsessing or over-correcting!! Can you tell that’s a huge deal for me?

For the first time in about a year, I am actually looking forward to my upcoming endocrine appointment. The whole experience is usually not very pleasant. Ordinarily I stress about the visit weeks in advance & feel so defeated when I have a really high blood sugar during that time. UGH…. I ate those damn pita chips… my A1C is going to be .3% higher now… I’m going to disappoint my doctor & end up crying in the office (again). Must be under 6%…must be under 6%! For whatever reason, this time around I’m feeling different. I excited to show my doctor all of my new equipment & how well I’ve been doing despite the illness I’ve dealt with this winter. So, yes… I’ll be showing off. As the saying goes- if you’ve got, flaunt it!

In honor of my upcoming visit on May 4th, here are some pictures…

Type 1 Diabetes

Love, health, & happiness,

Jessica Lynn

First Impression of Animas Vibe Insulin Pump System

The first 4 hours of my day was spent obsessively looking out my window to check for the FedEx delivery truck. Was that a knock at the door? Is that a truck I hear driving over the gravel driveway? Did I hear a package being set down outside of my front door? After much anticipation I finally received the packages containing my Dexcom G4 transmitter & Animas Vibe insulin pump supplies. I tore into those boxes like a child on Christmas morning! The dog went running from the room as I scattered paper, cardboard & packing insulation all over my living room.

I like to think of myself as an ‘independent diabetic patient’ & true to that title, I wasn’t going to wait for a training session at my Endocrine office. Heck no! I took the time to read the basics & changed the settings in the new Animas pump. I even went so far as to insert the Dexcom sensor (after viewing a Youtube video- of course). All things are scary the first time & today’s experience was no exception. I want to use the new system for awhile before forming an opinion about it but so far so good! Here are some of my first impressions:

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Here’s a shot of all my lovely boxes!

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Really enjoying the smaller Animas inset footprint (left) compared to the Medtronic one (right)!

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Here’s the intimidating Dexcom (CGM) sensor inserting device. This thing made me nervous!

Stay tuned for more thoughts on the Animas Vibe system to come!

Love, health & happiness,

Jessica Lynn

Diabetes & Eating Disorders

Women’s health issues have always been an interest of mine & since my diabetes diagnosis, diabetes education is a close tie for 1st place. Discovering a topic that covers both really gets me excited!

Think about this fact: Women with Type 1 diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop an eating disorder than age-matched women without diabetes. As a type 1 myself this makes total sense to me but I don’t think information is public knowledge. In my opinion, it should be!

Below is information from the American Diabetes Association:

Eating Disorders

Research suggests that eating disorders are probably more common among women with diabetes than women who do not have diabetes.

Bulimia is the most common eating disorder in women with type 1 diabetes. Among women with type 2 diabetes, binge eating is more common.

Because both diabetes and eating disorders involve attention to body states, weight management, and control of food, some people develop a pattern in which they use the disease to justify or camouflage the disorder. Because the complications of diabetes and eating disorders can be serious or even fatal, responsible, healthy behavior is essential.

Eating disorders are illnesses with a biological basis modified and influenced by emotional and cultural factors. The stigma associated with eating disorders has long kept individuals suffering in silence, inhibited funding for crucial research, and created barriers to treatment. Because of insufficient information, the public and professionals fail to recognize the dangerous consequences of eating disorders. While eating disorders are serious, potentially life threatening illnesses, there is help available and recovery is possible.

Types of Eating Disorders

  • Anorexia (or anorexia nervosa) is an eating disorder centered around an obsessive fear of weight gain. Anorexia involves self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Although anorexia is a psychological disorder, the physical consequences are serious and sometimes life-threatening.

  • Bulimia is characterized by recurrent binge eating (the rapid controlled consumption of large amounts of food). Purging may occur with self-induced vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, insulin omission or reduction, fasting, severe diets, or vigorous exercise.

  • Binge Eating Disorder (also known as Compulsive Overeating) is characterized primarily by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive, or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full. While there is no purging, there may be sporadic fasts or repetitive diets and often feelings of shame or self-hatred after a binge.

  • Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) is a range of other disordered eating patterns that doesn’t fit the other specific types. These conditions are still serious, and intervention and attention are necessary. EDNOS, or other types of eating disorders, may include:

    • Eating problems or disordered eating with some, but not all, of the characteristics of an eating disorder; for example, people who severely restrict food intake, but who do not meet the full criteria for anorexia nervosa.

    • Chewing food and spitting it out (without swallowing).

    • Bingeing and purging irregularly, such as at times of increased stress.

Since my teenage years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with food. Between the ages of 16-18 I struggled a lot with my body image. I’ve never been a teeny tiny girl and that fact really became apparent during that time frame. In order to force my body to be ‘thin’ I limited my food intake. I skipped breakfast. I ate a snack size bag of chips or pretzels for lunch & then had a regular meal at dinner time. After some time of doing this I slightly resembled a bobble head doll. But what was important to me at the time was that I wore a 2 piece bathing suit (for the 1st time) the summer I turned 16.

Now in my 20’s I struggle again with my body image but on a much different level & with Type 1 diabetes as a factor. I’m carrying around extra weight due to the amount of insulin that I take. I’m on a carousal of needing to take insulin to live, having a harder time loosing weight put on by insulin, & having to take more insulin due to insulin resistance (from carrying extra weight). There are certainly things that I can do to improve the situation (smarter food choices, more often & to be more active). I would be lying if I didn’t say my diabetes can be discouraging since sometimes it feels like just another hurtle to jump. The only thing I can do is make the best of the cards I’ve been dealt & to make the best decisions for myself & my health. Like anything, it’s a work in progress & sometimes I just have a hard time. I know that diabetes will only get the best of my if I allow it to.

Love, health & happiness,

Jessica Lynn