Six and a half years ago, I started taking a medication that changed my life, drastically, for the better. There is no doubt in my mind that without starting this medication, I would not be writing this today–I would be dead, probably a couple of times over.
If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you will know that I am chronically ill. My health is not always under control, but sometimes I am granted respites from the tortures that are concocted for me by my body.
Before I began taking this medication, I was very ill. My stomach had lost the ability to empty into my intestine, and my intestine fared no better, no longer able to push food through it. I suffered from frequent blockages and bacterial overgrowths. I couldn’t eat much, and what I did eat, I couldn’t absorb. I lost a lot of weight very quickly. I was told that if I lost any more weight, I’d be given a feeding tube.
Despite the severity of my symptoms, it took years for me to be properly diagnosed. Six and a half years ago, I was finally given a diagnosis, and, even better, prescribed a treatment. It was a medication in the form of subcutaneous injection, a delivery method that frightened me and fully realized for me the gravity of my situation.
In all actuality, as scary as needles are for some people (a group of which I have previously counted myself a member), they are, in and of themselves, not terribly dangerous, and not particularly painful. Six and a half years after that first terrifying needle stick, I do not blink an eye at even the most particularly painful poke.
Since then, I have dealt with situations so much more painful than needles: all manner of trials and tribulations dealing with my health insurance and this medication. From figuring out how to dispose of half a dozen cold packs and a giant styrofoam container each month to making sure someone was home for the delivery man, from finding a place to empty my sharps containers to dealing with a supplier shortage, from prior authorizations to a shipment of the wrong needles to a shipment of the medication without needles, I have been through the fucking mill.
I currently await something far scarier than that first needle stick. In three days, I will give myself my last injection. In three days, I run out of medication, and I cannot get more.
Let me explain as best I can. I still don’t quite understand the situation myself. Insurance companies don’t aim to be understandable, or friendly.
A little over a year ago, I started a new program at a new school, and consequently switched health insurance. This is something I only undertook with much trepidation. In fact, health insurance played a key factor in my decision for what graduate program to attend. (It shouldn’t have had to, but it did. Uninsured, the health costs I would accrue over only a year would be more money than I have made in my entire life.) Fortunately, the health insurance at my chosen program covered all of my medications, even the injectable.
When I transferred my prescriptions over, I was filled with apprehension. What if my new pharmacy wouldn’t fill it? What if my new health insurance didn’t pay for it? What if they refused to deliver it to my tiny little post box at my tiny little apartment?
Unbelievably, the process of getting my prescription was completely smooth. It was a dream. They didn’t have to deliver it–I could just pick it up at the pharmacy. My insurance covered it, and paid for it without a fight, or even a prior authorization. The medication even came in prefilled syringes so I no longer had to deal with the not-really-a-big-deal-but-still-a-minor-hassle of drawing the medication up into the syringe and making sure I got every last drop.
I should have known it couldn’t last. I’ve been burned by insurance companies before. Earlier this month, the insurance plan year rolled over, and my insurance decided to use a new formulary (meaning a list of the medications that they’d cover). Under this new formulary, my medication is considered a “specialty medication” and only 50% of the cost is covered, meaning I can no longer afford it. Without warning, one of the key factors to my health and happiness was ripped from me.
Before you ask–there are no alternate treatments, there is no appeals process, there is no one I can talk to, there is no one I can send H2O2 after with a hickory stick. There is nothing I can do.
There is, however, something you can do. I don’t like asking for help–not from my family, my friends, or even my readers.
But this is also an opportunity–I’ve been considering recently, unrelatedly, starting a new blog. My writing has taken a turn for the steamy as of late–some of it erotica, some of it just more graphic than what this blog usually sees. It doesn’t seem appropriate for Lab Coats and Lingerie, but I have nowhere else to put it.
Instead of a new blog, I’m starting a Patreon account. If you want to be a patron, you’ll get access to exclusive writings about my fantasies, my sex life, and other things I am too shy to talk about here. If I can get one hundred and twenty readers to pledge $1/post, and if I post once a month, that will be enough to cover my medication. I may post more often, and you can set a monthly limit for how much you are willing to contribute. If you want to see what sexy thoughts lie within my twisted brain, and you want to earn my undying (literally) gratitude, then consider pledging, and please share the word. If, for whatever reason, you can’t contribute, that’s fine too, of course. Lab Coats and Lingerie will remain here, free to read, and continuing to update. You still have my gratitude for reading this far, and for supporting me with your desire to read my words. It means more to me than you can possibly know.