Sunday, September 4, 2016

Medical update: the results are in


Just as my "you are now out of deductible so everything is now free" insurance plan was ending, I had 12 blood tests done at the local hospital to try to confirm just what I am dealing with.  Yup, 12 vials of blood, the most I have ever done at once. Late last Winter, acute hip pain sent me back to the hip orthopedist. Xrays taken, an MRI taken and DX was tendonitis. I walked with a cane as the left hip was a real issue. 2 rounds of cortizone shots, eventually I improved.

Fast forward and now both hips hurt as well as both knees, both ankles. The usual morning stiffness that I was able to walk off once up, within 30 minutes, is on/off all day.

Saw my internist in June: I am tired, requiring naps almost daily. I felt lousy. As I suspected, my vitamin D levels dropped. Surprise: I was anemic. So taking more vit d, and starting iron pills. Meanwhile I saw my gyno for my annual, and mentioned the ovarian cyst that resolved on it's own (MRI of my hips descovered the ovarian cyst)and questioned if that is why I was anemic. Nope, shouldn't be. Turns out, anemia is a symptom of what I now have.

I returned to the aforementioned orthopedist as not only going up but also going down stairs is an issue. After sitting for say 10 minutes, I hobble as I attempt to get up. Getting in and out of a car is an issue, I literally have to use my left hand to raise my left leg (remember, the left hip has chronically been an issue for years) to enter/exit. Orthopedist will no longer help me, this is systemic, please return to your rhumatologist, which I have done twice now.

Blood results are in: vitamin  D is better, but still low so I am increasing (again) my dosage. Anemia is better so drop to every other day for the iron pills. Possible diseases were ruled out, initial DX confirmed: psoriatic arthritis in addition to the osteoarthritis I already have.

The timeline for this first psoriatic flare up fits: my former, horrible boss started amping the stress levels up come December, and was relentless. Since mid May, I have been free of that toxic environment, dealing with the aftereffects. Many are commenting that they haven't seen me so happy and relaxed in years (since boss lady came on board). I was proactive, I protected myself, and made informed decisions to move on, start new chapters in my life, only for the better. I have the gifts of time, opportunity, happiness and hopefully soon, better health.

Rhumatologist wants to put me on 2 additional RX: first needed clearance from the nephrologist and I subsequently spoke with the CVS pharmacist regarding how to take this new RX and lesson it's possible impact on a RX I take for my kidneys. This will lesson the stiffness that I have. The second RX is "milder" than the biologiscs that the insurance company wants me to try (because they are cheaper) before taking the RX that my Rhumatologist wants me to be on. He strongly feels that I do not yet need these "big guns." This RX was denied by my beloved @@ insurance company. Really irks me to no end that they make the determination and not me and my MD as to which drug I should be on. With lab results in hand, his office is appealing to my insurance company. Cost: $2700/month. Luckily, the drug companies offer a copay card of up to $11,000/year off. Simply crazy!


Rachel said...

I hate that in todays day and age insurance companies get to make final decision. Dealt with that last month. They originally denied my hystetectomy, however my doctor appealed and they finally okayed it to be done quickly. Stupid that insurance has that power.

slugmama said...

My new doc put me on a new med that the U&C price is $800 per month. ouch. Luckily the manufacturer will only charge $25 mo. for the first two years. "If" we still have the current insurance after that this drug will cost me $50 OOP each month once the High Deductible is met each year.
If I had to pay U&C w/out rx insurance I'd be shelling out over $2K per month just on meds.

Good luck with getting your scripts sorted out.

Kathy said...

Sorry that you haven't been feeling well. Do hope that with less stress and new medicine, you will feel better.
Healthcare costs have been crazy. I thought my prescription for migraine meds at $300/month for 6 pills was bad, I can't imagine having to pay thousands per month. Hope the appeal works for you!

CTMOM said...

Thanks for the positive vibes. The kicker is that I have a documented, high pain level so when something hurts . . it's not good. I held out 2 weeks before returning to the hip/knee orthopedist. Clearly something bigger was now in the picture. I'm on top of this, dealing with it as best and as thoroughly as I can. And no, I am NOT happy with my insurance company, and we supposedly have "good" insurance.

meme said...

I so understand your arthritis pain. I also have to "lift my legs" in the car after grocery shopping. Yesterday my husband and I went to Walmart to pick up some needed things. Getting into the car was awful - and then trying to lift arthritic legs with arthritic hands....this is why I don't go shopping very much anymore.

Today I am re-organizing and deep cleaning my downstairs, working for an hour, then taking a half hour break to put my legs up and rest ALL my joints.

I so hope your meds work well for you.

Belinda said...

I agree with you when Insurance companies think they can make decisions for you and not you and your dr. Ugh!!

I am happy to hear that you are happier and more relaxed than you have been. Happy that you are out of that toxic environment. As always, I wish you the best. :)

Marcia in rural WNY said...

Same problem here with insurance wanting to make decisions. Had 4th outbreak of gout about 4 days after discussing with doctor and deciding NOT to go on the maintenance medication for now. Called him back and said "I've changed my mind about the med." Went to pick up the med and wasn't the one he told me about. Ended up with motrin for the pain and will start the maintenance med when the outbreak resolves. This is the second time in about a year when I wasn't able to get what was ordered.
Very irritating.
Hope you are feeling better soon.

Linda said...

My pain is continual. Walking is harder each day. My doctor refuses to give me strong meds since he could not control my pain after surgery. The pain med he gave me was so weak, I just quit taking it because it did nothing for pain. The result was not needing pain meds after hysterectomy because I have built up my pain tolerance. My insurance denied one med, but doctor did a Prior Authorization to get it filled.

Happily, the EpiPen was not a problem! It cost me a very low copay.

When I get off the electric cart, I have to drag my foot off the electric cart. Getting to my feet is epic.

thyme2save said...

Carol, I somewhat understand your toxic working environment. When I chose to leave teaching, I had no choice but to be bedfast for 4 months. My teaching career broke my health. Teaching is stress beyond belief. Parents should spend a week in classroom(s) to observe,