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Looking Back and Looking Ahead – Good things are happening!


My Journey So far…

My journey so far...The way we humans envision time is a funny thing.

When I start looking back I am often surprised at how much, or how little time has actually passed.

And, if you will pardon a wee bit of bluntness, I’m often surprised by the huge amount of CRAP that I’ve been through!

No wonder my face has some tread marks on it because life done run me over! Several times!

In the colorful vernacular of present times: Life be like — “Boy you done been Bitch Slapped!”

Life is getting Better! Way Better!

2016 is going to be a FABULOUS yearIf things keep going on their current trajectory, then 2016 is going to be an amazing, stupendous, exciting, fabulous year!

It may, indeed turn out to be the best year of my entire life.

Wow!

The truly amazing thing is that my focus has shifted.

I’m no longer focused on the “here and now” locked permanently into “survival mode;” I find that I am only looking “back” to measure how far I’ve come and/or to explain to friends when they ask me “where have you been hiding?”

My focus is firmly pointed toward the future.  A quick rundown of the exciting things that are happening:

  • I’m loosing weight! Yay!
    ..
  • As of this morning I weigh 294.6 — that is a total of 40.4 lbs lost from my highest weight of 335 lbs.
    ..
  • My health is improving on almost a daily basis. My stamina is up. I’m moving more.
    ..
  • I’ve started dancing again!
    • I am back in the studio practicing.
    • I’ve started teaching line dance again — lots of stuff happening there; more on that later in this post.
    • I’ve started an Instructor Training program at a local studio and as soon as I finish that program I’ll be put on staff teaching couples dancing, both Ballroom and Country — THIS IS FRIGGIN’ HUGE!
    • I’ve been put on staff at one dance event already for the coming dance year, 2016, and I’m likely to be put on staff at several others!
    • I’m planning on competing this year in Line Dance!
    • I’m beginning to choreograph line dances and will be competing in Line Dance Choreography this year.

Things are turning around.  But to understand just how wonderful and much of a positive change these and other events and happenings in my life are, I have to go back in time and fill you in on how awful things were… 

Long time readers of my blog will recognize bits and pieces of the story but you’ve probably not seen it laid out so concisely in one spot.

For my new readers, new “dance friends” I just made at Dallas Dance and at Worlds, and for my friends with whom I only recently reconnected…

…in the words of Bette Davis “Fasten your seat belts...”

And, uhmmm… you might want to hit “pause” and go grab a cup of coffee or soda and some snacks.

I never intend for my blog posts to be long. Stop laughing!  It is true!  I really do try to make them short, but somehow…  sigh

Oh, well, it may be long, but it is without a doubt entertaining…and informative… Now git…go grab that beverage…

…back?  Got your soda?  Cool… here we go:

The date my life changed…for the worse

Looking back on one’s life, even on recent events, is much like using a crystal ball to peer into the future: the images are very VERY foggy!

Some events are Read the rest of this entry

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #1: Introduction, Invokana, and ACA


First post in a series…

When I started writing this post two days ago, I had intended it to be just a “quick” post.

SIGH

Well, it is turning into quite the project.  And waaaaaaaaay too long for a single post.  So, here is the “introduction” and the 411 on Invokana.

For those who aren’t hip to all the current jargon…  “411” is what the kid’s these days call “information.”

Questions! I got Questions!

confused kittyBecause of a recent doctor’s visit, I have a bunch of questions.  And I went online and started doing some research, trying to get answers to those questions.

After a little bit, it occurred to me that I should put the information I found into a blog post.  Sort of a one-stop shop with links, where I use my searching skills to save you folks a lot of time.

I know that I’ve had a recent surge of new subscribers who found my blog because of the Diabetes information that I’ve posted.

So, if any of you folks have answers  or comments based on your own experience then, please SHARE them in the comments at the end of this post.

Standard Disclaimer:
I am NOT a doctor.  I am not offering medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor before making any medical decisions.

A bit of background…

How to measure your bodyI was diagnosed with diabetes in June of this year.  I started taking Invokana and Janumet in mid-June and started testing my AM fasting blood sugar levels in late June.

I’m visiting my doctor once a month right now so that my doctor can keep a close watch on things not only because I’m a newly diagnosed diabetic, but because I’m “obese” (workin’ on that!) and I have high blood pressure (workin’ on that too!)

One bonus of going to see my doctor monthly is that it really helps me; just knowing that I’m going to weigh in and will have my blood pressure checked, keeps me on track.  To date, I’ve lost 27-30 lbs since my heaviest weight of 333 lbs.  Yay!

My weight fluctuates a little, of course.  This morning I weighed 305 which gives me a 28lb loss to date.  But the good news is that I’m nearing at a threshold / plateau breaker of 300 lbs.  Unfortunately my body is resisting going past that hurdle.  Grrrrrrrrrr

At last month’s regular visit, about four weeks ago, I had a really BIG blood work panel done when I was at my doctor’s office.  That visit was the 3 month anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis; which is why she did the big blood work panel  — 3 months after I had been taking the two diabetes medications.

Well, last week, at this month’s doctor visit, she gave this multi-page report that were the results from the blood work.

OMG!  It was huge.

Who knew that you could discover so much about a person just from their blood!  A bit overwhelming actually.

Good & Bad News in the Report

Read the rest of this entry

Insurance Lessons Learned


…In the School of Hard Knocks

david vs goliath corpBecause right now I’m doing a lot of insurance related things I thought I’d share some “tips” drawn from my own experiences.

Disclaimer:  EVERYBODY is different. I believe these tips to apply to most people but you need to double check when applying them to your own situation.

None of this stuff is new, there are tons of sites out on the Interwebz that can tell you this stuff…

HOWEVER…  whatcha get here is proof that those “tips” — well these “tips” actually do produce results.  I’ve “been there” and “done that” and have the battle scars to prove it.

So, hopefully my experience can help you minimize the pain of dealing with insurance companies whose primary goal is to make money.

You gotta know the rules

My personal experience has shown me that “Insurance companies are NOT your friends“.  Insurance companies are not there to make you healthy or to get you healthy.

They are there to make money. They are a BUSINESS and the less that you use your insurance, the MORE money they make.

Which seems counter productive from the view point of us folks who NEED the medical services.  The insurance company will say “NO” unless they are required by law or by contract to say “yes”.

Don’t misunderstand me — I am not advocating that you try to stick it to the insurance companies and rack up unneeded medical costs.  That is called “fraud” and will get you in trouble.  But what I am saying is that if you and your doctor think you need it then make the insurance company do EVERYTHING it is obligated to do.

Insurance companies are restricted by laws and by the contract to which you agree when you buy the policy.  But they are counting on your ignorance to not utilize all of your benefits.

And they do NOT make it easy to figure out exactly what you can get.  sigh

To protect yourself, you will need two VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS:

  1. Your Policy Handbook — This is your contract with your insurance company. It has TONS of information about your benefits under the policy and sometimes has forms and/or procedural information.  Often, near the front is a “summary chart” that gives you the basics of your policy including Out of Pocket Maximums, Copay information for doctors and drugs
  2. Your Drug Formulary — This is a list of the drugs which are covered or not covered under your policy and the level at which they are covered.  Prices and coverage vary from plan to plan even within the same company.  (see the above disclaimer)

Often these are available online either as a webpage or as a PDF file.  The Drug Formulary is often available as a searchable interface online.

Save EVERYTHING!!!!

Save a copy of every email sent and received.  EVERYTHING!!!!

Why?

Read the rest of this entry

Janumet, Invokana and Diabetic Discount Drama!


How I got Invokana
and Janumet for “Almost Free”

For those who are regular readers of my blog, I ask for your understanding.  Alas, this post will be DRAMA free!  Eeeeeekkkk!  Aaaaaiiiieeeeee!  Yes, I know, it is hard to believe that I can do a post with no drama… … well with a minimal amount of drama, but tis true.  🙂

So… about getting drugs for “almost free” …

It helps if you have insurance

Actually, it REALLY helps if you have insurance.ACA image 

If you are a low income individual without insurance; or if you are a small business owner who wants to see if you can get a better deal; or if you are just curious, then head on over to Healthcare.gov and get all the information on how to use the insurance exchanges and perhaps qualify for subsidies.

It may, depending on your circumstances be possible for you to sign up even though open enrollment has closed.

Also, it MIGHT also be possible for you to get your health insurance for FREE or for you to receive substantial subsidies from the Federal Government (US Residents only) to help you pay for your health insurance.
..
Speaking from a personal point of view, without the insurance that I get thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, my life would be in mortal danger.

No drama.

No kidding.

100% truth.

If you have insurance, the insurance should pay MOST of the cost of these drugs

Drug Formulary Yes and No

But every insurance policy is different; you need to check to be sure.

Using myself as an example: when I first tried to fill the prescription for these two drugs, I discovered that my copay for each drug, after the insurance was applied, was $100 (100 x 2 =$200 per month).

Eeeeeeeekkkk!! oh, oopps I said no drama.  My bad.  Moving on. 😉

To find out how much your copay is going to be before you go by the pharmacy, ou have to check something called a “drug formulary.

You can usually find the Drug Formulary in a PDF file or as a searchable database on your insurance company’s website.  Or you can call the customer service 800 # for your insurance company and ask for a paper copy be mailed to you.

Check the back of your

Read the rest of this entry

Blood Glucose Meters, Strips, and Sticking it to Yourself Daily


SCOTUS Hangover…  (a brief aside before we talk Diabetes)

After yesterday’s Historic ruling on Gay Marriage (Read my post: Justice Arrives Like a Thunderbolt!) I must confess that I want the celebration to continue.  It feels weird picking up writing on this blog post on Saturday, where I left off on Wed evening.

Yesterday my Facebook feed exploded with joy and rainbows!  I had to be part of the excitement, so went out last night, saw the rally at Oaklawn & Cedar Springs and hung out with my cousin and a friend I had not seen in approximately 20 years.  The joy, the love, the relief that Marriage Equality is now law, and the energy last night being around my fellow LGBT folk, was just amazing.

AND when I started writing this post, back on Wed night, the fate of the Affordable Care & Patient Protection Act was not yet announced.  That was upheld on Thursday.  Yay!  So, in less than 48 hours, two of the most important Supreme Court decisions of my lifetime came back to back — both of which directly impact me.  Wow!

I’m now free to marry who I love, assuming I can find a fella!  LOL

And I’m now fairly certain that I will always have access to quality health care.  Yay!

I’m going to do something weird in this post.  The “comments” from Wed night are going to stay, but where I was expressing doubt, I’m going to put an BEFORE label and add an AFTER comment.

Why? Because the ACA law is important.  It is important to me on a very real, very personal, very day-to-day level.  And by doing it this way, anyone who reads my blog may perhaps realize that this is not a philosophical debate.  It is literally about life and death.  Read on faithful readers, read on…

Uhmmm… by the way, we’ll keep the fact that as a newly diagnosed diabetic I should not have been drinking beer last night between thee and me.  Nobody tell my doctor!  Sssssshhhhhhh!

“You Need a Blood Glucose Meter…”

blood meters…said my doctor.  And I said “What’s a Glucose and why is it in my blood?

Ok, maybe I didn’t actually say that.  But to me Glucose is something that is related to Gatorade, a distant cousin of Fructose and Sucrose and… well, you get the idea.  It is sugar.  It is all sugar.  And “sugar” is a special kind of carbohydrate.

Standard disclaimer…  I’m not a doctor –  You should verify everything I say and always consult with your doctor on medical decisions.

What I’m sharing with you here is info I’ve learned since being diagnosed with Diabetes and that info has gone into Tony’s head and been mixed around with all the other stuff up there and seasoned with a bit of my patented “Ton-NAY Drama” and is being blurted out here for the enjoyment and befuddlement of you, my loyal readers.

All two of you —  two, or is it thousand?  the whole number thing confuses me.  😉 Read the rest of this entry

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