A voice for living well with Type 1 Diabetes

Whew! Today’s DBlog week topic is about the cost of diabetes – a complex topic that’s challenging. But here goes …

 

Life is full of choices. Some are made for us. Most we make for ourselves. Some are less obvious.

To be clear … Diabetes chose us. We didn’t choose it. (And I wouldn’t wish or choose it for anyone.)

To be less clear … We live in a health system of choice. We can choose to live in a country that provides unfiltered access to diabetes supplies. We can choose to work for a company that provides group insurance. And we can influence those that design our country’s health care systems. But in the end, most of us don’t venture far and live in a health system designed by others.

But after being diagnosed and working within our health system, it’s about our choices.  They include:

  • Accepting our diabetes
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Medical professionals
  • Medications
  • Medical Devices
  • Help from friends and family
  • Helping others
  • Advocating for change and improvements

That’s a lot of choices to make!   And they can be absolutely overwhelming at times. But living with diabetes is better when we deal with them.

These choices involve decisions about time, money and mindshare.   Oddly enough, I’ve found those not requiring money to have the most return. These include acceptance, exercise, and nutrition. Over time, those that look at the glass half full, exercise and eat well receive long-term dividends. (This was confirmed during my Joslin 50-year medal visit.)

For me, the choices involving money are clear cut.   When the benefits of treatment exceed the costs, they produce value and should be provided. And while some may argue that NPH and Regular insulin are available at low prices, they result in horrible complications that include blindness, neuropathy, heart and kidney issues. Medical professionals are trained to correct them with expensive procedures that will choke any health system.

Compare that to the value provided by a closed loop technology solution. For me, it will cost $15,271 annually (after the discounts negotiated by my insurance company). But by having blood sugars in range throughout the day and night – every day and every night – the expensive complications won’t develop. What a benefit for the patient, families, medical providers and an entire health care system!

Now, who’s to pay? That question is answered by our health care systems.   I’ve read many of the blog posts today from those living in Australia, Europe and Canada. I’m comforted that you are living your diabetes in a system that makes your choices easier and more accessible.  For those of us living in the US, we’re in a real fight on who will pay for our treatment. Heck, we’re having a debate on whether we’ll even be included in the health care system.

One of the choices we have is to advocate for change and it’s time for us to do so. There is too much at risk and the rewards too great for all involved.