LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Good-by CGMS

“But, Daddy, you’ll die without your pump!”

This from the same four-going-on-forty-year-old child who told one of my wife’s good friends that she should “get rid” of her boy friend. The kid is right. The boy friend is a dirt bag.

Amazing the things kids comprehend.

Time for the big announcement. Yes, it’s official. I can no longer afford to be a diabetic. I LOVE my job, but it doesn’t pay the bills. In fact, our family’s health insurance eats up a full third of my take home pay. And I just got a letter from Blue Cross about a “modest” rate increase effective April first. My modest increase is 17%. My wife’s modest increase is 37%. When I add in the costs of commuting, our utilities, car insurance, etc. all my pay is gone. If we didn’t need to eat we’d be fine.

Thus the conversation of desperate measures. We’ve cashed in our life insurance. We’ve cancelled our house insurance. We’ve lowered our car insurance to the lowest level allowed by law. I’ve cut every corner. Now I’m looking at the pump. Even with my Blue Cross it costs me a pretty penny. I can get Flex Pens for a med co pay, but I have to pay for the first one-grand of pump supplies (my deductible).

I know the control won’t be as good…the only other thing to look at is my Guardian. The huge amount of money I poor into CGMS not only isn’t covered by insurance, but those thousands of dollars don’t even count toward my out-of-pocket expenses on my insurance plan.

I went without CGM for a few weeks last spring when money was short. It was real bad. Scary. But ultimately, this time, I realize that the girl has to go. I once said on these pages that if a gun where put to my head and I had to choose between the pump and the Guardian, I’d probably choose the Guardian. Now that the gun is to my head, I find that I’ve changed my mind. I eat pretty low carb. Lots of times I’m taking half a unit or a unit and a half of insulin. Easy to do with the pump. Not so easy with a pen syringe.

But the straw that really broke the camel’s back was the death of my transmitter. An expensive puppy to replace. I knew about that going in to this whole CGMS thing, but faced with this new capital outlay in this economic climate, well……

So here I sit for the first time in what seems like forever with no knowledge of what my blood sugar is. Am I high? Am I low? Am I going up or down? I have no clue what-so-ever. I’ve been spoiled for all this time to have access to this secret knowledge. To have the oracle whispering in my ear. I comfort my self by knowing I’m now in the same boat as most of the rest of my kind.

Am I scared? Sure I am. Will I feel the lows? Will my hypo awareness come back? Do I worry that the sugar reaper may take me in the night? A little. Thanks to the technology I’ve not had a real low for so long I don’t know if I’ll feel it or not.

Do I feel liberated at the same time? Sure. I’m at the edge of the gorge, about to dive off and I’m hoping the bungee cord doesn’t break. Feels good to have my body free of the invasive sensor, free of the bulky transmitter. To not have to worry about losing telemetry if I stray too far from my mistress. Feels good to let my skin breathe. I can take my underwear off with out accidentally getting it tangled up on the tape. I can roll over in my sleep and not stab my self in the leg.

So one last item before I sign off today: I had good intentions of keeping up with the blog, but it just isn’t happening. I now have three jobs to barely keep my head above water and there are just not enough hours left in the day. I want to thank all you readers for sticking with me, but its time to “retire” again, I think.

My parting thoughts are about health care in this country. America is facing a huge health care crisis. Those of us with chronic diseases can’t afford the standard of care. Our government has abandoned us. Our corporations have abandoned us. Something needs to be done, our Nation has lost its soul. I work in health care (well one of my jobs, anyway) and I’m a user of the system. I’m pretty smart, but this system is so broken I don’t even have a suggestion on how it might be fixed.

CGMS was a wonderful adventure, and I still hope it will be the future of diabetes control and maintenance. But for me, at least, that future is not here. Not now. Not today. It drives me crazy that insurance companies can’t see how much cheaper it is to pay for sensors rather than pay for complications. I asked some one in the insurance biz about this once. The answer was simple. Cold but simple. He told me, by the time you have complications, odds are that you’ll be someone else’s customer.

So there you have it.


Blogger Kerri. said...

Wil -

As excited as I was to see that you had a new post, I'm sorry to read it. I wish you didn't have to break up with Your Girl (and on Valentine's Day, for crying out loud). I'm sorry that the healthcare system has disappointed one of my own again. Are you going to be keeping your pump? This is ridiculous.

The more I think about this, the more infuriated I become. Insurance companies need to pay for prevention - the selfish bastards will eventually realize it costs less to keep diabetics on pumps and CGMS that it does to pay for amputations and kidney diaysis. Healthy participants means cheaper costs down the line - why don't these companies realize that? Prevention is key. Treatment is costly, on so many levels.

Thinking of you. I hope you pop in now and again. And I'm still wishing the IM thing would work.

-- Kerri.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Drea said...

I am sorry you had to stop using this amazing technology. I have come to rely on it - and much like you did had to make changes in my life and budget to keep the CGMS a high priority....I hope I can hang on, but I agree with Kerri - it annoys me that insurance companies will not see the value of this technology, and the long term benefits.

I will try to win the lottery to keep us all on CGMS!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Chrissie in Belgium said...

So sorry you must give up the CGMS! I have been reading your blog for ages, way before I started mine. I will continue reading it whenever you have the time to write - in between the three jobs!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Val said...

Wil -

Like Kerri, I am sorry to read your post. You'd started posting about the girl before I started using CGMS, and I always looked forward to reading your posts as an indicator of where I might be heading.

This whole insurance thing sucks.

And I think your friend is right about the insurance companies reasoning. Which sucks even more.

Take care. I'll be thinking of you.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, no, no! This just isn't right. Wil, please let us know if there's something we could do to help. Have you contacted MiniMed with your plight? Maybe someone over there would be willing to spot you. After all, you're their No.1 PR guy...

6:18 PM  
Blogger George said...

Oh man Wil this sucks. I was like Kerri and got really excited to see that you posted. I am so bummed for you and all D-folk for that matter.

You make a very good point. This countries health care system sucks.

I agree with Amy though, You have done a lot for CGMS. I looked to your posts all the time for updates on your Girl.

Damn I am pissed.

I hope see you around the OC and maybe even in NM. I may be resident soon.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wil - you have done so much to teach me and get me on the path to CGMS. Your blog has been invaluable and inspirational. I believe that you will find a way to do this, I am praying that God will bless you and you will not have to lose the girl. I am e-mailing minimed today and asking them to support you with all of the supplies and batteries and "stuff" that you could ever need for as long as you need it. For all of you out there, please do the same. I am praying for you and I can't wait to read your next post about minimed coming to your rescue.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey Wil,

I had been thinking about you and wondering how things were going.

We are often put in tough situations due to financial responsibilities. It is a shitty place to be.

Maybe things will change for the better after a while, and you can re-evaluate where you are and what you need. In my situation, that can change as time passes.

The blog will always be here if something draws you to write - otherwise you can always hijack a comment somewhere - we wouldn't mind.

Take care buddy, and let me know if you ever need anything that I can help with.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I hope that minimed will read this and realize how much you need the guardian and give it to you for no cost or real dirt cheap. thats bullshit, see crap like this is what pisses me off to no end.


I wish you well and if you need me you know how to reach me!!


8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I had found this blog sooner. The sad part is now that I have found it, you are leaving. As a way out of control diabetic, I need someone like you. I hope that your financial situation changes so that you can continue the use of the CGMS and time will free up for you to use this blog. Many prayers headed your way


2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insurance rate is a factor used to determine the amount, called the premium, to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage. Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice.

11:06 PM  

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