Tag: insulin

Perfection Does Not Exist In a Life With Diabetes

Perfection Does Not Exist In a Life With Diabetes –

Perfection Does Not Exist In a Life With Diabetes –

By: Christina Blackmon

15 years ago my life changed forever when I was told I had Type 1 diabetes.

I didn’t even know what diabetes was. I think I thought it meant you can’t eat sugar anymore. Little did I know that when I turned 20 years old my pancreas unexplainably stopped working properly and that would mean that my entire life would now depend on a hormone called insulin being injected into my body for the rest of my life.

Without those insulin injections I would die.

Little did I know that for the rest of my life I would be completely dependent upon this hormone. I also had no idea that my days thereafter would consist of being measured 8-10 times per day by a number. A number I get from pricking myself. Knowing that important number so that I can mathematically calculate how much insulin to inject to maintain good blood glucose range based on a formula that changes hourly without notice.

I also had no idea how unpredictable and unreliable my body would be and that there would be factors outside my control that dictated what my blood glucose levels would be despite eating and calculating “correctly”.

That my blood glucose would go up and down like a roller coaster ride and effect every fiber of my being. That sometimes I would want to crawl out of my own skin to escape the pain I was enduring. That I would go from being completely calm and rational to completely angry and irritable. That my pain would be invisible to others because it’s all happening internally without notice to anyone else.

There is no exact science or prescription to manage diabetes and everyday is a guessing game. Knowledge became my power and I studied and researched everything I could about this unforgivable disease. I found that it’s high maintenance and takes no breaks or vacations.

But I also found some tools that would help me. Tools like an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor that could help me manage every second, every minute, every hour of every day for the rest of my life.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. I will always be dependent upon insulin.

Even with my tools – just like every piece of technology they fail me. But despite this disease I have 2 beautiful healthy kids and one on the way and no diabetic complications. Some days I feel so strong like I can do anything then others I lack the motivation to keep going.

But I never give up. I keep fighting and will keep fighting till there’s no fight left in me.

I don’t ever see any other option. I’m very thankful for the tools I have to manage this disease with everything I have and love when I can encourage or inspire other diabetics to do the same.

People ask me all the time is your diabetes controlled and I just want to laugh…what does that even mean??!! I just always say it’s not perfect and will never be. I don’t try to maintain perfection because diabetes means having bad days. I try to have more good than bad days and not focus on perfection.

Perfection does not exist in a life with diabetes.



 

The cost of diabetes

Diabetes Blog Week: How The Cost Of Diabetes Impacts Care

How The Cost Of Diabetes Impacts Care

Diabetes Blog Week (Day 2): Insulin and other diabetes medications and supplies can be costly.  Here in the US, insurance status and age (as in Medicare eligibility) can impact both the cost and coverage.  So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care. Do you have advice to share? For those outside the US, is cost a concern? Are there other factors such as accessibility or education that cause barriers to your diabetes care?

This is a topic that I have personally dealt with first hand. The cost of diabetes DOES impact our care.

When I was 19 years old-

I was no longer living with my parents. I was dropped from insurance and was pretty thrown to the wolves (as you would say). I worked a minimum wage job and wasn’t provided benefits. The money I did make went to rent, food, and the insulin that I could afford.

The status quo is that “diabetes is manageable”. I would agree, but only when you have the supplies needed to manage.

 

I only got by—but I wasn’t thriving. I used short acting insulin as my 24/hr insulin by just syringe (which is heavily risky). I then had to re-use syringes until it became painful to use them. I couldn’t afford test strips and would maybe check my blood sugar once or twice a day. Seeing a doctor was completely out of the question at the time.

I applied for Medicaid and Medicare due to income and disability. But was later denied because I didn’t fit into the criteria. I was devastated and felt helpless. I eventually found the patient assistance programs through the pharmaceutical companies that provided the insulin that I use.

Years later-

I do have insurance and I do have the cool gadgets and necessities. I can’t even begin to tell you how much having access to healthcare coverage means to me. Having what I need in order to live a full functioning life.

I’m still trying to catch up in life from the years that I was suffering. I believe it does take a toll on an individual or family financially/emotionally/ and it affects the ability to prepare for the future.

With diabetes it’s all about trying to survive from one day to the next—and cost should not be an issue.

Would You Kill Me For a Tax Cut?

Would You Kill Me For a Tax Cut?

By: Ashlyn Mills

Blog: A Trail Of Test Strips

Before I get into the meat of this issue, I want you to imagine something…

You are 19 years old and a sophomore in college with your whole life ahead of you. Suddenly, you begin feeling ill. You are thirsty all of the time, you feel lethargic and can barely make it through 5 hours of classes without a nap in your car, something is not right and you know it. You finally go to the doctor after you’ve lost 10 pounds and the doctor tells you that you have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

The doctor tells you that T1D is an autoimmune condition that has no cure and teaches you what you must do to keep yourself alive. After learning about carb counting, insulin injections, blood sugar testing, and life threatening high and low blood sugar, you’re sent to the pharmacy to pick up your life saving tools.

For the next 3 months supply, you are given 900 blood glucose test strips, 900 lancets, a blood glucose meter, 6 insulin pens, 50 ketone test strips, and 540 needles to use for insulin injections. All of these supplies would have been upwards of $5,000 without good insurance coverage and even with insurance, your first trip to the pharmacy cost you $400.

Now that I’ve painted a picture for you, let me put a face to this story. This is me, Ashlyn, and this is what a pre-existing condition looks like. The story above is my story. 

As you probably know, yesterday the House of Representatives made the decision to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care. Obama Care has been a major topic of debate for Americans over recent years. With the ACA, many American’s saw their insurance premiums skyrocket, which made the Affordable Care Act not so affordable.

With the ACA did come some positives such as protection for those with pre-existing conditions and the ability for an adult under the age of 27 to stay on their parents’ health insurance. At the beginning of his campaign, President Trump began pushing the issue of the ACA and saying that should he be elected, it would be one of the first things on his agenda. President Trump also insured that with this repeal, he would protect those with pre-existing conditions. Yesterday, however, the House voted against protecting those with pre-existing conditions.

If you aren’t someone with a pre-existing condition or don’t have a child with one, you probably don’t understand how serious this is. Let me tell you what this could do to people like me.
Insurance companies will be able to decide if they want to cover me or not. I will have to search high and low for an insurance company who will cover me and when I finally find one, they will charge me 3x what they charge the average patient because they know I will be a guaranteed expense.

I will then be paying $3000+ per month just for insurance premiums, which will make many of my daily meds and technologies unaffordable. I may have to limit how many test strips I can afford, which will then limit how many times per day I can test my blood sugar. The less I am able to test my blood sugar, the greater my risk for life threatening high and low blood sugars and long-term complications due to poorly managed diabetes. Meanwhile, some celebrate because they got a tax cut. But those who celebrate don’t know that their tax cut could kill me or the other millions of American’s like me living with a pre-existing condition.

Would YOU kill ME for a tax-cut?

 It all boils down to this, republican or democrat, it is important for you to understand how much this decision could impact me if the senate votes yes in the next few weeks. PLEASE, do your research and contact your senator to let them know that this is NOT okay. I am actually registered republican, but that does not mean I have to stand for this and neither do you. While I believe some MAJOR changes need to be made with our current healthcare system (the ACA) in the US, I do not believe that changes need to be made at the expense of people who have no control of the cards they were dealt. Life with diseases like T1D is hard enough as it is, please don’t make it any harder on us.

TAX CUT

Please contact your senator, my life depends on it.

-Ashlyn 

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What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It's Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It’s Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

What Diabetes Really Is: (Spoiler) It’s Not a Unicorn Frappuccino

Diabetes…

How do I describe diabetes?

Or what is it like to live with it?

When you look on the internet it’s defined as mostly cookies, cake, BigMac’s, and a Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks. A Unicorn Frappuccino is loaded with sugar, but it WILL NOT cause the onset of Type 1 Diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes– where the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. And Type 2 Diabetes– where the body doesn’t use insulin properly and can sometimes be controlled with diet and exercise. But genetics can also play into Type 2, where it had nothing to do with one’s lifestyle. But I digress…

It’s funny right?

Sometimes I question whether I’m too sensitive about it. Whether it’s not that big of a deal. Right?! You have to laugh to get through life.

I get it. The memes are humorous to those who don’t know anything about it. Ignorance is bliss. But is the disease humorous? Is it really? I mean I wish I could laugh it off.

But I face this monster everyday. And it is a monster. It’s not funny. It’s not a joke.

When I was diagnosed

My mom didn’t know the signs of diabetes. No one in my family had diabetes. I had symptoms similar to the flu: fatigue, thirst, weight loss. Little did I know that my pancreas stopped producing insulin. I was slowly dying and by the grace of god I managed to get diagnosed just in time. I now needed insulin injected into my body for the rest of my life in order to sustain life. It’s easily misdiagnosed and many die because so many people including doctors are misinformed about this disease.

I was 12 years old! No, nothing I ate caused this. My mom cried and blamed herself thinking she caused this. The stigma is that diabetes is self induced. That if you live a healthy, active lifestyle you’ll never get diabetes. THAT’S FALSE. I was diagnosed at 12 with type 1 diabetes and my life changed forever. It wasn’t funny then and it’s not funny now.

I grew up hiding my diabetes.

Kids at school would make fun of me. I didn’t want to be different. “Oh did you get diabetes from eating too much sugar?” “I heard if you eat a balanced diet you can cure it.” I’ve pretty much heard everything you can think of. People have laughed in my face about my own disease. But nobody knows what happens behind closed doors. They think it’s a “food” disease. Well that insulin I need to stay alive, also can potentially kill me. It’s a 24/hr job to stay alive.

Unless you personally experience diabetes and it’s many affects you just won’t get it. I understand that. There’s been many times where I’ve gone unconscious from a low blood sugar, I’ve had a seizure, I’ve been hunched over in pain from DKA (where my body wasn’t receiving enough insulin). I would do anything to cure this disease. To get rid of this monster. To not have this disease inflicted on anyone, not have the fear of losing limbs or damaging organs, and not have the fear of suddenly dying.

This all seems harsh and dramatic.

But unfortunately it is.

Yes, life is tough. But so is diabetes.

I don’t let this disease define me.

But I sure won’t let others define my disease as something it’s not.


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Diabetes Won't Stop Me From Living

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

By: Nickie Eckes

I have type one diabetes. I was diagnosed back in February of 1990, at 5 years old, because my body decided it wanted to wage war upon itself and destroy the beta cells in my pancreas.

I remember going to the hospital, and I remember being terrified and having no idea why all these doctors were “torturing” me. I just wanted to go home with my mom, dad, and brother. They said my blood sugar was over 1000 and I had to stay.

The weeks that followed in the hospital were not fun. I had gotten used to getting up and playing and running on stop. Now I was being told I had to live on a strict schedule, only able to eat a certain amount of food at certain times, along with a shot of insulin to ensure that my blood glucose levels were maintained.

They also informed my parents of a place called Camp Sioux, a camp for kids living with diabetes to go and have a “regular” camp experience, but also learn about diabetes. I loved going and it made me feel not alone because everyone was diabetic, and I made some lifelong friends. The type that understands me when I just need “a minute” or “a snack” and understand all those diabetic jokes that make my stomach hurt from laughter.

I’ve dealt with the highs and the lows of this disease now for over 27 years. I’ve handled people telling me if only I would take better care of myself, I wouldn’t be this sick. I did nothing wrong to get this illness, it’s an autoimmune condition. My body can’t make the hormone insulin, which is what is needed for the simple sugars you get from food to enter your cells for energy.

I have to calculate everything I do in a day, from what I eat, to how much I’m going to be moving, along with stress levels and illness (such as common cold or the flu) just to ensure that my blood glucose level stays within a good range and I don’t pass out due to a low blood sugar, or go so high that I get diabetic ketoacidosis (meaning your body is producing a thing called ketones and those can make you very sick). And what works one day may not work the same the next day.

I had the years of rebellion and not caring what my numbers were. I did the whole I’m gonna die young anyway so who cares. And then I decided, I wasn’t going to let this disease keep me down. My friend calls diabetes livebetes because he says “it won’t stop me from living!”

 

Research has made many amazing developments since then, so much now that newly diagnosed people are being told that not much in their lives has to change; they just need to know where their numbers are and how much insulin flow take for those different numbers. We can even program those numbers into a pump and have it do the dosing for us (although not completely without thought from us).

We now have faster acting insulins that instead of having to wait 30 minutes after taking them to even start eating, we now only have to wait 5 minutes. We have what is called a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system (or CGM for short) that can tell us our levels every five minutes, which helps a lot given it can predict a high or a low before they occur, and we can correct the issue before it becomes an issue.

In fact this year, with any luck, I will get to obtain the new diabetes pump, with the first ever closed loop system on it! Both my doctor (who is also diabetic) and I are rather excited for this and are not so patiently waiting. There’s still always planning and calculating everything. It helps, but it’s not a cure. All of these advancements sound amazing and are fantastic, but it’s still a heavy load to carry.

Diabetes Won’t Stop Me From Living

I will keep fighting. I am strong. I hope to one day be able to say “I used to have diabetes.” And because of all this, I remind myself while I may have diabetes, it does NOT have me.


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WHAT A HIGH BLOOD SUGAR FEELS LIKE

What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like

What a High Blood Sugar Feels Like

The high blood sugars are what gets me. A high blood sugar is a blood glucose above 140 mg/dL. For me, the symptoms I experience with severe hyperglycemia don’t emerge until well over 250-300 mg/dL.  The lows, while urgent and intensely serious are felt differently. I don’t like to compare the two evils but the highs can be just as debilitating and it leaves me incapacitated.

It’s so hard to describe this pain that can’t be seen. I look fine on the outside but inside my body is fighting for energy and I’m suffering from the adverse effects.

In these moments all I want to do is cry but I have no tears. I can’t quench my thirst no matter how much water I drink. My whole body aches and I’m staring at the clock waiting for the insulin I’ve given myself to be absorbed; giving my body the relief and nourishment that I desperately need.

When my blood sugar is high I despise diabetes the most. When it’s high the minutes and possibly hours it takes for my blood sugar to come down is agonizing. I sit uncomfortably, restless, back and forth to the bathroom checking for ketones and blaming myself. When I know that with diabetes anything is possible. It’s absolutely torturous for anyone including myself to have to go through this.

My heads pounding, I’m irritable and utterly exhausted. I feel like I’m being crushed by tons of weight. I can’t move. I can’t think. I can’t function properly. I feel useless. These are the moments that I beg and plead to just get back to where I was before the high blood sugar. I become grateful for the bad days that weren’t as bad as this.

The high blood sugar could have been caused by a pump malfunction, hormones, stress, illness, wrong dosage, or any number of different things. The fact that things I can’t control can cause this is startling and frustrating. All I can do is try my hardest and hope for the best.

Once my blood sugar does start to lower I feel like I’m taking in a breath of fresh air. There really isn’t a better feeling than knowing I’m going to be okay. That these symptoms are going to diminish and I’ll start to feel myself again. My mood starts to shift and the brain fog slowly goes away. The exhaustion lingers for the rest of the day, but thankfully I’m much better.

I feel conquering despite my defeats because even at my weakest points I still fight these unfathomable challenges. These battles are never seen nor felt by anyone besides myself and ALL who battle diabetes. One that I’ll have to fight more than once.


DKA is a serious life-threatening medical condition caused by high glucose levels. This blog content is not medical advice. If you have questions concerning your health please seek attention from a medical professional. 


 

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Pregnancy Week 15 with Type 1 Diabetes - Perfectionism vs. Sanity

Pregnancy Week 15 with Type 1 Diabetes – Perfectionism vs. Sanity

Pregnancy Week 15 with Type 1 Diabetes- Perfectionism vs. Sanity

By: Grace Wall

Follow: Type 1 Pace Blog

There have been studies that show girls and women with type 1 diabetes have a stronger chance of developing an eating disorder. Type 1 diabetics are constantly counting and measuring food, and measuring their level of success at managing diabetes (which is impossible to get right all the time) multiple times a day through a number on their blood glucose meter. Constant cognizance of being evaluated and judged on how vigilant we are with food, with exercise and with diabetes management is not always best.

I think it was around the time I was diagnosed that I developed perfectionist tendencies and the need to control any situation. I was ten years-old and diabetes honestly didn’t seem like a big deal to me. Adults were always telling me new things I had to do: you need to brush your teeth, you need to set the table, you need to go to summer running camp, you need to come home when the streetlights come on, and now you need to check your blood sugars and take insulin through a syringe. It didn’t phase me.

That is, until I saw when my blood sugars were out of range, worry would appear on my parents faces. When my blood sugars were good, they would proudly pat me on the back. I saw what grief I caused them when my blood sugars were out of range and I made it my goal to get as close to range as I could.

But how could I? I didn’t have the technology we have now. It took my meter 45 seconds to register a blood sugar! I began to feel lots of shame when my parents would look at my sugar log and ask about different patterns. They were only concerned and I took it as something I had done wrong. But I did nothing wrong. I did not cause my diabetes. As an adult, nineteen years later, that sentence feels cathartic to type.

Fast forward to present day. I am in my 15th week of pregnancy with my first child and I have never tried so hard to manage my diabetes. In the beginning every time my blood sugar would go over 140 I would feel guilty, but I have learned to use the reading as a tool that indicates I need to adjust my insulin needs for tomorrow. I have found it helpful to take a walk when my blood sugar is high and have already given insulin to correct it. It speeds up the absorption rate, and my dog doesn’t mind all the extra walks he’s getting!

I did have one scary day last week where I was 240 for 4 hours and I could not figure out why. The day before I had spoke with my High Risk OB/GYN about some high blood sugars which he believed just meant the placenta was doing it’s job and (here’s the fun part) starting to work against me by creating insulin resistance.

But this particular high event was not coming down with insulin or walking. I was freaking out to say the least and feeling more guilty I was hurting the baby with each passing minute. Of course it was a busy work day too so that did not help. I had a pounding headache, had to go to the bathroom close to every 5 minutes and felt nauseous.

Finally I realized my insulin pump infusion site had disconnected. Not fallen out, just unhooked the quarter of a turn it took for me to get none of the insulin I had been pumping the last few hours. I immediately reconnected and bolused for 7 units. I felt more guilty for being so stupid. In my 17 years of using an insulin pump, I hadn’t had this happen once. I have had my site completely rip out, but this was inexcusable in my perfectionist book.

As I began to reframe the situation, my guilt and anxiety tapered. I rarely wear my site on my stomach, which is where it was at the time, and as my stomach has gotten larger with a growing baby the last few weeks, it has created a variable I have not encountered before. I am getting used to my new body and I may have accidentally bumped my site.

I have also been wearing maternity pants and the waistband on those are great for growing bellies, bad for holding up pumps. Going to the bathroom throughout the day creates multiple opportunities while pulling down and pulling up those pants, where I could have knocked something loose.

The guilt of that high day registered through the roof for me. I remember feeling so defeated. However, I also recognize that I am only human and I am doing my absolute best for this baby. I think it’s truly impossible for me to try any harder (I have given up chips and salsa, pizza, diet Coke and beer for God’s sake!), and that is why I am letting it go. My husband calls it “clearing the mechanism” and it’s what we do when we come home and need to just forget about what happened at work that day. I am “clearing the mechanism” on this hyperglycemic episode and starting fresh tomorrow.

My team of High Risk OB/GYN’s have told me that I don’t need to see my regular OB/GYN any more. I ignored that and have kept seeing her. I like her – A LOT. She helped me through my first and second miscarriages and always has great things to say. She is a realist, which I appreciate.

On my last visit with her she told me I’m doing a great job with the pregnancy, the diabetes, running while pregnant, and everything and told me I need to stress less and start enjoying the pregnancy, because it’s going to be over before I know it.

I will continue to be diligent with my blood sugars but she’s right, I plan to start enjoying the pregnancy more. I plan to be value my sanity over my guilt and stop being so hard on myself. I’ve lasted almost 19 years with diabetes and if this baby is anything like it’s parents, it’s a fighter and it will be healthy and happy.


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To every warrior battling diabetes

To Every Warrior Battling Diabetes

Hey warrior —

I just want to say you’re doing amazing! Even on the days you feel weak. The days you feel tired. The days you feel you’ve had enough. Especially on those days because that’s when you’re fighting your hardest. Your vulnerability and even your weaknesses make you strong. Make you powerful, resilient, unstoppable.

You’ve made it thus far. I mean look how far you’ve come! Whether you’ve been diagnosed for a day—a week—1 year—5 years—20 years, you’re beating all the odds against you heroically. You continue to hold the weight of the world on your shoulders day in and day out with such profound grace and humility.

Don’t let those crazy numbers that show on the blood sugar meter discourage you from your success. I’m sure you might see at least one “high” or “low” number today. If so, keep going. If not, keep going. Either way, you’re winning because you don’t let diabetes stop you from living. 

Those needles that create those scars? Well, they tell a story. A story about how you wake up everyday to fight the same demons that left you so tired from the night before. You should never be ashamed because it just means that you are stronger than diabetes—and you have the proof to show for it.

Next time you go to take your insulin—just know you’re not alone. Try to not to let the fear overwhelm you and dwindle your spirit. This is an incredibly difficult and daunting challenge. Where you don’t always know what’s ahead. But you were given the strength to face this challenge. Just take a moment and marvel at what an amazing gift it is to just be alive. To be all that you can be. Go show the world how you live beyond this disease because it doesn’t define you.

Ask yourself today ‘how you can use this disability to empower others?’ ‘How can you turn a negative into a positive?’ Be bold enough to raise your voice. Speak for what matters, speak for others who don’t have a voice. Be the light in someone’s darkness. Use this as a higher calling for that there is a purpose in your struggle and all that you go through. Take the reins—because today you got this!

You are amazing.

You are heroic.

You are a warrior.

diabetic warrior

diabetic warrior

Drug Companies Are Profiting Huge As Diabetics Struggle To Afford Their Life

Drug Companies Are Profiting Huge As Diabetics Struggle To Afford Their Life

 

It’s of no surprise that many of Americans are struggling to afford their prescription drugs as prices continue to rise. But yet, little attention has been brought to the diabetes community. Where millions are dependent on a drug (hormone) that is needed everyday to stay alive.

Diabetes History

Diabetes has been around a very long time. There was a prescription for frequent urination, its most common symptom, on an Egyptian papyrus dating back to 1500 B.C.

Drug Companies Are Profiting Huge As Diabetics Struggle To Afford Their Life

But it wasn’t until 1921 when a Canadian doctor named Dr. Frederick G. Banting and a medical student, Charles H. Best discovered insulin. Before insulin, the only treatment for Type 1 Diabetes was a starvation diet that inevitably led to death.

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where your pancreas shuts down and no longer produces insulin. Type 2 Diabetes is where your body is resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough.

In 1923, Dr. Frederick G. Banting sold the patent to the University of Toronto for $3 in hopes to ensure that no company could have a monopoly over this life-sustaining medication and everyone could have access to it. The discovery has transformed diabetes from a death sentence into a manageable disease.

Drug Companies Are Profiting Huge As Diabetics Struggle To Afford Their Life

Dr. Banting believed insulin was a gift to humanity.

But once the University gave pharmaceutical companies the right to manufacture the drug royalty-free, diabetes quickly became their most profitable cash cow.

Today

Insulin is a billion-dollar industry with zero low-priced generic versions on the market. While most name-brand drugs have generic versions that cost less than half the price, insulin is different.

Drug company officials defend their actions, saying they must bring in enough money for research and development. But critics say companies are hiding behind the innovation argument and are really just angling for bigger profits as the demand continues to rise for the drugs they sell.

There has been debate whether these newer versions are worth the cost. The replacing insulin derived from animals with a genetically engineered human form has been beneficial. But beyond that, the cost is still high for the older and newer insulins on the market, and insurance companies decide what they will cover regardless.

When accused of price hikes, blame also gets placed on the middlemen. The middlemen happen to be the wholesalers, pharmacies, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBM’s are blamed for taking a piece of the pie. The rebate system is based primarily on the percentage of the drug’s list price. So as drug prices continue to rise, the rebates do as well. Meaning everyone benefits in the end, as long as everyone gets their share.

Insulin Prices Are Continuing To Rise

The price of insulin that has continued to rise over the years has led many into debt, bankruptcy, and even to the point of rationing insulin (which can cause complications or death). Millions of diabetics and their family members are struggling more than ever to afford not only their insulin but food and other basic necessities.

While there are patient assistance programs available, not everyone qualifies. One must apply and meet specific requirements. If accepted, a PAP may not always cover the insulin that a patient is recommended to use. Insulin isn’t a ‘one shoe fits all’ type of medication.

The United States has the highest cost of drugs compared to other countries.

Drug Companies Are Profiting Huge As Diabetics Struggle To Afford Their Life

Insulin is monopolized by the 3 big pharmaceutical companies — Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk — and the price for the insulin products made by those manufacturers has risen astronomically over the last decade. Humalog, a form of insulin that carried a sticker price of $21 a vial in 1996, today costs $255. A 34-year-old form of insulin, Humulin, priced at $17 a vial in 1997 now costs $138 a vial. Many diabetics also may need more than one vial of insulin a month.

The American Diabetes Association’s board of directors is calling on Congress to hold hearings to investigate dramatic increases in insulin prices and to take action to ensure that people have affordable access to the essential drug.

The Diabetes Community Is Speaking Out

Many in the diabetes community (whether diabetics or parents) are taking to social media in the form of hashtags and elongated posts to express their frustration and desperation for change. The desire of millions is to find a cure for diabetes. But many have come to grips with the assumption that the cure will never come because the pharmaceutical companies won’t allow it. Our lives are in the hands of pharmaceutical greed and we need the price gouging of life-sustaining medication to end.

Drug Companies Are Profiting Huge As Diabetics Struggle To Afford Their LifeDrug Companies Are Profiting Huge As Diabetics Struggle To Afford Their LifeDrug Companies Are Profiting Huge As Diabetics Struggle To Afford Their Life

Bernie Sanders has recently brought attention to the Justice Department to investigate price increases and possible price collusion. But the insulin drug companies later rejected accusations.

President Donald Trump has also shared his dismay with the drug companies on the campaign trail and in recent press conferences. His interest is in finding solutions to fix the broken prescription drug market.

“They are getting away with murder”

The nation faces a diabetes epidemic

Nearly 6 million Americans — young and old depend on insulin to stay alive. Insulin is not a luxury, it’s a necessity of life. We need transparency, affordability, and access to all. 

Insulin is our right because, without it, we die.

Nobody Is Aware Of Diabetes

Nobody Is Aware Of Diabetes

Nobody Is Aware Of Diabetes

I wake up today with no saliva in my mouth and a dire quench for thirst. My insulin pump is still giving me insulin. I’m still hooked up to medical devices, but my body is resistant. Maybe due to illness, hormones, or because it’s a Tuesday. My blood sugars are high, much higher than a normal persons blood sugars. I’m tired, fatigued, and the feeling of mortality creeps in. I go to correct with insulin, drink water, and attempt to bring this down. But I know this won’t be the last time I experience this.


But nobody notices.

I spent my day monitoring my blood sugars, calculating and measuring how much insulin to give myself. My dosing is only an educated guess, and I have to make these decisions everyday in order to stay alive. But nothing is ever the same or perfect. I’m constantly on a tightrope, hoping not to fall. I’ll do the same thing every single day but receive different results.

When I go to pick up my insulin from the pharmacy, I get this overwhelming sense of sadness. I realize that the same insulin that keeps me alive comes with a huge price. Insulin is one of the most expensive drugs in the United States, and yet I can’t survive without it. Financially, this disease has crushed me. I’m in debt just for trying to stay alive.

But nobody cares.

Once I get home, I receive a notification that my blood sugar is low and dropping fast. I feel lightheaded, disorientated, and starving for glucose (energy). I go to the kitchen to grab anything I can find to raise my blood sugar. I feel alone, helpless, and I’m fighting to survive. It’s a near death experience, that I’ve experienced many times. A low feels like my body is shutting down. A low enough number could cause me to go unconscious, have a seizure, coma, or death.

But nobody is aware.

The night follows with finding a diabetes joke going viral on the internet. Where it’s mocking the disease, assuming it’s caused by being lazy and eating poorly. This is where I stop and realize that nobody notices, nobody cares, and nobody is aware because nobody actually knows about diabetes.

Nobody knows that diabetes kills more people than AIDS and Breast Cancer combined. Nobody knows that diabetes can be caused by an autoimmune disease. Nobody knows that children are dying from this disease. Nobody knows the overwhelming sense of fear of not knowing if your blood sugar will withstand the night. Nobody knows how it feels to experience the highs and lows.

Nobody knows our desperation for a cure…

…Except the person living with diabetes.
And those caring for them.


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