Always Learning

It is crazy to think that over 6 months have gone by since Nora’s T1D diagnosis – some days it feels like we have been her pancreas for years while other days we feel like we are just taking the first steps of this lifelong journey. Here are a few things we have learned along the way and feel compelled to share with the world:
  • Managing T1D for a child that cannot talk is like trying to hit a moving target while blindfolded. Some days we got it (YES!) and other days we are WAY off.
  • If she is having a temper tantrum we check her blood sugars. Big swings in blood sugars can lead to BIG feelings.
  • Just because her blood sugars are low doesn’t mean she is going to sit still or stop playing – find a phone or iPad STAT.
  • You can NEVER overpack snacks – they will always get eaten. Anyone with young kids can understand this one, now multiply it by 10.
  • Technology is a blessing, until it’s not. It helps you sleep better some nights and keeps you up other nights. It gives you comfort, but you’ll be on your phone more often then not checking her numbers and texting her care givers.
  • Always pack extra supplies, and then pack an extra set. Kids are accident prone.
  • Just because you dosed her insulin right at lunch one day, doesn’t mean it will be right the next for the exact same lunch. We have hormones to thank for that!
  • You will become a nighttime ninja by sneaking into her room to check her blood or give her insulin at all hours of the night.
  • Your heart will break with every high, every low, every site change, every CGM change, and every finger prick, but it will grow back stronger after each break.
  • She will grow up to be a patient, determined, grateful, flexible, kind, supportive, healthy, problem solver. I know this because I have lived with and managed my own T1D for over 20 years.

Grateful, but disappointed…

Let me start this post by saying that I am grateful we have access to reasonably decent health insurance. Without it, life as a person both living with T1D and parenting a child with T1D, would be monumentally different. However, my gratitude only goes so far, especially when health insurance companies dictate what T1D supplies or tools are and are not covered.
When Nora was first diagnosed and in the hospital, she took Humalog (short acting) insulin and Levemir (long acting) insulin. These were great options for her because she needed to be able to take her insulin in half units and these brands provided that option with minimal issues. When we were discharged from the hospital, we left with 15 or so prescriptions and it was overwhelming to get them filled, even for this mama who has had T1D for over 25 years. When I went to pick up her prescriptions, the pharmacist told me that my insurance wouldn’t cover Humalog and Levemir. What the…?! Why not? Because they are not my insurance company’s preferred brand of insulin. I contacted Nora’s Endo and they worked through the insurance and prescription process to get Nora all set with her insulin. The insulin that she uses now is just as effective as the insulin she used in the hospital, but because of the brand switch we have had to make accommodations to ensure she can still inject in half units.
On February 1st, UnitedHealthcare, one of the nations leading insurers, put in place a policy that says they will no longer cover all brands of insulin pumps for persons with T1D ages 7 and up. Instead, UnitedHealthcare has selected a preferred insulin pump brand. Patients are able to obtain non-preferred insulin pumps but have to go through additional approval steps, which are generally not successful. Imagine getting your groceries from a near by grocery store for years and then all of the sudden having to shop at a grocery store thirty minutes away because your original store no longer accepts your payment. That is what this new policy is doing to families who live with T1D, except we are not talking about groceries, we are talking about human lives and the quality in which they are lived.
This new policy doesn’t impact Nora or me directly, but we have had more than one experience dealing with an insurance company’s preferred brand and we most certainly will have similar experiences in the not so distant future. The fact that an insurance company can dictate what supplies and tools a person with T1D can use to manage their disease is infuriating and unethical.
If you would like to join me in voicing opposition to UnitedHealthcare’s new policy, please Take Action. A business has no business in deciding what is best for a persons management of T1D. T1D is not, and never will be, a one size fits all disease.