Showing posts with label awareness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label awareness. Show all posts

Friday, August 24, 2018

New Clinical Trials - Parkinson's and Gastroparesis Awareness Month and UC(Ulcerative Colitis)


Answer a few questions to see if you may qualify for a new clinical trial looking for people with early #Parkinsons. #parkinsonsdisease #sponsored #cureclick pic.twitter.com/LG9B4GlfXW Act now! https://curec.lk/2wpFzmj



Join IFFGD and G-PACT on August 24th at 12 PM EST for a special Gastroparesis Awareness Month Twitter chat. #GPChat #GastroparesisAwareness #cureclick https://curec.lk/2Pu8nTz


Struggle with Ulcerative Colitis? Join research studies offering study-related care at no cost for the length of the study. #ulcerativecolitis #sponsored #cureclick Don't delay. https://curec.lk/2JAnyai





Posting by and written by Pamela Steele©

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sonograms!!?? Why have Doctors NOT already done these???

This just totally blew me away! I've fussed and griped for YEARS about how each and every time I've had to have a "joint surgery" and how badly I was in pain; plus do to my joint history, the, the DJD. the DDD, the RA, Lupus and the list goes on and on, when I go in with a joint hurting, it usually means we are destined for surgery, maybe even replacement. I recall when my left elbow gave me so much trouble, and not long after my left shoulder began to drive me insane with pain, loss of range of motion, stiffness, and the entire gamut. I went through all of the tests, the MRI's. the CT's, with and without "contrast", X-rays, medication and nothing usually worked.  I may have some relief from a corticosteroid injection into the joint, and that may last for a day, month and sometimes even a year. On my right shoulder, I had several rounds of injections, way before we did any type of arthroscopic surgery. Yet, even though all of those "expensive" tests, that were supposed to be the "gold standard" when it came to diagnosis, may show some damage, spurs and so on, BUT, when every surgeon that did my various surgeries actually got to "see" the massive amount of damage in the joint, they then understood why I was so adamant about NOT using those tests as much, as more "heavily weighing" from my long term symptoms, them actually getting worse than ever better, and that there much more damage in the joint than any type of scan, MRI, and so forth ever would show them. In fact, my orthopedic surgeon who did both my complete right reverse shoulder replacement and my 4 level cervical neck surgery, told me himself. The damage was so deep, and it was extremely bad, but there was no way it would have shown on any test. Sam thing with my neck, it was the same with my elbow on the left, my shoulder on the left, and both knees. It never failed that the doctors would always tell me that what they actually saw by doing the surgery, was far more worse, than any type of a scan, MRI and so would have ever shown.

I have also said that I felt that any "scan", MRI, X-ray and so forth is only as "good" as the person it with experience and knowledge to read them. I can just tell, from all I've heard about and read, that often things are NOT found, or they are far worse, than what the "radiologist that read them said.

It just stands to reason, if someone has the "education" yes, that is a huge part of it. But, when you are looking at something as complicated as the inside of a joint, or any organ for that matter, if you don't have not only the knowledge but experience to totally "see" all of that entire ordeal, then all too often, I felt things were ""missed" because of whomever read them, didn't have enough experience or possibly training, to not miss something. Again, this is not just joint related but any type of scan, and so forth, things could be missed, and could cause serious issues if they are not caught in the beginning.

Same way with "blood work"... they are coming to find with many diseases, that all too often that "blood work" again that is supposed to be another "gold standard" for diagnosis, MAT NOT BE accurate. It could have been not processed quickly enough, or no refrigerated in time, or blood work has been known to get "mixed up" and maybe what was read had nothing to do with you. Many may not realize it, but on some of the very complicated blood work that they do, it may be actually "shipped" even out of state to be processed. Some of these tests either take extremely high dollar equipment, time, and the person to make sure it is done accurately. Again, there can be a mix up, something not processed in time, left out too long, or any number of things could "go wrong" before the actual test is ran, and the outcome that is "right", could be wrong.

I know I am NOT the ONLY PERSON who has been through this very issue. Even when I had the double hernia's. I had 2 doctors, a sonogram tech, a PA, ALL miss the HERNIA"S!! I knew they were there. I even told them exactly how to locate them, and why they would not locate them if I lie down, they would kind of "settle" down into my abdomen, and then they were difficult to locate. Yet, I have one huge lump on the left, and the one on the right had just began to show. I finally went to a regular SURGEON. He "found" them immediately and said I needed to have them both repaired before they got worse. The one on the left was already getting fairly large and the right one was headed that way.

Yet, even with a sonogram, 2 doctors, and one PA all doing an exam, none of them found them whatsoever. Yet, I was persistent, that I would NOT take "no" for an answer. I had at least ONE hernia, and I planned on getting someone to freaking listen!

Well the week after seeing the surgeon, I went in and had a double hernia repair.


So, went it with my elbow, my knees, both shoulders.... no matter how many scans, tests, reports, experts, and all that are involved WE, KNOW our BODIES better than anyone else. And if YOU FEEL SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT, then do NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER! CONTINUE TO go onto other doctors until someone can give you an explanation that at the very least makes sense!!!

This day and age about "people" not being "educated" about medical problems, especially chronic ones, has far past us. The majority of this nation and around the globe, with the internet, and so many "reliable" web sites, doctors, specialists, documentation, everywhere can absolutely have a great deal of information about "possible" things that could be wrong, to others letting them know possibly how they dealt with a certain treatment, or surgery... and YES, there is also some BAD information out there too You must use you "brain and common sense" when it comes to weeding out the "good info" from the 'bad info"....

So, I totally understand doctors that get a bit annoyed with a patient that comes in and begins to tell them they know what is  wrong with them, because they read it online, they heard it on day time TV, or several of their online friends have the same issue.

I get their point. But, when I go in, I don't begin to "rattle off" what I've found online, I usually go in with a "list".... and I ask questions, about certain things I may have read online. Yet, I try not to put my foot down and say "I know what it is because I found out about all of it, here, there or yonder. But ALWAYS TAKE A LIST!!! I can guarantee even though you may have a photographic mind, and like myself I used to be able to do all kinds of things and multitask. Yet, now days, as soon as I walk into the doctors office, I've without a list I would forget have of what I went to ask about. Thus that list helps to keep YOU focused, and also let them know what kinds of things maybe going on with you, that can help them to make a better "guess-ta-ment" or find the answers to whatever is going on with you and your health.

So, now I get to the article below. Which talks ALL about the VERY thing I've been fussing and griping about!!! A very SIMPLE test, that is certainly NOT INVASIVE, and it MUCH CHEAPER than many of these other tests, that give the doctors, a much better look at what might really be going on, especially when it comes to joints, inflammation and on forth.

So, PLEASE take a moment, and read this below!!! Then PLEASE share it with your own friends and those who have been through hell and back, sometimes for YEARS trying to get a right and accurate diagnosis!

I have already got it where I can print it and take it to my own doctors!!! I think they all need a "wake up" call.





http://rawarrior.com/professionals-call-for-ultrasound-use-in-rheumatoid-arthritis/

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

YOUR VOICE on Capitol Hill at the "Virtual Summit" can be heard! YOU WILL BE HEARD! E-Advocacy and more for the Arthritis Foundation

Okay Guys and Gals!!! I am asking for YOUR Participation in this EXTREMELY IMPORTANT situation. As most of you probably know I have made "Platinum Ambassador" for the Arthritis Foundation for 2014-15. So, I am headed for Washington D.C. March 22, through March 24-25th... for the Annual "Summit on the Hill" by the AF. We will be going personally to Capitol Hill to both the Senate and House of Representatives, to meet with as many of them as we can. If we don't get to meet personally with them, we still usually meet with their "health legislative" assistants, and other staff that can help to deliver our information and message. It is IMPERATIVE THOUGH that ALL OF YOU that can't be there, really and truly KNOW YOUR VOICE COUNTS!!! I know many of us have become disenchanted with "Congress" - our Senators and Representatives for many reasons. Yet, I know PERSONALLY FOR a FACT that YOUR VOICE DOES MATTER!!! I have seen the results of what letters, phone calls, messages, and meetings can do for all of us in the matter of Arthritis, whether osteoarthritis, RA, Juvenile RA, Still's Disease PLUS ALL of our other "Autoimmune" and other health issues. BUT, WE need YOU to also raise your voice and be heard. We will be DELIVERING YOUR LETTERS PERSONALLY to the Senators and Representatives that you can follow from instructions below, and fill in your personal parts, tell your story also, or however you want to personalize it. The Arthritis Foundation NEEDS "Virtual SUMMIT people" and that is YOU. Even if you are going to DC, still please use this letter to be given to your Senators, and Representatives. ONE VOICE can MOVE MOUNTAINS! I have witnessed it, and continue to truly believe we do matter. BUT, if you DON'T contact them, then they do not know your situation and how YOU feel. So, I am posting here, on my blog, on my Pinterest, on my Instagram, on Twitter, everywhere I can about how to be a part of this critical movement! This is for ALL of us, with these horrible illnesses, that need help with getting good physicians, the MEDICATIONS WE NEED and making them AFFORDABLE FOR ALL! This is about those in our nation, many of our Armed Forces Come home with arthritis problems or develop them..... and many of our youngest of this nation are also patients, with Juvenile Arthritis. I want to urge each of you to take a bit of time and send your letters. I am including all of the instructions in an attachment and at the URL that is provided. If you have questions feel free to ask me, either through Facebook, or through message or email me. If you would like me to help or if you have a message you want me to take your letters with me, and I will make sure they get delivered. 

Here is your link to sign on to be an "E-Advocate" for the Arthritis Foundation. This gives you a voice via emails and so forth so you can be heard at the National Congressional Level. It is not time consuming, you don't even have to leave the house, but this is a way to be able to speak up and be heard by your Congressional Leaders that you voted in. Let them know how you feel, and what you feel is good for yourself and the nation when it comes to Arthritis, RA, Osteoarthritis, and ALL of the other diseases that are often in tandum with arthritic illnesses. It takes a few moments to sign up and be heard for the rest of your life by those who can help to make things better in the realms of your health. 

http://www.arthritis.org/ad…/sign-up-to-be-an-e-advocate.php


Then this is how you can "attend" the Annual Summit on the Hill as a member of the "Virtual Summit"... this link provides you with a sample letter that you can also personalize, add your picture, and tell your story about your health issues when it comes to arthritis, whether a patient, caretaker, family member, or just want to be a "voice" to help others.

 http://www.arthritis.org/.../virtual-summit/letters.php

 

You can download the "letter" from that link, and all of the instructions are there so you can send it back via email to those that will be taking YOUR letters directly to Congress. WE are giving a VOICE to YOU, even if you can't attend... as I said, if you have questions, need help, or however I can assist you, feel free to email, message me, or post and I will be more than happy to help out in any way I can.

 ALSO!!! SOCIAL MEDIA is a HUGE way to get your messages across. MANY of our Congressional Members have Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagrams, and so forth. That is another way you can also make contact with them, so be sure to also look that up. I have both of my Senators and my Representatives Facebook pages, and I've sent Tweets to them and emails also from their websites. Sign up for their newsletters. That is a great way to find out how to contact them also.

 

Here you go!!! "Proof" is in the "pudding"!!! this study is compelling to show that a few "Tweets" or other type of Social Media use can capture your Leaders Attention on a Subject ...

  http://connectivity.cqrollcall.com/just-a-handful-of.../  




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

RA, Lupus, Sjogren's - New Symptoms? another Illness? and even the thrill of "Good Stress" can cause a flare...

Life continues to buzz by faster than a speeding bullet, and faster than a rocket. I hoped 2015 would begin anew, and slow down a bit to allow me a breath or two. After 2014, and ALL that I, along with family went through, my main hope for 2015 was to be more "well" physically, mentally and emotionally. I hoped life would "slow down" to a bit more of a sprint, rather than an all out marathon race, and with that would also come a bit of respit from so many bills, my teeth, Jim's accident, attorney's stuff, going to all of the doctors, and again we could see the light of dawn, after such a black ink darkness of the past year.

It's not that things have been "bad" as of yet. Although the first of every year brings another set of stressors many of us have to deal with. If you own a home or property, like myself, you probably owe property taxes by the end of January. Like many, my house insurance is usually due about that same time, along with income tax filing for many, worrying about a brand new insurance for my Mom and myself (we changed from Humana Medicare Advantage over to United HealthCare HMO Medicare Advantage plan)... and I knew there would possibly be a few kinks in the entire change especially for me, since I have so many medications to have filled. Of course all of that had been resolved with Humana over the several years I had it. In fact, I guess I had Humana from 2006 forward up until this new year 2015. I had finally narrowed down most of their stupid hoops that myself and my doctors had to jump through. So, as I knew I am having to go through a few red tape situations in order to get my medications refilled.

I am also dealing with something involving my stomach. I am not sure exactly what the issue is. I realize that all of the medications I must take daily, does not help at all. Yet, I've been taking the majority of them for years now, and as long as I take my Meclazine for the vertigo issues, I rarely had severe nausea issues. Over the past 5 or 6 months, it seems I am nauseated more than not. I am even taking Promethazine and now having to take it daily. Part of it, I am sure is stress. Stress over my own illnesses, medications, bills, and what needs to be done. Stress over Jim's health situation and knowing there maybe many things we come to have to realize that he will never be able to do again. A piece of me truly thinks that many things like driving, walking a long distance with just the cane, doing most things are the house chores, especially anything to do with finishing up the remodeling, laying floors, painting and so on. His balance is still so "off" that there is no way he can stand on a ladder what so ever. He can't keep his balance for very long at a time now. As much as I want to believe it will get better this year more; since it will be a year in March on the 26th since the wreck happened, I just don't think that any more time will make him any better doing some things. As we have both learned since his accident, balance is almost more important to "life" and what you do every day, than walking, running, picking things up, getting on ladders, bending over. Even riding our exerciser which is kind of an "eliptical" one, we saw immediately it was his balance that really through him off to the place I have to stand beside him in order for him to ride it. So, strength at times is not as huge of an issue is the balance situation is.

Along with this almost daily nausea I am having, also comes a fatigue that can at times be worse than my experience with it through the years since being diagnosed with RA, Lupus and so forth. For about 2 or 3 years I didn't sleep much at all. I was up and wide awake by 4 am at the latest. Then all of a sudden, and we are staying up a bit later, but here lately I am not waking up until 7:30 am most mornings. So, I continually feel I am running behind. When I was getting up several hours earlier I could get more accomplished. Now, by the time I am up, and turn around it is 2 or 3 pm. The days just seem to be going by even faster than last year. I also know that with the RA, Lupus, Sjogren's and so on down the list of my health issues, my stomach issues could be taken as a part of those. Severe headache, nausea, the fatigue... the muscle pain, and joint pain, all sign and symptoms of most autoimmune diseases.

Yet, you know how you feel at times when you just "KNOW" something else is going on. I can't explain it, but whatever is going on now, seems to be "different" than the symptoms of what I've been diagnosed with.

For one thing, I've had an "extra" beat with my heart now for a long time. I never really was concerned about it. My cardiologist knows, and she has me on medication that keeps it under control. But, a few days back, I had a new type of happening. It was like my heart would be fine one moment, then it wants or feels like it runs really fast for about 4 beats, and then goes back to "normal"... it happened through out the day one day last week. In fact I was so concerned about it, I had called my doctor. She could have see me the next day. Then I woke up with the most severe headache, and fatigue, with the nausea so bad, I had to postpone the appointment. I actually have one with her on the 13th of this month, so I decided to wait until then, unless it happens again before my appointment.

I had came across a story about a woman that was born with a heart defect. They found it when she was 3 months old. For many years, it was under control with medication. When she was in college she began to have problems with it, and later when she was about 39 years old, had to have a heart transplant. It was truly an inspiring story, yet some of her symptoms that she had really blown off as nothing were exactly the same thing I've been feeling. The severe fatigue, she was having bad headaches, and being very nauseated, plus noticed shortness of breath. Well, I had been noticing over the past few months that I complain about sometimes feeling like I am short of breath. I also passed it off as nothing, until I read her story. Now, the one reason I would think it could be heart related is for one, all of the AI illnesses can effect the heart. Two, I have had two heart attacks already. So, that kind of caught my attention, as I was trying to piece the puzzle together as to what is going on with me. Honestly, I have preferred to ignore it. So, other than some "Google" research, I have tried to put it out of my head.

There are way too many things on the agenda I need to attend to, and having some type of heart issue, is NOT what I want to deal with at all. Of course, I realize no one wants to think they might have something going on with their heart. But, what I do have to face, is that statistically I am more likely to have problems, than those without AI illnesses, and/or that have not had 2 MI's already.

Of course, I've received the honor of being able to travel back to Washington D.C. in March, for the "Summit on the Hill". The Arthritis Foundations Annual Event, where we go in as patients or patients families, and tell our Congress People about our stories, and what we want to see accomplished to help those out there like us, that may not be able to actually tell theirs like that. I went through the whole year last year and made "Platinum Ambassador". So, that gives me the opportunity to get the "grant" from the Foundation that pays for my flight, lodging and just about everything other than "personal items". So, that being said, and also as I began this, I am totally elated at the honor of getting to go back again this year. Yet, it brings on a whole new agenda of "good stress", honestly. I've got to be concerned about driving my own self to DFW, which is about 65 miles or so from my home town. Parking in long term parking, getting myself to the proper place for my ticket, going through all of that nightmare, and then getting to DC in time for Monday mornings first meeting, which is at 10:30 am. So, thankfully I do get to fly in on Sunday!!! They confirmed they would cover an additional day for me to come in, since I am flying from a fairly long distance away. But, even with that, trying to pack where hopefully I won't have to check a bag, getting their, settled in, and then having to fly out on Tuesday evening, AFTER our last part of the day on Tuesday. So, again that makes for a very long flight home, getting into the airport back in Dallas very late. Then driving myself back home in the wee hours of the morning from DFW. Fortunately, maybe traffic won't hinder me either way.

I've also got the "stress" about my birthday on the 15th of February. Of course it is much better to at least "look forward" to having one, rather than NOT looking forward to it. Yet, to know I will turn 55 years old in just a couple of weeks really terrifies the hell out of me. As my Mom and I just talking about it. How quickly the years have seemed to pass by. How it seems like just yesterday my kids were born, or I was little and having my birthday parties, and all of those years of youth have just melted away like a molten river of lava down a steep hillside.

We (meaning I) at times became complacent in life. I guess in our younger years, we are so entirely engrossed in jobs, school, college, kids, homes, bills... and everything we incur and that occurs during our robust years of a more youthful time in life. So, we turn around once, look in the mirror to see a young adult making their way through this place we call the world. As we make another turn, it seems the decades have past us by all too quickly. Then if you happened to have came into a life of some type of chronic illness, whether it be cancer, or an autoimmune illness, heart problems, diabetes, and many other conditions that can crop up in the blink of an eye, we begin to want to look back at what "we" did or did not do to cause this. Then all of a sudden, classmates we graduated with lose parents, or worse the classmates pass away. Nothing "stings" quite as badly, as finding out someone who is YOUR age suddenly has gone to be with others in heaven. That one can really stab you where it hurts. It is definitely a wake up call.

So, with all of that comes the "what ifs".... what if I had not married and went onto nursing school? What if I had completely finished my 4 year college degree? What if I had stayed in California, or Seattle? If I "had" or "had not" done certain things, would I not be suffering from the ties of disease that bind me now?

I find myself with way too many questions in life, alas not nearly enough answers for them. I feel often "less than" because I honestly don't have the energy and stamina to "do more", "be more", participate more. What if I could still go snow skiing, on more trips and vacations, and was not so tied to the strings and arrows of chronic pain and illness?

Then I actually witness someone more than likely as ill or if not even more chronically ill than I am, and it appears they can get more done. They do have the stamina, strength, energy and wear with all to withstand and write best selling books, or poems. Or they do much more in their activist advocacy activities.

I have PROMISED MYSELF, and to my very BEST that I CAN do INTEND on completely finishing my BOOK by the end of the year and having it published. That is where I stand, and my stance is. If that means "robbing spoons" from other daily things I do, then I need to learn to manage my time wisely. Putting MORE of my "spoons" into the writing of the book, and taking some time away from things such as Facebook, plus other items I tend to do, rather than writing.

I WILL always be posting here... and never will I allow myself NOT to continue my blog. It is truly my LIFELINE to ALL OF YOU! And it is for ALL OF YOU that I WRITE THIS NEXT BOOK!!! For myself also, but more for all of those out there struggling through the mysteries of life, and the good, bad, really bad and depending on someone to help guide them through the darkness of despair over chronic pain and illness.

You see, it is NOT just our physical bodies that are so terribly effected by these chronic diseases. It is the very core of our being, our hearts, minds, soul, family, spouses and friends... so it is a journey that is to terribly long and difficult to deal with to feel alone in doing it.

So, today... I dedicate each page of the book I am writing to YOU!!!!

















Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When You are Fighting Chronic Illnesses, Chronic Pain, Doctors, Pharmacies, and Medicare Advantage Plans - you need lots of ammunition and tenacity...

I have wanted to be able to get to this subject for all of you over the past couple of days. Of course about the time I have a "clear slot of time" open, my email decided to blow a gasket on me. I had also not known about a follow up appointment Mom had to have her semi-annual "cardio-sonogram" yesterday. So, I had to pick her up and take her to have that done yesterday. It's not that it takes that long, but by the time you dress, pick her up, have the testing ran, then get back, visit for awhile, and I also had a couple of errands to run, I felt like my day was gone and I did not get anything I wanted to get done accomplished.
Plus, I had "overdone" it and used to too many of my "spoons" last Friday, so all of the plans I made to do things around the house both Saturday and Sunday, got basically chopped in half. Saturday I was in so much misery, between stiff, sore, pain, a splitting headache, almost as if I had another Lupus or RA flare hitting, that I spent Saturday on the sofa for the most part, and that really frigged up what my plans had been. I have SO MANY things I want to get accomplished around the house, from repainting my kitchen, painting and redoing our spare bedroom that is our "music room", getting the floors put down in the kitchen and bathroom, and laundry room, we still never got all of the outside of the house painted... and things just really took a nose dive when Jim had the car accident, was in the hospitals for so long, in rehab for so many weeks, thus lots got put off until we could get back into some kind of whatever normal was as far as a routine. Well, we have still to find that "normality" or routine. I feel like I fly by the seat of my pants most days... either waxing and waning one way, or flopping around like a fish out of water in another. Nothing ever seems to come easy, no matter how simple, you can guarantee there will be some kind of snag in the line.

But, when I got this ridiculous letter from Humana, My Medicare Advantage Plan. I have had them ever since I first got my Medicare parts A and B, which was about 2006 or so. They have now decided I guess to probably NOT Pay my PCP enough OR my PCP has gotten "greedy", thus he will no longer be a "preferred provider" come Jan 1, 2015!!!! Which totally sucks green pecans, if you know what I mean. This primary care physician of mine is the ONLY ONE who out of all of the tests, doctors, surgeries, and so forth I had had, the LUPUS, RA< SJOGREN"S, and the list continues. Well, Dr. "B" as I will refer to him as, had just gotten to my home town and I was one of his very 1st patients. At the time he was brand new, he was "brilliant" when it came to "discovering" the unusual, he looked at everything with a "fresh" eyes, and he was "up" on the latest when it came to autoimmune illnesses. But, even though I was one of his very first patients, including I got MANY others to move over to him, because I so so pleased. He got me on the right medications, and I did go and find try to find a Rheumatologist, in which I did. But, the Rheumatologist were more on the end for the Rheumatoid Arthritis end of the ball park, Dr. "B" took care of the Lupus. When I have flares, he is the one that gives me the Solu-Medrol injections, the larger 14 days step down doses of prednisone. He also prescribes my MTX, Plaquenil, and small daily dose of prednisone. So, without him I would be back and forth to some doctor in Dallas, that would be the waste of an entire day, more money, more time, for something that can be handled here, usually by a phone call, me coming in, getting an injection, a script and I am on my way.

I am not quite sure who is the issue, probably both... it is a well known fact Medicare and especially the Medicare Advantage Plans don't pay worth a darned when it comes to the physicians, But, if you have someone within 5 minutes of home that can do the exact same thing, you save time, the doctors save time, gas, and things run much more efficiently that a trip to somewhere else for a Lupus Flare.

So, this letter that I receive from Humana explains to me that if I have "certain" health conditions that Dr. B takes care of, then they will make an exception and pay him as they always have. So, out of about 15 health conditions names on this paper, Lupus was one of them. So, I fill in the paperwork, send it off to Humana, and about a week later, very late one evening someone from Humana leaving a message about that paperwork. She said she would call back the next day, and so I expected to get a phone call from them the next day. But instead about 3 days later I get this ridiculous letter, stating that "Lupus" and Hip Pain (I have NO CLUE where "hip pain" came in what so ever") did NOT qualify and they would NOT continue after Jan 1 to pay him as a "in network provider". OMG, I was so livid, had it not been late in the evening by the time I got the letter Humana would have gotten a piece of my mind...So, of course you can send in a written grievance in which I did. I also boldly told them they were not going to get by with blowing me off like that. My "condition" of Lupus was serious, it was something that Dr. B is the very doctor who diagnosed it, he is the one that since 2009 or 2010 had taken care of me, which every time he fills my medications, he does the follow up blood work, he takes care of the "side illnesses" that go along with the Lupus, and not one other PCP is going to want to take on my complicated case due to it is a complexity that has to be kept up with. As Dr, B always knows exactly what is going on. If I have a "new" symptom, he knows if it is related or not to the Lupus, and he also takes cares of my mouth ulcers, thrush, stomach problems from Lupus. As I had said and we know for a fact, I can go from "well" to ill enough for ICU within minutes under some circumstances... just like I had double pneumonia back in April. No one was here but myself, so I did not realize I was running such a high fever I was all but see things and hallucinating. Thank goodness I thought to check my temp and even though I never run fever, I did not usually do so, and if it had gotten any higher I may have went into convulsions. Luckily, I was still smart enough and scared enough not to drive alone, so I called my Mom and had her pick me up that Sunday afternoon and carry me to our Urgent care Center. But, if that had been any other time during the week, I would have called Dr. "B" quickly, and found out I was running 103.9 fever, and had double pneumonia!!!! It was so bad the doctor on call at the center wanted at first to send me to the ER and possibly have me admitted. Well, at the time Jim was in Baylor after the car accident, which he was still in Acute Care and had just gotten out of ICU with all kinds of broken bones, a very long 9 hour back surgery, 17 broken ribs and it continued on. The very last thing I needed was to be put in a hospital down here, and have him in the hospital up in Dallas....

So, having a physician that KNOWS my health issues, ALL of them, how the interrelate to one another, and what has taken place, from surgeries, to the 6 weeks I spent in two hospitals, and almost died from what they can surmise had something to do with the Lupus. But, even in the huge hospital in Dallas, and all of the highly specialized doctors there, many of them were NOT familiar with Lupus, nor any of the health problems that come along with it.

So, I got to thinking about this entire scene, and it just makes me even madder than I was when I first got the letter from Humana! In the first place, IF HUMANA was PAYING the doctors better, then the doctors WOULD NOT be dropping out of being "Preferred Providers"... and if the DOCTORS were NOT SO MONEY HUNGRY they would be "settling" FOR WHAT THE INSURANCE pays them, and not setting their GOALS OF MONETARY GAIN so high they cannot either afford to pay the doctors better OR WORSE they take FOREVER TO PAY THE DOCTORS!!! This is NO JOKE and it came directly from the mouth of one of my physicians!!!!

He had TWO SURGERIES, and I know he meant very EXPENSIVE SURGERIES, because it was probably something like having a pain pump internally put it or something like a stimulator put in internally, which the doctor has to implant. Both of them are very expensive. Just the devices themselves run upwards of 50,000.00 or so.

Anyway, he had two patients that AFTER TWO YEARS OF dragging their feet, the Doctor had to take Humana Medicare Advantage plan to COURT IN FRONT OF THE JUDGE, and the JUDGE MADE THEM PAY MY DOCTOR!!!

But, it took him 2 YEARS to get paid on those two surgeries!!! If he has to wait to get paid on many of those expensive procedures, they will all go broke trying to keep up an office, pay employees, pay taxes, and keep an office up and running. It was insane to hear how long he had to wait and then for a judge to have to demand they pay him what they owed him. I just about let my jaw hit the floor. Now, I also know doctors charge WAY TOO MUCH, to try and compensate for what they are trying to make up on those cases they do not get paid, or certainly not enough. So, it is a circle in circle around and around the merry-go trying to get one hand to a one to pay the other. In the mean time guess who suffers through this??? Yes, you have it.... US, the PATIENTS!!! We suffer added money out of our pockets, paying for doctors and the clinics and tests, and in the end, half the time no one has a straight answer for us anyway. So, now this puts myself, my Mom, and Lord knows how many other patients just like us are suffering through the exact same issues. It is damned if you DO, and you be damned if you don't.

I have even threatened NOT TO go to a PCP anymore, but just use our "urgent Care center" here. They have their heads on straighter than most of the primary care physician. The 3 or 4 times I've been out there, one of which was for a Lupus flare during a weekend, and then I could go there and get checked in, checked out, have my injections, get my prescription and be on my way. To top it off they are the ones as I said above that diagnosed me with double pneumonia, took the X-rays right there, right away, were on the ball and I was out the door and headed home without any hassle. And out of pocket for me was my $40.00, plus I did not get exposed to an entire room full of germs and people running fevers, and possibly get something else, other than what I already had. It was a "pleasant"(if you can call having double pneumonia pleasant" experience, just due to the fact there was no hassle, and I was home and on my sofa within an hour and a half. It took longer for the pharmacy to get my script ready than it did to get through the Urgent care in itself.

Now you can get your flu shots, pneumonia shots, even tetanus and so forth at the pharmacy, they will even sometimes check your cholesterol, blood pressure and so on, including hearing test for free at different times. It is getting to where people don't want to step into the room of a doctors office, because it takes too long, they never answer your questions, once you spend hours getting in, they then herd you in and out like a bunch of cattle, not really bothering to answer a question one you may have. I've gotten to where even my "tricK" of taking my LIST of all the thing I NEED to talk about them with, and he is running out the door before I can ask the 3rd question. As someone who believes in researching everything myself, and also believes that MY TIME, YOUR TIME, OUR TIME IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THAT DOCTORS TIME!!! So WHY do WE wait for HOURS FOR THEM!!!


Then they have the audacity to post a sign if a patient does NOT call in 24 hours ahead of time to cancel, they can charge you anyway. But, I've had doctors CALL ME ON MY WAY TO DALLAS FOR AN APPOINTMENT and they tell not to come, because the doctor is out in an emergency or had gotten called away suddenly!!! So, now my day had been half ruined getting ready, getting dressed, wasting, time, gas, and everything else, yet it seems to be perfectly "okay" for them to cancel at the last moment. Believe me I felt like sending them a bill for my time and see what they thought about that.

I had read an article a couple of years back where I woman did just that. She had a doctor cancel on her two times in a row or something, so she did send them a bill for her time and trouble!!!  Whether she ever got able paid or not, but I bet it did put it on their minds. OUR TIME is just as valuable as anyone else's is... whether the doctor, nurse, surgeon or the Pope!!!!

Again though it takes time and tenacity to do that I can see where under the right circumstances it would get the attention of those who think they are "better" than use.


I would be interested in knowing how many of you with Medicare Advantage Plan and possibly have gotten the exact same thing. A letter telling us that our doctors won't keep them on and be "preferred provider" after January1st 2015. If you HAVE either post here, or send me an email because I would love to hear from you. Then also what are you going to do under the circumstances? Change, try to keep your doctor, just pay the "extra" amount and stay, or does it even matter....









Monday, March 17, 2014

An Autoimmune Arthritic Systemic Life: More on the Continuing Saga of "Rhia's Law" If it ...

An Autoimmune Arthritic Systemic Life: More on the Continuing Saga of "Rhia's Law" If it Will Happen Then It Will Be Rhia...Honestly, when I go back and read some of the things that I've been through, put up with, did do, did not do... and all of the "happen to me... it seems impossible that ONE person could have gone through so much in just 8 years! Of course there were other things well before all of the autoimmune illnesses began, and I thought those were horrible. I had moved several times. From Lancaster CA (Whish I loved and still do), back to TX to have a knee surgery, then from Ennis to Austin TX, where I rehabbed the knee an was ready to take a job, then something happened and I came back to Ft. Worth TX. Well that is when 9/11 happened. So, I quickly got back to Ennis (as quickly as I could at that time), and within 6 weeks was headed for Seattle WA. That is where my entire life changed "for the good". I got somewhat "healthy" ... I had a job a loved!!! .. I was making decent money... had a "man" in my life that I was not really sure of, but I did make good friends with his family, and other people around so by the time he pulled a stunt, went to Florida to see another "friend" who turned out to be a woman he had bought a cell phone to talk to every night. He Thought I did NOT know, but I found all of the bag, box and everything in the trunk of the car when I went o get groceries ... PLUS I KNEW E woULD NECER go through the halls for hours normally each night. He done a quick run through usually that took about 25 minutes and he was back. When it started to be an hour, more than an hour, 2 hours, 3 hours and I confronted him with cell phone box and bag in hand... he admitted he was "planning" to go to FL to "see" his friend... Well hell I am NOT stupid! So, he went all right... but I TOOK MY MONEY out of the acct... and left him ONLY WHAT WAS HIS... (He had already taken some out so he was screwed when he got there, and she really was WEIRD. and kind of not interested in him.... anyway... I thought after having to be "on the run" from a "husband" at that time I was trying to "divorce". The ONLY way I could keep him from abusing me physically, mentally and emotionally, was to GET out of TX! He still FOUND ME twice or three times! Each time I thought I was "safe", someone would tell him, and the next thing I know he is around "haunting" me again. Even after I had been in Seattle for over 4 years, divorced him, he got hold of my phone number and began calling and threatening myself and my "finance" then, Jim. Even when we came back to Texas for my daughters' wedding (his daughter) he had told everyone he would "take care" of both of us while we were there. Finally, some of my daughter's new husbands' "buddies" removed him from the premises and told him to stay the hell away. He had almost killed me several times in the past. I put up and "hid" the abuse for many years. I was scared he would hurt me worse, or the kids, or do something terrible. So, I kept my mouth shut to everyone. No body, but my kids knew it, and I would not allow them to tell anyone. I kept them away at the worst times with their friends. Little did I know he was not only "addicted" to Meth.... I knew he was an alcoholic.... but he had "meth" hidden under our shed in my back yard... lots of it there at the last I was told... I did not find out about the drug abuse until just a few months before I moved back to TX, in 2005! Dad had passed away, and even though I never wanted to leave Seattle I had to come back to help my Mom. By this time the "ex", had not only been "caught" and arrested, but was in jail for a LONG time! So, when we first got here, there was about a year or more we never had to be concerned about him. But, I STILL to this DAY have "night terrors" that I wake up screaming, scared to death he is hurting me and JIM, or hurting me somewhere in town.... I carry mace with me everywhere I go. And I still find myself looking over my shoulders, for him even though I have been away from him since 2001, he still "haunts me"....

But, ALL of that, as HORRIBLE and as bad as it was.... and it was bad... still does NOT compare with what these immune illnesses have done to me.... they have also turned my life inside out, they have caused me to be unable to do SO MANY things, I've so wanted to do... EVEN just EVERYDAY. ordinary things... I am always either dealing with a flare, or a surgery, or getting over an infection, or my mouth full of ulcers and knots, or my throat so sore I cannot stand to drink anything. We make plans and I get ill so we have to cancel them. I am supposed to be taking care of my Mom. And I feel as If sometimes "She" is having to "take care" of me!!! NOW these teeth.... and my vision again being so bad!!! Yet, if I go to the physicians most of them are no further along, so their answers are it is the Lupus, RA, Sjogren's, Raynaud's the medications, like the prednisone, which my own PCP calls it a "necessary evil"... if I have a flare, it is the only thing to help get it kind of under control... THEN when my Rheumatologist FINALLY gets hold of the ONE medication a biologic, that finally "HELPS' with the morning stiffness, the pain in my legs and feet, the stiff and swollen fingers and thumbs, my wrists swollen and joints, the INSURANCE gives me A MAJOR SCREW UP, SO I GO 7 WEEKS WITHOUT MY MEDICATION! Which sent me into 2 MAJOR flares! Along with something that was a bacterial lung infection, which I though I was over, the flares came on, they gave me more antibiotics that caused me to have certain type of "colitis" caused by certain antibiotics, thus it was a nightmare because then my husband gets ill, and it seems we may have also contracted a stomach virus, but we could not find out because it took them A WEEK to get back lab work, rather than go ahead and treat me. Well, they finally "looked" at my lab work and said "nothing was wrong". THIS WAS ON A FRIDAY WHEN I CALLED THEM myself. So, the "FOLLOWING" TUESDAY I get a Call from the same doctors office, and the nurse says " the PA looked at your labs and you DO have a "BACTERIAL YEAST INFECTION IN YOUR COLON" AND they have "called in" medication for it!!!! There is MORE to the story about them, but you can be assured that I am Looking for another PCP!!!

Then of course is the entire matter of my teeth...

All of this is EFFECTING MY invitation to go to Washington DC for the Arthritis Foundation after I was invited to go. Now as I get ready, I am ill again, so I am not sure I will get to go Monday Morning!!!! I am totally devastated over the entire thing... and these are just "pieces" of what is happening... the "book" if I ever get to where I can write it will Tell ALL OF IT for sure!

Thank Goodness I have people praying for me all over the world! Wishing me positive thoughts That I will be "well enough" to go!!!!

What can I Say.. but I am so appreciative of those that are standing beside me holding my hand!!!!


Rhia

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Do Your "trust" your Own "instincts" Over some of the Medical Professionals (AutoImmune Illnesses or Not)

Being Caught in an Upheaval Between An Insurance Company, A Physician's Office, My Own Autoimmune "Flaring" Body, A Pharmacy, and What to Trust? Myself, My Doctor... Any of us... we are all susceptible to "Medical Mistakes"... And How do We Avoid those? Or Can We?

I will always be one of the first to admit, "no one" is perfect. We don't live in a "perfect world". Everyone of us are human beings. It matters not whether we are highly educated professionals, or a Mom or home maker. Whether you are the President of the United States, a banker, lawyer, and of course a DOCTOR, even though we want to "think" these people are more "immune" to errors, and yes they should be, we live in a "too fast" paced world, that for the most part offers "little" time to try and "double check" every thing we do in a day's time. 
I will also say that for the most part, I "trust" my physicians. If I didn't then I would and I have moved on before. If you "lose faith" in someone whether it be your physician, a banker, or anyone you do business with, must confide in, or within the very people that you have to rely on to sustain daily life necesseties, where do you turn to, and where do you go from there?

 I was so totally hopeful that the new year would bring "hope", a new vision, less symptoms, more ability to help make changes in this system of errors when it comes to ALL of the horrid evils of autoimmune illnesses, medications, insurance, or lack thereof, doctors, pharmacies, and the entire realm of what the hell is happening to cause such grief with those that seem to just NOT care about patients, about their own people, and how we are supposed to try and "cope"? Each day seems to be worse, not better. Things seems to go from hoping it will be "less complicated", to more red tape, and less reasoning with any human beings when it comes to the health rationalizations of life. Never have I seen such a lack of regard for "humans" from the medical world. I sound like I am on one of those "rampages". But, it is very difficult NOT to feel that way, when each place you turn to, each physician, each pharamcy, every phone call to your insurance company, every email you send... each medication, every step you make, turns around to slap you in the face, and make you wonder is any of the struggle worth it? I cannot possibly be the only one feeling the overwhelming stress of things getting worse when it comes to our health, and our health care workers. More and more I see doctors who are supposed to have taken an oath to "help humans", turn their heads and watch people become more ill. When you are reading daily, that those in dire need of medications such as the biologics trying to cope with THOUSANDS of Dollars of out of pocket costs due to this once again "tier system" of how we are "told" we can have medications, it makes me literally sick! Who, and mostly NONE of us with chronic illnesses can afford to pay $5,000.00 a MONTH out of pocket to get the one medication that may help keep you able to just live your life?  It is total insanity. I realize I am NOT the only one! That makes it even more difficult to deal with. Day after day, month after month, rather than watch "head way" being made, what we see is a government that absolutely DOES NOT care about their own people! Anyone that can take office, and turn their backs, to line their own pockets, in the name of cutting benefits so much that in 2015 Medicare Advantage Plans will CUT paying physicians/medical professionals (the "term" used in the original article was "insurers". That is so it does NOT sound like it is our doctors/medical professionals that are getting cut - another "loop hole for them) 20%! How can I (WE) even begin to rely on that kind of nonsense? What happened to taking care of your own people? It is very obvious greed, greed, greed and more greed fills our nation and our world. I was going to put this up on another "friends" feed, but there is no reason I should "push" my own issues off on those that may not feel the same way. The entire dilemma that has prevailed over my life in the past 3 months, is one that sounds like it belongs in a tale of horrors. Even when I "KNOW" for a fact everything I am "saying" is true; as I go back to either read it or email the ordeal to a friend, it is so hard for me to say "yes" this is really how it is! Where did we as a nation and world go so horribly wrong? When did it get to where "money and power" rule over it all? And where do you really find answers? I of all people, have always been able to "stand" within the power of faith and hope. I don't pretend to "cram" my own beliefs down anyone else's throat. Never have, never will. Everyone has their own personal and private feelings when it comes to how they view hope, faith and all of what might be considered "religious" in nature. But, the problem I feel is the "lack" of it all. There is little hope left. Medically speaking, is just one issue. Turn on your news every day. What do you hear that gives you any kind of true hope? Because we are finally backing out of wars, where we probably may have stayed out of them in the first place? Thousands that die daily due to lack of water, lack of food... and now we face yet another HIGHER scheme of things on the very thing that sustains us? FOOD!? Why? Because we lack water, we are facing drought circumstances that we have never seen in our own country since before the 1800's.... how can our "elected" officials sit around on Capitol Hill and justify the ridiculous insanity of "cutting" benefits for those that can barely afford to buy decent food to sustain us, much less "pay" for medications that although should be considered a "necessity" become things that are more a luxury. 
Those of us on a "regular salary", or disability, or making minimum wages... even those making a bit better salary, cannot possibly afford to pay THOUSANDS, even HUNDREDS of DOLLARS a month out of pocket for medications! I often wonder whose fingers are in whose pockets? If you could be one of these "minute" insignificant "bugging" devices that could fit in a clock on a wall, or under a lamp in some of our places in government, in our local doctor offices, within the pharmaceutical companies in the world, in the very places that things such as "lack of caring" goes on, how shocked would we be? How shocked would you be, just like a dear friend of mine told yesterday on her FB page. Her doctor wants her to have a "special type" of MRI on her heart. Yet, when the doctor calls the order in at the hospital, he is told, "that procedure" can't be done there. Now you tell me, if he is a doctor and he is that has been dealing with a hospital, outpatient or whatever type of facility in the same area for any length of time, he knows "what procedures" that place can do or can't do. Doctors are around for the most part long enough to know whether they need to send a patient to a "special facility" for a specialized type of MRI on the heart or not. SO, why all of a sudden does he get this type of information, that he must relay right there to his patient? He has to tell her that "I'm sorry"... for "some" reason, I can't get it done at that hospital? Then do they fully expect for us to say, Oh, Okay, well, if you find some place that it can be done, give me a call? How ridiculous does that sound? 
Just as ridiculous as a NURSE in my own PCP office, that has been seeing me now for well over 4 years, "hide" and NOT intervene as that nurse basically is allowed along with a "PA" there to tell my husband "well, if you don't like my care, take "her" meaning me, to the ER! What the hell kind of doctor is that? Talk about losing confidence in your physician! Then he is not even courteous enough to "check" on the situation and try and find out what the hell went wrong, and why the hell would ANY "PA" get her "feathers so ruffled" due to a patient and her spouse being concerned and just questioning why a certain treatment would be given, when there is a very strong chance that very type of medication is exactly what got me in the situation I am IN in the first place? If a doctor, or PA, or nurse, is that big of a "chicken" and they are NOT willing to try and get hold of the matter to straighten it out, and thus TAKE CARE OF THEIR PATIENT, who should have been NUMBER ONE, then how the hell do you trust any of them? If this had just been one incident, or a "new doctor" or someone "not familiar" with my complex case, I "may have" been able to justify a portion of their lack of brain power and intelligence. But, when you cannot even have your physician call you, return a call from you, trying to find out what the heck is going on, why would I bother to put my life in this medical "so called" professional's hands? 

I've written an email to a friend of mine explaining the total amount of crap I went through over the past about 7 days! I am going to post most of it here, and I know you are going to think I have to be making this story up! But, BEFORE I get more into that, let me tell you what just happened! Here it is BEFORE 8AM in the morning. My phone rings, and guess what? It is from LEXINGTON KY! NO NAME on caller ID, just that town name. A "woman" announces she is from "Humana" and asks for my Humana ID number!.... in the first place, it is BEFORE 8 AM CENTRAL TIME! IN THE 2ND PLACE, WHY WOULD I (I did NOT call them) give out my insurance ID number to someone I have NO idea is, what they want, and why they would call ME at this time of the morning? I told her I WOULD NOT give out that information, and in the 2nd place I AM SICK! Where were they this past two weeks when I tried to get them on the phone and get my ENBREL??? You sure can believe I jumped through 50 hoops to get anyone on the phone, it took them 10 days or longer to even get medication to me that I should have had 7 weeks ago or more. I probably WOULD NOT BE SICK, if HUMANA would have DONE THEIR JOB! Now, I hang up, and I call THEM BACK! Guess what they tell me... THEIR OFFICE IS CLOSED! NOW how can "they be closed" when they just called me and asked me for my ID number? Ever since I FINALLY GOT MY ENBREL LAST THURSDAY, I have had A PHONE CALL EVERY DAY SINCE FROM THEIR PHARMACY wanting to TELL ME HOW THEIR NEW SERVICES COULD HELP ME!!! THEY COULD FREAKING HELP ME BY DOING THEIR DAMNED JOB, GETTING ME my medications and not delaying me to the point that I am almost to the place of being ill enough to go to the hospital! THIS is the very KIND OF CRAP THAT I HAVE HAD MORE THAN ENOUGH OF! 
How funny it is WHEN I NEED THEM... forget it... you cannot get anything off of their website (although they always say go there), you can't get anyone on the phone, but boy they surely can call you day, night and weekend to tell YOU about HOW THEY CAN HELP YOU!!! 

Now, back to the Other issue at hand.... I've told most of the story... from this, I did NOT get my Rituxan.... due to HUMANA NOT wanting to pay at they should... the entire 'BIOLOGIC" ISSUE. So, when I am severely ill, with flares 6, 7, 8 weeks later, at my doctors office... and the PA decides even though I say nothing about any type of "infection"As far as I was concerned showed no and had no signs of a "sinus infection. Yet, she insists on giving me an antibiotic, after I am already very immune compromised due to NOT having my medication, having 2 flares, and she gives me of all things "Omnicef"! Now I am not sure how many of you check out medications. I am sure for the most part, all of us, or the majority of us with these autoimmune issues DO watch what we are given as far as medications. In the first place, many of our "autoimmune medications" do NOT mix well with other meds. It can cause all types of complications, thus we are probably for the most part pretty good about double checking medications, especially "new" ones we are given. BUT, as I say, what about those that are elderly, or they don't have access to look up medications, or they just "trust" what their doctors say, and take the medications. We are supposed to be "pro-active" about our own health. Yet, as I have found out, being pro-active with some physicians is just like stabbing yourself in the foot. They HATE patients that are educated! They DO NOT want to be questioned, and they fully expect US to believe them hook, line and sinker, without any disagreement. 
Well, even though I did NOT think I had this "sinus infection" I began the antibiotics a week ago, tomorrow. I took 2 that day, and Friday morning I took one. By Friday evening, something was just not right. I could tell my stomach/intestines/colon were not "happy". Of course antibiotics, many of them can upset your stomach. Sometimes if you "eat" with them it is better, but sometimes you are NOT supposed to eat with them. This happened to have been one that still I was quite disturbed over getting. Without being extremely ill with signs of an infection, it still did not seem right I would be given such a broad spectrum, high powered medication. I even mentioned that it had been YEARS since I was given these type of meds. The ONLY time I've taken them is when I go to the dentist and I am having work done. He prescribes "2" for me to take one hour before I go in for dental work. He does that due to me having "knee implants", shoulder implant etc.... Dental work "can" lead to an infection sometimes of those types of implants. BUT mine have been in place long enough now, that really it is not a huge concern. In fact the other dentist that does other dental work on my teeth, says that taking those now is kind of "old school". He does not even prescribe them, unless the implants are very new, less than a year old, or there is major dental work, that could possibly lead to a greater chance of infection. So, even with two dentists right here in town, there are two totally different opinions about giving this even when it could be "slightly necessary". Well, within 24 hours of taking these antibiotics, I began to have what I consider not just slight diarherra, but what I consider a type of "colitis' symptom, due to the medication 'Killing out" all of the needed bacteria in the colon. I went through this in 2010. After several abdominal surgeries, due to an issue with my gall bladder, and a collapsed bile duct, that landed me in the Methodist Hospital in Dallas for over 6 weeks... I got this type of colitis. I will NOT go into the gory details of it all, but I will tell you that I had NO CONTROL over it. I literally woke up wrapped in blankets, cold, and was covered from head to toe with diarrhea... this happened night after night... and I was so ill, I could barely even stand... the nurses would try and put me in the shower, half cold water, and had to clean me up, head to toe, several times a night (and I was NOT eating anything)..I was totally being fed with an IV line...

Well, that experience all came rushing back into my head once I realized that the antibiotic I had been put on is one of the worst for causing this type of colitis.....

Here is more information on it:   http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antibiotic-associated-diarrhea/basics/definition/con-20023556

this is just one article. There is LOTS more, just do a Google Search if you would like to found out more....

Needless to say, I was very FAMILIAR with the signs and symptoms of this potentially can be "deadly" type of colitis.  It is NOT something to mess around with, especially if you already have a severely compromised immune system. At this time, mine is certainly severely compromised. So, as you or anyone in my situation would do, of course you are going to "question" why would you try and put me on yet another "same family" of antibiotics that COULD be causing this? Here they are as  I have in a redundant way said trying to treat me for a "sinus" infection, and I am worried about this type of bacterial colitis! thus coming back to me on the phone Monday morning and saying the PA is calling in "Keflex" was not what I expected to hear at all. I thought I was going to hear at the very least they would put me on Flagyl or Vancomycin, and then also possibly do the "test" to see if I indeed had this type of bacterial colitis. Never did I expect that she would in an almost flipant manner tell me that "the PA went to school, and SHE knows better"! Well, ummmm let's see here... did I excuse anyone of NOT knowing their job? NO what I was "questioning" was "what she was treating me for and why?"... Are you giving me "more antibiotics" thinking okay well the "sinus infection"??? Yes, again, the nurse NOT taking the message stating THE PATIENT IS CONCERNED ABOUT whether she has a colon problem, a stomach bug problem, or is it antibiotics causing this.... not one word of "can we try to see who is asking what" and "why" one person in an entire office can't put two plus two together to get a proper message through.

Now comes another issue in all of this. For six WEEKS, I have non-stop tried to get through to Humana about the Rituxan, what the deal is, why they are NOT paying as they said they would.... and  you can bet I heard everything but the right answer. Most of the time, I was either speaking with someone who has NO CLUE about a "code", about it being used for RA, or even what it was used for. After I finally drove the infusion center, and my Rheumatologist's office nuts trying to get SOME TYPE OF BIOLOGIC to take.... knowing that each day that passed meant me having more and more change of a severe flare, I worked my fingers to the bone trying to get medication, it was days and days and days and more days of waiting, paperwork, more waiting, more paperwork.... and then FINALLY last Thursday it comes in. I take it about the same time I the appointment to try and get the flare under control, before it got worse.

NOW, every freaking day, sometimes twice a day, and like this morning BEFORE 8AM my time, Humana (wow they really exist) CALLS ME! They leave messages, they want to talk to me this morning BEFORE 8AM, and the "woman" asks for my ID number before she even told me who she was,  or what she wanted. I politely, told her I was SICK, and they sure as heck did not make any connection with me while I needed them, yet now all they do is call day and night with their stupid automated calls, wanting to have me "call" them back"... for what????  there is NOTHING they can do or say now that will "fix" what I did need, when they cared to not even answer me back or call me back.

Yet, the huge looming question remains, how the heck do "we" fix this? Unless you have money, power, people you know.... and whatever else it takes to "get" what you "need" out of this kind of issue.

I am so totally disgusted with all of them.... and as far as how to "handle" any of getting these issues fixed... I am at the place, that I honestly don't see that anything will get better for us... only worse.....

With my "current health" as it is, and NO support from the very physicians that SHOULD be giving me support, I may not be able to make the very trip that I've looked so forward to and that is to go to DC in 4 weeks to give my "story", just so others someday do NOT have to deal with these things. Yet, I can't go if I am too ill to go!

I am so totally and utterly upset over the entire ordeal, that I am to this place that I am ready to give up! WHY! should I FIGHT for something that I have NO WAY of  Winning???? As far as I am concerned ALL of my efforts, ill or well.... sick, or feeling good are all for none.... This battle is just not one to win....

I am not sure I even want to continue to post on this blog, or FB, or participate in any type of organization anymore.... It seems it causes more aggravation, All I see is doubt and dismay in others eyes, and I hear it in their voices and I see it in what they are going through....

For me, I am beginning to feel and see this is a no win situation.... and for others they may have far better luck than I... but I know when it is time to throw in the towel....










Sunday, February 23, 2014

Where Do You "Turn" When you are already "Char-Broiled" by Illnesses, the Insurance companies & Our Medical "Entity"?

How To Turn Over And Change A World of "Not "for" the People, but for The People's Money?



There was a time that I felt "age" and technology moving so very rapidly caused many to not "get the drift" of insurance, medical charges, medical information, & all that goes with that. Well, I am here to tell you right now "age" has nothing to do with any of those things being "confusing". I've found out quite recently, even the medical facilities, doctors offices and insurance companies themselves have no clue as to what they are doing! I've had to get a "crash education" in "diagnosis codes", in the "technical parts" of insurance, medical billing and coding just to get my bills coded, and paid correctly. Two of which I had dealt with since LAST AUGUST~ After 3 APPEALS including myself, my husband, and 5 other people at the University Hospital, working on these, WE NEVER did get Humana to pay those 2 infusions correctly! They continued to try to bill the "Rituxan" as "Part D", which is NOT CORRECT, and then they billed again, and Humana tried to code it strictly as if it were for Cancer, not RA, so that screwed everything up. Alas finally last week, after resorting to ALL avenues even the hospital threw in the towel. They helped me with financial aid for those two bills totaling over $3,000.00!!! They also have me "approved" NOW for the Rituxan infusions until August of this year. After Humana pays all they are going to the hospital will pick up the balance for me. :) Which is awesome news! BUT, in the mean time I was 7 weeks or more late with any biologic! I came down totally ill with two different flares, RA and LUPUS! Along with all of this serious dental stuff that is going to require a Dental Surgeon to probably have to pull all of my teeth, put in a couple of implants, and then put the teeth onto those implants! I go tomorrow to the dentist, but I know just from what I feel and see, I doubt there is anymore "patching". My teeth literally one day seem fine, the next they are breaking off at the gum line, splitting into halves,   and they are almost like coming apart, pieces sloughing off, and it just happens. No rhyme, nor reason. It is the Sjögren's, but all of that was discovered too late. My teeth were already headed down that road probably before 2008, when I first was diagnosed with these Autoimmune illnesses. Plus there is "little" they can do for Sjögren's. There are two pills, I've tried them both. I am still on one of them, but it is not helping really. I constantly have to sip on green tea or something, and I have to constantly chew gum (sugar free and with xylitol" in it) or my mouth is so dry, I cannot swallow, talk, nothing... plus I am constantly having ulcers, sores, sore throats, you name it... . I've already lost 4 teeth in just about 6 months, and I know right now, if these cannot be fixed tomorrow, I could lose at least 4 again, if not more. Now to find an Oral Surgeon, that can "file" this as a medical condition, which it is and it is well documented with ALL of my doctors and now two dentists, that Sjögren's is the issue, and I did have a woman at Humana TELL ME yes they will cover this IF it is a medical condition... and I even got so far as to having them send me a letter stating they will... I may still face having all of my teeth pulled, two implants put in top and bottom, then they almost "snap" the plates in on those to hold them. Regular "dentures" are not the answer for anyone with Sjögren's. Due to no saliva they will not hold in place, and would make my mouth probably less wet, etc. I also have osteoporosis, and it is in the "severe" range. So, that will also be a factor as to how they fix the problem. I could have to have "bone grafts" or some way to fix the bone, if I have lost enough that the implants may not be able to be put in! This is a living nightmare! And the sad damned thing is NOT ONE doctor, or really dentist until I began to discuss it, has tried or talked to me about this horrid disease. Yes, I have it. Yes, it is reeking havoc with my mouth, teeth, bone and gums, but till this moment has anyone offered a "real solution". The ONLY person who has even attempted to find out what HAS to be done, is ME! Plus, this is like major surgery. I am sure the oral surgeon has to put me to sleep, pull those teeth, and then I am not sure about the implants from there, and putting the teeth in. That all depends on my bones in my jaws, as to how it all plays out.... and now I face a major trip 4 weeks away to DC! I certainly cannot go with my teeth literally falling out of my mouth daily now a piece at a time! But, trying to get ALL of this done... no way, no how in 4 weeks! Plus, if things are not bad enough, I have this flare, I was put on steroids again, after an injection, the PA thought I have a sinus infection, which has been wheezing. So, she put me on "Omnicef" but a generic form of it. Well, I have not had any of the "Keflex" type of medications for many years. So, I am on it since Thursday. Friday I noticed my stomach not "right"... but it has not been anyway with the flare mess. So, I take the antibiotics, and by yesterday I have such a horrible, horrible scary case of the big "D" word, I cannot stay out of the bathroom! So, I get concerned, look it up and come to find out, this is probably a "form" of colitis, a secondary infection in my colon, due to it allowing other bacteria to take away too much of my "good bacteria" out of my intestines! I was not that concerned, but it kept getting worse and worse... and it is just I won't even go there... but BAD!!! So, I had already taken some Imodium a couple of times, then read this morning it is better to "talk to the doctor" BEFORE taking any of the anti-diareall's !!! Well what another mess we have here "Sherlock"! I certainly can't even leave the house like this, and now I have another problem on top of everything else. My Enbrel came in Thursday and I took it. But now I woke up yesterday feeling like someone literally knocked me on the ground, and took a baseball bat and beat every muscle in my body. There is NOT ONE place I can touch myself, that does not "hurt"... it is insanity! And who knows, is it one of the flares, medications, something new I am developing???? No biologic for too long, then a new one that I've never had??? I can guarantee "my guess" is probably better than the doctors as this point! That does not include everything that is on the "books" for me this coming month! I honestly fear I will be having to miss the DC fly in. I just don't think with my mouth situation, the flares as bad as they are, and everything else going on with me, I can take a chance to fly to a strange city, going through a 3 day seminar, then stay on through the following Sunday to see Jim's Step Mom. Hell, I can't even go to the store as I am this morning, much less drive to even Dallas! These diseases can really make your life a living hell. When you add on top ALL of the STRESS, with insurance, bills, just having surgery 5 weeks ago, and a few other things going on with "family", that I just found out yesterday, and that I am extremely upset about, my brain is at either go insane completely, throw in the towel, and cover me up for good. And NONE of this includes Jim's ENTIRE ORDEAL with a neck that probably needs surgery, a lower back problem that is not much better, and NO INSURANCE! And don't get me started on the "Indigent" Health help in our county!!! Talk about a joke! That is another complete chapter for my book, if not two chapters. SO!!! IN A NUT SHELL NANCY! You are correct, and it is even WORSE than many know. I just read yesterday afternoon, that "Obama Care" due to the "new insurance crap" may even make getting anything paid through Medicare, and especially Medicare Advantage Plans (i.e. Humana, and the others) even more difficult. They are planning to pay the providers "less"! Well hell, they don't "pay" them as it is. That is why our doctors are starting to not accept them! Because they bill for a 100.00 office visit, and the insurance pays them $3.00!!! or something ridiculous! I realize the medical system is screwed, doctors, facilities all of that is WAY< WAY over priced. BUT it is because the insurance companies PAY NOTHING, thus the circle begins, round and round. And who is stuck in the middle of it? Well us for one as patients! BUT who is it FUELING THE FIRE??? THE GOVERNMENT, MEDICARE! Absolutefrickinly! Yes new word... we have our dear CONGRESS and our Centers for Human Services (not Humane", but Human) to thank for this bill pile of bureaucratic bull red tape. And then it all falls on our shoulders, and we bear the scars all over us where they have just "shredded" humans out of any kind of true health care! It is a total fly over the planet, into another universe, complicated, ridiculous, "corporation greed" let's make money, NOT HOW WE CAN HELP PEOPLE! Thank you to ALL of our Congress, and I mean all of them... local, state, federal.... we vote them in and they vote us as "null and void"....

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Feeling As If I am A "Deer" in the "Headlights" - Autoimmune Life

The Shadows and Inner Glow of An Autoimmune Life



For days now, I've again been struggling. Struggling in my own mindset. Struggling into between those shades and shadows, where there truly is no "black", nor white.... only shades and hues a what is a gray tone in a life that I so felt like had returned to colors.

Several months back, even just a couple of weeks back, I had found what thought was my precious "voice" again. Not the one that blabs at my Mom, nor fusses at my puppies, or rants and raves over stupid people, stupid insurance companies, and all of the wrapped red tangled web of a life called AutoImmune.... Life... that it maybe. I felt that just maybe I had unraveled some of that tangled, mangled ideology from my own soul, notice I think I still have one of those, yet sometimes it surely evades me. I was running in and out of the shadows, seeking where I felt I had found what I had been searching for now for more than a year. I can't really give you a "look" into the looking glass of those panes that I so seek, but when I find them, you too shall know it.

For then is when the words of wisdom just flow onto the screen. I type them, not even thinking about what the next word might be, not ever thinking will this sentence sound off, or will the audience that reads this "get it". None of those empty spaces even enter my somewhat empty head. Because, from my heart comes the words that are pure gold. That gold that the very streets of heaven are paved in. Yes, I do believe that the streets of heaven are paved with the purest of gold. I don't talk much about what most call "religion" or religious "beliefs". I have found just as many say, you never discuss religion or politics, hell not even on the internet, lest you want to cause the fight of your life, run your blood pressure sky high, and still be not able to have anyone "see it your way".... kind of like the humor in the fast food restaurants burger in the drive thru.. "Oh, yes you can have it "your" way"... well you may be able to have it your way... but I often wonder when you ask for yours to be unique or different, to be the "troublemaker" in the long line, what happens to that burger as they are preparing it for "your way"? Scary enough to wonder what they do with any of the food during the course of a day, much less when I am that troublemaker. I have to have "MY english muffin" without cheese and just the sausage. And yes I want strawberry jam. I sometimes wonder if they don't scrape that cheese off on the bottom of their shoe, wash it down, and throw the sausage down on it, then put it on the griddle quickly to "dry it off"!!! I have to laugh, because of the horror stories all of us have heard about where people get upset with the boss, or want to be a smart ass in Jack in the Crack, or CracDonald's as we like to call them, and do some thing hideous to the food. It happens. I just pray it is not going on where I stop and get my food from.

So, raising cane with anyone in the political or religious walk of life, is like stepping into a burning bunch of coals. I believe every one of us have a tad bit different view on both subjects. Thus I try to avoid the discussion of either as much as possible.

I have learned that the "loudest barking dog" gets noticed more. Or the person that puts their face, their name, and their own accomplishments especially those that one feels are true talents out on the internet for billions to see, may just be fortunate enough to be SEEN!!! It has SO worked for me lately. I have gotten into the "right click" (I hate that word "click"). It gives me connotations of the cheerleaders all standing around the lockers in high school making fun of all of us "homely girls". So, even though click may fit, still not in that stand point. Certainly not a bunch of snot nosed, immature, girly girls, with their short skirts and the large "pom-poms" (interpret that one as you see fit)... but more like this entire group of women and some men also, that have been brought together in a commonality of making illnesses that are still not getting enough "attention" out there for MORE research, MORE educations, EARLIER detection, when means a greatest chance of LESS damage to the entire body.... surely the JOINTS for one!

I've been dealing with once again a "loop" .... caught between the "doctor" and what he KNOWS IS BEST FOR ME! What the people down in their "pre-determination" of insurance should be trying to get straightened out, not take "no" for an answer, call the patient and tell them, you will owe 3,000.00. Your "insurance " said, you will "owe a co-pay" on the medication? This is crap!!!! If they would even bother to wake up they should know I DO NOT pay a "co-pay" or might I say "co-insurance" on an outpatient treatment. I DO pay I guess what you would call a "co-pay" which is $100.00 for an outpatient procedure that does NOT involve surgery, MRI, CT scan or a nuclear test. It   is very plain and simple as they nose on their faces. They cannot give me this line that they don't know... bull, I am NOT the only patient with the Humana plan I have. There are MANY patients on a Medicare Advantage Plan like Humana, and they know for the most part what benefits are before they even bother to call. What the DO NOT do, is get their "diagnosis" coding, and proper wording from the doctor done, THEN call. So, when they do not have the proper "type of procedure" coding for an "infusion in an infusion only setting, for medication that is a "biologic" that I CANNOT administer to myself. So, since they don't have their own paperwork in order, my insurance tells them I owe of course, as I said my $100.00 co-pay. But, due to the nature of how the "infusion" medication has to be coded, Humana comes back with well the patient will owe 20% for the MEDICATION! NO, I do NOT pay separate for a medication I cannot administer myself. It is NOT a Part D drug!!! It must be given in an infusion center, through an IV process. I surely am not going home with an "IV kit", a bag of lactate ringers (or whatever they use now), an IV pole, a bag of Rituxan, and am going to put the IV in and give myself the medication over a 5 hour period!!! In the first place that is about the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. In the 2nd place why are people that have NO CLUE what these medications are, what their use is, how they must be given... why are none of them educated???
You can believe when I was a "Patient rep" at the hospital for 6 years, I better "know" my stuff. Including what certain medications were for, how they were given, and what things meant as a whole for a patient whether surgical, illness, ER... of course I was not a nurse, BUT I was expected to be "educated" on much of the terminology and how some procedures were handled.

If that is not bad enough it is almost unbelievable what I have gone through this past three days just trying to get our local Wal-Greens pharmacy to "fax" my Enbrel Sure Click script over the the "Right Source Speciality Pharmacy".... I have been on the phone with this pharmacist at LEAST 7 times...
What part of "Fax" the script over does he not understand!??? I had called the Right Source, asked them exactly what they needed. They told me to have this pharmacy just fax over that script, that the "prior" authorization was probably already in the "Humana" system, thus they can get that and they can fill the script and mail it to me... for some reason, one that baffles the hell out of me, this idiot here at WG KEPT trying to run it THROUGH WAL-GREENS!!! Each time it denied it! And I kept seeing emails coming in and for my own sanity, I was just about ready to jerk his head off his neck through the phone, when I CALLED for the 8th TIME today! Thank goodness one of the girls answered the phone, took down the information and said she would make sure it got handled tomorrow. The only ridiculous thing she said was that it was "against the law" for them to "fax" a script over???? BULL!!! I've had them had to "fax" scripts over to other pharmacies when maybe one does not have the medication, so they "fax" it to one that does... or maybe it is cheaper and/or so forth... and there was never a problem... hell most of the scripts they get now are either "faxed" OR send via the computer, from the doctors???? Anyway, the phone rang about 15 minutes later, it was guess who??? I would NOT answer it, because if it was him, it was NOT going to be pleasant, not for him at least... so my husband answered it... "he" told my husband he had "faxed" it at 5:06 yesterday afternoon... well why did you try at 4:56pm try to put it through WG again!????? He waited until they were closed there, then faxed it... again it is delayed due to stupidity!!! What is worse, this man is supposed to be a PHARMACIST!!??? If he cannot understand the simplicity of "fax a script" how they heck will we trust scripts to be right????? Frightening thought at the least.....

Well, I am saying... this is an end to this post... I am a BIT CONCERNED that all of a sudden all my new traffic I was having suddenly just took a nose dive.... within a few days... anyone know possibly why???? Maybe not enough of my "own posts" and more about other stuff???? I have no clue, but it does concern me...

I am actually working on my book. I have about the first 10 paragraphs that I began on it late in the evening yesterday. But, this freaking bad headache from hell is giving me the blues... it is truly messing with my eyes ... and just reeking havoc with my vision... but at least I HAVE BEGUN!!!

I have NOT announced the name of it yet, BUT I am seriously thinking about putting the name out... I shall give it some thought... My fear at first was someone would try to "steal it" from me... but, I really don't think so...

Rhia

One morning early a couple of years ago, when we were heading for OK for the day to take Mom to the Casino!