Friday, July 28, 2017

Battle Lost

After a two-week fight with my doctor, insurance company, and pharmacist, I am relieved to share that the battle is over.
Kill all the things meme
Had to go full-on bitch mode over the last two weeks. I really hate doing that.
And... I lost. I'm just tired of fighting. I don't know who to be mad at today, though. My doctor for not helping me achieve a more immediate resolution and not having my back with my insurance company? Or my insurance company, who somehow gets a say in which drugs I get to take because they don't want to pay for the good stuff?

No. I should be mad at the drug company. How is it they get to advertise directly to me that they have the "solution"? Shouldn't my doctor be the one to tell me what to take based on my symptoms? And why is the drug company allowed to charge $325 per month for said "solution"? It's not like I have an EpiPen level condition here, but it still seems unfair that I have to choose between going bankrupt or prolonging my suffering.

I can't really afford $325 per month, but I also now know after all these years that I can't solve my eating disorder without support. So I went with the doctor-suggested alternative, which is a combination of an anti-seizure medication (last I checked, I didn't have epilepsy, so this makes sense) and an antidepressant, for a grand total of $35 per month out of my pocket. This cocktail comes with a long list of possible side effects (I must apologize in advance if you notice any changes in the quality of my writing over the next month) and a small probability of actually solving my problem. Also, no more Friday night glass of wine, especially if I want to maintain my Saturday morning long run schedule.

But I'll interject some optimism here. Maybe this will help me finally break a shitty habit and form brand new ones so that by the time The Last Jedi comes out in December, I'll be able to quit the meds and will be well on my way to sub-2 half marathon land for the Princess Run in February.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New Doc

I've been seeing a fairly unconventional doctor over the past year to treat low thyroid function, as I thought that might be the root of all the problems I'm having. I'd see him once every month or two, get some blood drawn, and get an increase in dosage for WP Thyroid, but nothing really changed for me. When I finally hit my max dosage of WP Thyroid (2.5 grains), he suggested another increase, which meant I was going to have to purchase two bottles of the medication each month (one 2.5 grain bottle, one .5 grain bottle), increasing my monthly drug bill from $20 to $40.

While Dr. Paleo didn't charge me for office visits, I did have to pay $50 for every blood test, so it was getting really expensive for me to keep doing this. And why would I pay twice as much to keep taking a drug that wasn't working? Doing the same thing over and over again without results is silly. I'd like to point out that if I went the conventional route, I'd probably be prescribed a different generic brand of thyroid medication that my insurance covers at a discount.

But I made the decision last month that I was done with thyroid meds, and started to phase myself off of them. Step 2 was finding a new doctor that could prescribe me something that works.

After getting a list of qualified doctors that were in-network with my insurance company, I made an appointment with the doc closest to my house. I had to wait a few weeks to get squeezed in, though, which caused me some anxiety. I'm never all that excited to have to share my embarrassing background with yet another professional, but I prefer to treat it like ripping off a band-aid. Just get it over and done with.

So my appointment time came last Thursday afternoon, and I arrived a few minutes early, signed in, and waited patiently for the administrative assistant sitting at the front desk to get settled from her return from lunch. And waited. And waited some more. When it was clear she wasn't going to check the sign-in sheet anytime soon, I approached her and introduced myself as a new patient. She was pleasant enough, took my ID, insurance card, and some paperwork I had pre-filled out, and then delivered the news that my one-hour appointment was going to cost $132.

Already I started second-guessing my decision to leave Dr. Paleo.

Unfortunately, the type of appointment I need doesn't fall into the realm of annual check-ups or "preventive care" (although I'm not sure how getting myself out of unhealthy patterns ISN'T considered "preventive care"), and therefore isn't covered by my insurance until I hit my deductible, which is $2500... so really, something catastrophic needs to happen to me in order for my plan to cover anything, at which point they'll cover 80% of my costs.

I thought about walking away, but nah. I paid it. #Desperate

Fry from Futurama saying "Shut up and Take My Money"
Hey, this image works pretty well today too. 
The doctor didn't show up until one hour after our appointment was supposed to start, which made me anxious because this was the middle of the work day and I hadn't expected to be gone longer than an hour. Dr. Paleo usually got me in and out of the office pretty quickly. I was already getting negative vibes from this new place.

When I finally saw New Doc, I didn't waste any time. I shared my life-long problems with food, that he is professional number 127 in a long list of doctors, psychologists, and health coaches I've hired, and I just want to not have to deal with THIS. Ever. Again. In My Life. I outlined exactly which medication I wanted, how long I planned to be taking it, and how I would be able to phase myself off of it in one year's time.

Yeah, I do my research... except when it comes to knowing how much I'm going to be paying for things. Just like I was shocked that the cost of my appointment was $132, I hit the floor when I learned the medication I want costs $325 per month...

Which is why I'm here almost one week after my appointment with no medication in hand. Yes, New Doc wrote the script (only after suggesting a few other ideas, which I dismissed), I dropped it off at CVS, and have been stuck playing a frustrating game of Monkey-in-the-Middle with my doctor, insurance company, and pharmacist about whether they are actually going to fill this prescription or not. I can't afford $325 per month, the insurance company is requiring some type of "pre-authorization" that other methods have been tried and haven't worked (maybe I can send them a link to my blog as a pre-authorization), and the doctor is still suggesting other methods that - based on what I'm reading about them on the internet - I'm fairly certain will NOT work for me.

In other stressful news, the host of the Airbnb I had reserved six months ago for celebrating my friend's 40th birthday tomorrow night has disappeared off the face of the earth. As you can imagine, losing out on your accommodations the day before your trip - especially in Orlando, where everyone and their mother goes for summer vacation and pickings are slim right now - is quite disastrous. I've spent most of the day anxiously trying to get a resolution, and Airbnb helped me get another space. It was more expensive, but Airbnb covered the price difference, and it's not too much further away from Universal Studios than our original place, so at least everything is coming up Milhouse there. Airbnb is awesome.

So you won't be hearing from me until next week after my guests leave, but if I don't have my freaking pills in hand before my next post, heads will roll.

/ranting from an angry (food) addict

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fairy Dust

It was an awesome weekend for Disney Geeks everywhere with all of the news coming out of the D23 expo. I really don't know what to be most excited about right now. The "news" about the name of the Star Wars themed lands wasn't that revealing, and I had already heard rumors about the immersive Star Wars hotel, so I may have to go with either Shanghai Disney's "Tron" ride coming to Disney World, or the addition of three more ships to Disney Cruise Line's fleet.

Fry (not a Disney character) saying "Shut Up and Take My Money"
Damn it, Disney. Thanks for providing a few more reasons to give you my life's savings. Here's hoping you take care of me in retirement. 
That reminds me, I need to add "Attend D23" to my bucket list. If you missed any of the big D23 announcements from this weekend, you can get the recap here

The only thing I was disappointed about was that there was no news about the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland. 2018 was going to be my year to earn the pink Coast to Coast challenge medal from Disney, but I can't do that without running Tink... so here's hoping it's actually happening. 

Things have returned to normal-ish here, sort of. The patio crew cleaned up their mess, only... they didn't finish the project. They didn't do a portion of the project that was clearly outlined in the quote, and fixing their mistake is going to mean they have to destroy some of their previous work. So they are going to have to come back with their drills and saws and other noisy tools and make another dusty mess. You can see I'm clearly looking forward to this. 

In the meantime, though, I've been doing pretty well with food and exercise. I have not run in over a week, but am otherwise getting to the gym daily. I had two more check-in appointments with Dr. Livingston to keep up my progress with Never Binge Again. And as I mentioned last week, I had an appointment with a new doctor last Thursday to see if I could replace Dr. Paleo. 

That appointment didn't go so well. I'll save that update for another day, though. 

I am very much looking forward to a mini-vacay this week. One of my best friends is heading down here from Minnesota to celebrate her 40th birthday with me at Universal Studios. Because the best way to turn 40 is to chug Butterbeers, get fitted for robes, and ride the Hogwarts Express, obviously. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Home Crap Home

I had to travel back to New Jersey for work last week, which I don't mind so much because I get to see my friends and family that are there. Also, the sun rises a bit earlier there than here in Florida, which makes waking up for a run so much easier. Generally, it can be just as humid in NJ during July as it is in FL, but I lucked out and got one of those weeks that was more like spring than summer there. Absolutely gorgeous.

Weather and family aside, travel is more of a challenge than a reward for me. I've got all the stress of commuting to work like everyone else in the world, but don't have access to the things that help me stay sane. No kitchen. No puppy dog. No showing up to work in yoga pants, as I usually do when I work from home. So as much fun as it is to see my family and friends on the company's dime, I'm always relieved to come home.

Except when my Lyft from the airport pulled up to my house late last night, I discovered an absolute mess. Our contractors had begun work on our yard (we're having a patio put in and some landscaping done), and everything was torn up as if an earthquake had ripped through. I had no way to get to my front door other than to walk through all of the dirt with my luggage. And a mountain of broken concrete, pulled-up sod, and other debris had been piled up in our driveway.

I looked at the pile and realized that - yes, I was now home - but I was going to be stuck there for quite some time. It's like I wished on the Monkey's Paw to never have to leave home again. No driving to the gym or to pick up my dog from my grandmother's. I could use my bicycle to at least get groceries, but this was definitely not an ideal situation.

I don't blame anybody but myself. I really should have known better than to allow work to begin while my husband and I were both out of state, but I was really anxious for them to get started. We've been trying to get this work completed since February of this year. The contractors also told me it would only take two days to do the patio, and I was thinking it was awesome that I didn't actually have to be around for all of the noise and mess of it all. I didn't stop to think that maybe rain might delay them. I certainly didn't think I should pull the car out of the garage before they got started.

I took a photo this morning from my bedroom to show you the quarry that is my yard:

My messed up back yard
Ok, I know what you are thinking. #FirstWorldProblems
Spare me your tiny violins. I'll be really excited when the project is done and we can finally entertain people at our house. Still, I just felt the need to share why maybe going for a run today and sticking with my food plan was not my priority.

The good news is that my mother lives about 15 minutes away, right next door to my grandmother who was dogsitting for me. They both own white minivans, although my grandmother doesn't drive anymore. So my mom is letting me borrow her car while mine is blocked in since she can just use my Grams's van. Problem solved.

The landscapers got a lot done today, but have not really made a dent in clean-up. My hope is that everything is back to normal tomorrow.

Oh, I have a doctor's appointment with a new doctor tomorrow (another reason why I was anxious about not being able to drive). It's just not working out with Dr. Paleo. As I mentioned in this post, I was on the max dose of my thyroid meds and haven't seen any improvements in any facet of my life, so I wanted to start phasing them out. He and I disagreed about that, so I just started splitting my max dose and am phasing myself off of them. We'll see what the new doctor has to say tomorrow.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Holy crap, Wendy fixed me!

Last month, I had a really weird massage that involved what I'll call electric noninvasive acupuncture. It was a very bipolar experience in that I couldn't wait for it to be over... yet once it ended, I couldn't wait to go back for another massage. Wendy had become my new favorite massage therapist.

So I had my chance for another massage this week; but when I went back for my appointment, I learned that Wendy no longer worked there. I was disappointed but still went for my massage. My new therapist was definitely more traditional. No fun there.

Here's where the fun starts, though - there's a spot on my lower back that has been very tender when touched, and I've always had to warn my therapists about it because the pain gets in the way of a good massage. As I mentioned in my prior blog post about Wendy, I've had this problem for a really long time, I think about ten years. When I explained this pain to Wendy, she broke out her weird electro-pen thingy and worked her magic.

My therapist this week wasn't very conversational and didn't give me a chance to inform her about preferred pressure or other things she should know. So she just dug right into that tender spot, and I flinched, waiting for pain... that never came.

Lego Star Wars "Everything is Awesome"
I also saw a chiropractor for one brief appointment in the last month, so that could have helped me out too... but I'm going to give the full credit for healing my back to Wendy.
I so desperately want to find out where Wendy and her magic wand went so that I can follow her to her new business, but I feel like it would be rude to ask her old employer for the info. Most businesses aren't going to willingly send me to their competitors, and they likely don't know where she's working anyway.

Wendy, if by any crazy random happenstance you are a Star Wars fan/runner/binge eater/blog reader and are following me, shoot me a note, please.

In other news, friends of mine welcomed their first child into the world last week, and I got caught up in all of the excitement since I was their dog sitter while they were at the hospital. Every time my friends have kids, I start to second-guess my decision to remain childless. I'm reminded that my own window for motherhood is rapidly closing.

Let's be clear, I'd be a mom in a heartbeat... if I suddenly didn't have to work anymore, had achieved balance with food and exercise, and lived in a state with crappier weather but better school systems. I am in awe of happier women who can balance successful careers with raising children - how do some women just have it all?

Or perhaps the better question is why are they so much better equipped than I am to handle the stress of it all? Do I just have a severely low stress tolerance compared to everyone else in the world?

Or maybe the best question would be what parts of their lives aren't so perfect that they are hiding from us all? I know with my perfectionist tendencies, I would go into nuclear meltdown mode because something else in my life would have to give for me to be a competent mother. Wendy, if you've got something that "fixes" perfectionism, let me know.

More than 60% of our household income comes from my paycheck, so my husband and I would take a major hit in lifestyle if I gave up my career. I still have an eating disorder to fight. And #sorrynotsorry, I love having unlimited access to sunshine.

So as much as I think kids are awesome, and that Ben and I would have brilliant (but short) progeny, I'm 100% confident I'm making the right decision. I've said it before, but we have to abstain from some of Life's pleasures in order to experience others.