Everybody knows diabetes is expensive. We spend a lot of money on insulin, syringes, infusion sets, sensors, and more.
But there are a lot of hidden costs in diabetes. I found at least eight things that my doctor never told me about at diagnosis, and they cost me a lot.
1. Juice, candy, glucose tabs, and other “in case of lows” supplies.
About every other week, I head to the grocery store for some juice. I also need to make sure I don’t have a shortage of candy for those times when my refrigerator isn’t so close. Supplies in the bedroom in case of overnight lows, juice boxes and crackers in my desk drawer at work, hard candy in my truck. I’ve lost track of how much I’ve spent over the years on stuff like that.
2. Extra doctor visits.
Almost all of us visit our endocrinologist every 90 days or so. But what about all of those visits with our primary doc, even if it’s just when we’re “real people sick”? A podiatrist? An ophthalmologist? A dietician? A Certified Diabetes Educator? My insurance plan’s plan year is only a few months old, but I already have a stack of receipts for co-pays to the other healthcare professionals I see throughout the year. And while we’re at it:
Ever consider the time you spend on your diabetes? Just all those HCP visits take up a lot of time we’d like to spend on other pursuits. Add in blood sugar checks, set changes, and the myriad other tasks we perform on a regular basis, and I figure diabetes is gonna owe me a few extra years at the end. It’s a big, giant cost that bothers me more than I can tell you.
A lot of this is of my own doing, but honestly, I want to know more about diabetes, and more about advances in research and development on drugs, devices, and the mental cost of living with this disease. Often, that means spending money so I can get to where the information is being given. Of course, there is much to be learned via the internet, which is what I’m trying to do when I can’t get away to a conference. But a portion of my budget is now permanently earmarked for diabetes travel.
5. More time.
This is the good part of time spent on my diabetes. That includes spending Wednesday nights on Twitter, communing with my D-homies while doing the question and answer thing during #DSMA. When I’m lucky enough to see my diabetes friends in person, I love just being in the moment and soaking up all the goodness. Life ain’t all bad, right? But then there’s:
6. Extra costs for extra conditions.
Many of us living with diabetes get cursed a second or third time over with another condition like Celiac or high blood pressure or, in my case, an annoying skin condition that I’ve been told will also never go away. My extra isn’t anything that anyone needs to worry about, but it still comes with a cost, and even my dermatologist (another HCP cost) says it might be related to a compromised immune system. Thanks diabetes.
I’m a believer in trying to stay as fit as I can. I don’t look like it, but I still exercise on a regular basis. Because it helps my body use insulin more efficiently, and because I feel better when I exercise. But it doesn’t come cheap. I will say this though: the cost for my road bike, for my spin bike, for workout wear and even my gym membership has been worth Every.Single.Penny.
This could come under Time, or More Time, but let’s be honest. This deserves its own category. From fears of a future low, and fears of what a previous low has done to our brain cells, to fears of complications that come with years of diabetes unknowns, the cost of this chronic condition goes far beyond anything anyone should consider reasonable.
This list doesn’t include the money spent supporting my friends and the great causes they work tirelessly for. And it doesn’t count the money I spend on special things for The Great Spousal Unit because she indulges me by letting me write a blog and podcast and go to diabetes events, and oh yeah, she makes it easier sometimes when I’m dealing with a difficult low. No doubt this list could be a lot longer.
There you have it. Next time someone suggests that diabetes is as simple as take insulin and go on with your merry little life, remind them that diabetes comes with a lot of extra costs. And they’re not all covered by insurance.