Monthly Archives: March 2019

Thanks diaTribe.

Every so often over the next, oh, three or four months, I’d like to take a few blog posts and pay tribute to a few of the institutions that help make my walk with diabetes more informative and meaningful.

Today, I write in praise of diaTribe.

Imagine trying to start, from scratch, an organization (the diaTribe Foundation) dedicated to providing valuable information on everything from accuracy and reliability of diabetes devices, to results of important clinical trials. Then, add in sharing this information online, in a format the average reader (like me and other patients) can understand.

A website where people can get factual information on everything diabetes… and when I say everything diabetes, I mean all of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly, in terms that connect with each individual reader.

Now, imagine also sharing this information in public forums, where many can hear firsthand about new drugs, the importance of time in range, and emerging therapies. Kelly Close, Adam Brown, and others are out there taking part in focus groups and speaking at FDA workshops, helping to advance the art and understanding of managing diabetes for everyone.

I especially like reading the New Now Next and Conference Pearls columns, because they’re great for catching up on things I’m particularly interested in. And the Adam’s Corner columns are great because his perspective is always unique, and one I want to consider when thinking about my own diabetes.

I don’t know how much of all this Kelly Close had in mind when diaTribe began, but she and her amazing organization has been at the forefront of reporting on diabetes research, new products, changes in standards of care, and more in the way few self-sustaining organizations can ever hope to be.

I am happy to say I receive regular updates from diaTribe in my e-mail inbox every week. I can’t say I always immediately go to diaTribe to read the latest, but I almost always go there at some point during the week to learn what I don’t know already, or learn a different perspective on something I thought I already knew. There are very few places on the internet where I can say that’s the case.

Consistency. Reliability. Integrity.

diaTribe.org

Certainly one of my most valuable reference sources. What’s one of yours?

Not Fun and Games

Sometimes, as much as we’d like to, it’s hard to temper the hard truth with diplomacy.

I’ve been trying to calm down ever since I received a letter from my prescription provider, Express Scripts. I’ve been trying to choose my words carefully, trying to understand the other side of the equation, trying to consider how this makes me or the plan I’m a part of better.

Let me tell you, that’s a tall order.

The letter states that I can no longer take part in the automatic refill program through Express Scripts unless I move from the Novolog I’ve been using for a long time, and which works best for me, over to Humalog. In other words, if I have a prescription for insulin, I can get my prescription renewed every 90 days. But only if I use the insulin on their formulary list, which is Humalog.

Now, you might be thinking, this can’t be non-medical switching… you can still get the Novolog, right? First world problems! Stop yer bellyaching!

They’re making it harder and harder for me to still get the drug that works best with my diabetes.

I’ve got nothing against Humalog. It just doesn’t work as well for me. So already, I’m paying three times as much (through my plan) to get the Novolog every 90 days. I’ve been doing this ever since the “preferred drug” on the formulary was switched from Novolog to Humalog.

Additionally, I stayed with Novolog in spite of underhanded dealings where reps from Express Scripts shoved prescriptions in front of my endocrinologist, telling her I asked to switch to Humalog, which is a big fat stinking lie.

Now they’re trying to put roadblocks in my way again.

There’s not a medical reason for this. They’re simply doing it because they want to. Because they really want me to start using Humalog. And they’re trying anything they can to get me to switch.

Non-medical switching, in one form or another, is standard operating procedure for pharmacy benefit managers like Express Scripts. Instead of making it easier to get the drug that helps keep me alive, or at least not making it more difficult, they’re actually paying people money to come up with new ways to keep me from getting it. In subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

This is just another example.

So, my choices, after taking the time to, you know, do my best at managing a 24 hour, 7 day a week condition, are:

1. Spend more time calling and complaining, trying to get Express Scripts to change their minds, as if they were an actual organism with an actual mind

2. Spend more time asking for a refill every 90 days, even though it wouldn’t cost Express Scripts one dime or one minute extra to keep doing things the way they’ve done them. For years.

3. Make the switch to Humalog and get the automatic refill every 90 days

I will likely go with #2, though doing so makes me very unhappy. But hey… happiness or unhappiness are not part of the equation when it comes to pharmacy benefit managers. For Express Scripts, there’s only one part of the equation that counts. And I think everyone knows what part that is.

Because it’s important.

I took the time to donate blood last week. Actually, I was lucky in that there was a blood drive sponsored by the company I work for, so it made things convenient. I didn’t even have to leave the floor I was working on.

If you’re a frequent reader here, you’ve seen a lot of stories about the importance of giving your blood if you’re able. You may be thinking, “Why talk about this again?”.

Because it’s important, that’s why. In fact, donated blood is as important to some as insulin is to People With Diabetes. They can’t live without it. It’s particularly important to those with more rare blood types.

**Note: People living with diabetes in the USA are able, should we meet eligibility requirements, to donate blood.

I’m an O Positive, which puts me in select company, and that means my blood type is in demand. Who could use my blood? Think about it:

– Surgery patients
– Trauma center patients
– Cancer patients
– Patients with Sickle Cell Anemia and other blood disorders

And that’s just scratching the surface. Every blood donation can save up to three lives.

I’ve known a number of people in my life who needed transfusions at one time or another, and without people like me, they might be left needing. I don’t like it when people are left needing something I can so easily give away.

I mean, here’s something I can do that doesn’t cost me anything but an hour of my time. Besides, I’m used to being stuck with sharp objects, so the whole process is no big deal to me.

I hope you’ll go to redcross.org/blood to find out more about the blood donation process and schedule your appointment to give.

Trust me… it feels really great knowing you helped someone who needed you.

%d bloggers like this: