Saturday, July 25, 2015

I am annoyingly expensive to keep alive...

Earlier, my wife posted on Facebook about our monthly prescription drug costs... It got me thinking about our total medical expenditures, and what it takes to keep me alive and functional over and above the "normal" persons needs.

I came to the conclusion that I am rather expensive to keep alive...

At this point I take 7 different daily or weekly prescription medications.

I normally take 15 prescription pills total per day, plus one injection per week (which is way down from the 23 pills a day I was taking at one point).

As of right now, we pay about $350 a month for just my scrips (down from about $600 18 months ago), out of pocket, using several different pharmacies and several different prescription discount plans (it would be three times that price if we didn't).

I think the retail on them combined, used to be around $1500 for generic, but over the past two years, it's gone down to about $900-$1000... Which is still ridiculous. Thankfully, the discount plans really help a LOT.

Name brand, DISCOUNT (never mind retail) cost on my scrips would be several thousand dollars; as name brand retail on just one of those scrips is something like $900, and a couple of the others are $300 to $700.

Oh and that doesn't include the Provigil (modafinil generic), which I have been prescribed, but don't take, because it's INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE. It used to be $750 with the discount, and it's still $400 with the discount ($1018 retail) for a 30 day supply. And of course, that's generic... name brand is $1350 AFTER DISCOUNT!

Even when we had insurance, Provigil is only covered for narcolepsy and other sudden sleep disorders, not for what I need to take it for (sudden overwhelming fatigue and loss of mental acuity and alertness, with occasional daytime somnolence; due to endocrine dysfunction); so at best, I can get it at the discounted price.

Since I can't afford the medication that actually works.. pretty much I just gut it out. When I have the sudden fatigue etc... I take another adderall and another cytomel, and try to do things that don't require much brain function... or nothing if I can, or if I'm at home try to lay down or nap... until my endocrine system and other meds catch up and my brain works again (it can last for anywhere from 20 minutes, to 2 hours).

And of course, that's just the daily and weekly prescriptions; not the periodic or as needed scrips, or the other OTC meds and supplements that I REQUIRE... Require as in NOT OPTIONAL... necessary for life.

It doesn't include the incidental OTC medications that I need (if I were a low deductible insurance patient I'd get scrips for them, but as a cash patient OTC is cheaper). Mostly prilosec, nasocort, and zyrtec. Those run something like $100 a month for both Mel and I together, so $50 a month for me alone.

It doesn't include the appx. $200 a month in OTC vitamin and mineral supplements I have to take because my body doesn't absorb, retain, or use the amounts I get in my diet properly (megadoses of calcium, potassium, magnesium, chromium, zinc, vitamins A, b1, b2, b5, b6, b12, C, D, and E; and creatine).

Again, these are NOT optional, or I become severely vitamin and mineral deficient, and the medications that keep me alive don't work.

It doesn't include the as needed scrips for allergy and sinus medications (about $50 a month when I need them, several times a year).

Finally, it doesn't include the medicated shampoo, steroid foam, medicated oil/cream, and periodic antifungals and antibiotics; that I need to suppress or relieve certain unpleasant side effects of the cancer and endocrine issues*** (see below). Those run about $300 for a 3 month supply, so $100-ish a month... but I can live without them for a few months at a time.

Basically... I am extremely expensive to keep alive, to the tune of about $650 a month extra just to survive, another $150 on top of that to not be miserable... and $400 on top of that to be awake, alert, and functional full time.

...$1200... a month...

As I always say folks... Cancer sucks, I strongly recommend not getting it. 

*** Because I am immuno-suppressed, have endocrine dysfunction, and because my body doesn't absorb or use vitamins and minerals properly; there are a number of other unpleasant but not life threatening... mostly cosmetic and minor irritation... medical issues I have to deal with.

I suffer from moderate to severe hyperkeratosis and seborrheic dermatitis, and mild angiokeratoma and angioectasia; on my scalp, sometimes my face, and in some other "senstive skin" areas.

At times, as a complication of these, I also develop folliculitis, sebaceous cysts,and cellulitis in those areas.

It's unpleasant, but usually I can deal with it without medication, unless the infections get severe. It does mean I have to shave my head frequently, and severely scrub my scalp, among other things. Also, I've added some more gnarly scarring to the collection that had already graced my skull.