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    « Weekend highs and lows, plus GRAND Social No. 56 | Main | Numbers that make up a life »

    What I learned this week: One big thing, one small thing, and one in-between


    Big thing: I do daily injections to help manage my MS. It's an expensive medication, and I'm very fortunate to have insurance that covers the majority of it. Despite that good fortune, I regularly complain about having to pay my portion of the co-pay — even after co-pay assistance.

    A few days ago, my prescription for the medication was called into Walgreens by my new neurologist (see below). For the past five years that I've been shooting up with the stuff, the prescription has been filled by a "specialty pharmacy," not the local Walgreens. The new nurse who called in the Rx didn't realize this, though, and erroneously sent it to Walgreens... who soon contacted me to let me know there will be a bit of a delay while they await delivery of the meds and that my cost for the 30-day supply of injections will be $6000.09.

    Yes, you read that right: SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS and NINE CENTS!

    I about died. Then I immediately thanked my lucky stars — and God, too — for my insurance. And for specialty pharmacies. Then I canceled the Walgreens order.

    Lesson learned: In mere seconds, I realized the importance of shutting up about my measly $35 co-pay portion when I could be paying $6000.09 per month. Or going without. I guarantee I'd be going without, if not for the insurance. 

    Small thing: Speaking of my MS — which I really hate to focus on but this is indeed what I learned this week — I met with a new neurologist the other day. I'd been seeing the same one since being diagnosed in 1992. He was (is) an old, old man who finally, after practicing longer than I've been alive, chose to retire a few months ago. We had our last annual appointment a year ago. He told me then (his exact words), "You are a miracle, Lisa. You are one of the few who have figured out the mind/body connection. You are truly a miracle." That was the last time I saw him. Considering his advanced age, I took his exclamations with a grain of salt.

    Fast forward to my appointment this week with my new neurologist, a young gal from India (whom, maybe this is crazy to admit, I chose from the list of local board-certified neurologists mostly because she reminded me of my friend Vidya from India). After discussing this and that, my new neuro had me run through a few physical tests. Her response: "You are strong!" Then she had me walk across the room. Her eyes grew big, a smile crossed her face, and she exclaimed, "You are a miracle, girl!"

    I couldn't believe it. Very same words from the young neuro as had been uttered by the old neuro.

    Lesson learned: I'm a miracle... at least in the eyes of my neurologists.

    young brothers

    The one in-between: Yesterday my grandsons and I read one of my recent picture book acquisitions while on Facetime. Well, I read it to Bubby. Mac preferred roaming the house and finding a bone for Roxy while I read. Meh... he's two.

    Our Facetime session was short, but just the sort of thing I need now and then to carry me through til I hug Bubby and Mac again. I like to think it's the sort of thing they need, too — even if treating the dog to a bone takes priority.

    Lesson learned: Though it usually feels akin to pulling teeth to get myself added to my grandsons' busy schedule while 800+ miles away, it's worth it. For all of us, I hope. So I'll keep pursuing Facetime opportunities. Perhaps some Skype or Google+ time will eventually follow.

    That, folks, is what I learned this week — though I've not yet fully committed to the "big, small, in-between" designation I've assigned each. Depending on the hour and my mood, the order certainly could be flipped, flopped, turned inside out. Still, those are my lessons, and I'm sticking to it.

    As I mentioned last week, I'll be offline Saturday and Sunday, for the most part. I hope to see you back here Monday!

    Wishing you a most marvelous weekend! Cheers!

    Today's question:

    What did you learn this week?

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    Reader Comments (10)

    omigosh! Nearly dropped my coffee cup reading the price of the non-specialty pharmacy, uninsured price of your medication. (Knock wood) I count among my blessings that my husband and I have good's heartbreaking to watch people walk away from a pharmacy counter unable to pay for meds. Unfortunately, I don't know how to fix this rampant problem.

    My lesson for the week was not as important as yours. I learned about an organization called HARO (help a reporter out). I may try it, but so far I can't think of a single profound thing to contribute.

    Enjoy your weekend, my miracle friend!

    June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    OMG! Speaking of coffee cups, I nearly swallowed mine when I read that medication cost! I knew it was expensive but never knew ANY medicine could carry such a price tag! Thank God you lived through that shock and were able to accomplish getting it straightened out, and actually have it again for use. I'd feel like I had liquid gold running through my veins if I had to take that.

    And, you are a miracle! I've always known that and, now, you've had that confirmed by two experts. That's what I've learned this week. Thanks for letting me know I was right all along!

    June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    You are a Miracle -- and all of us are so lucky to have you in our lives even if it is just in the Virtual world. SOOOOO glad you have good insurance.

    Love the pictures of the boys. Hope you get there again really soon!

    June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Here's to continued strength, Lisa! You must inspire your family.

    June 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbelinda

    NonnieKelly: Glad you didn't drop your coffee cup! Crazy price, huh!? HARO is pretty darn cool. I often use it when seeking sources for articles (most recently this one:

    Ann: "Liquid gold" is about right. I always consider how much I've wasted if I pull the needle out too quickly and a few drops dribble down my arm. :-D

    Grandma Kc: That is an adorable photo of the boys, isn't it. So typical, with Bubby paying attention and Mac just busy, busy, busy.

    Belinda: I appreciate the kindness. ♥

    Thanks for sharing and getting me to take time to reflect back on my busy, hectic week. And from one long distant grandmother to another...thank heaven for Facetime, my 3 year old grandson's and my favorite way to stay in touch currently. Get to see him next week in person as I go to help out his mom when his baby brother arrives in to this world. Can't wait!!

    Medication is so expensive! My husband is supposed to be on Enbrel but insurance won't cover it so he won't take it. At over $1500 a month ... there is no way! They won't pay for my Celebrex either but at least that's only $220! Still I refused that refill today at the pharmacy because I simply couldn't afford it.

    Those grandbabies of yours are adorable! I'm sure they will treasure memories of a grandma who went out of her way to stay in touch!

    June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Zimmerman

    I 'have' to use eye drops that are $220 for a tiny bottle -.5ml. The price of medication really is outrageous. I learned this week that when you have to make beach camping reservations a year in advance you may have to pack your winter jacket, hat, gloves and umbrella. :-(

    So grateful for you, my dear, a Miracle indeed! Lovely lovely post, and I would love to hear what you have learned about that mind body connection.

    June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

    Please don't feel reluctant to talk about MS, we are out here and care about you, so if that is what is on your mind, we want to hear. So glad you like your new doctor and that she saw you right away for who you are...a miracle!

    June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown
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