Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Cost of it All (An Updated List on the Cost of Type 1 Diabetes)

Diabetes is an expensive disease.  There's just no denying it.  And the supplies are not something you can skirt around and try to live without.  These things are a necessity for proper diabetes management, and, well, life

Now that Michael is on an insulin pump, we are not buying exactly the same things we used in the past (see that post here). 

Here's an updated account of what we purchase:

For a 90 day supply of the insulin and other necessary supplies Michael uses, this is the breakdown:

Humalog vials (we now use Humalog vials instead of Humalog & Lantus pen cartridges.  Michael no longer received multiple daily injections {MDI}, but rather receives Humalog all day long via his insulin pump.  We buy vials of Humalog and inject it into his pump every 3 days via syringe).  The cost of a 90 day supply of vials (3 vials) is $135.00

Glucagon (emergency kit-- 3 kits)   $45.00  (I don't buy this every 90 days, but these expire after a year, so I will be restocking some of the kits I bought last fall)

Ketone strips (for urinalysis-- 100 strips)  $17.00  (Again, I don't really have to buy these each time.  I can get up to 300 strips every 90 days, but can usually get by with just getting 100 strips).

Lancets (to check blood sugar)  $64.78

Testing strips for blood sugar meter (918 strips)  $135.00 

When I order everything shown above, I pay about $396.78 to the pharmacy every 90 days.  Items that are not on this list include Lantus (slow-acting insulin) and pen needles.  Since he receives Humalog all day via his insulin pump, the need for Lantus is gone.  Also, since we are not giving him injections, we no longer have to fill the supply of pen needles.  I have a few spare boxes of needles in my cabinet, as well as some spare Humalog & Lantus pen cartridges for emergency purposes in case his insulin pump ever fails.  This is a recommended practice by the staff at Children's Hospital-- always be prepared for the worst.

Now that Michael is on an insulin pump, there are additional costs associated with that.  To start him on the insulin pump process, we had to buy a Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) (this is what we use to tell the pod how much insulin to inject) and a set of pods which we insert on him every 3 days (the pods-- like all other types of insulin pumps-- only last 3 days before a site change is needed).  The cost of the set-up to get the PDM and the first 90 day supply of pods was right around $500.00. 

Every 90 days, we will pay around $236.00 for pods.  These pods arrive via mail, and we buy the insulin from our own pharmacy.  No pod is ever shipped with insulin in it. 

The items above are required to keep Michael alive. We choose to use some elective equipment to help us better manage his diabetes. This piece of equipment (called a Continuous Glucose Monitor, aka CGM), along with it's necessary accessories (transmitter, receiver, inserters), cost us $1,542.00 to start-up, and it costs us $116.38 each month for the supplies.  (On the previous post about how much diabetes costs, I accidentally said it cost us $542.00 to start the CGM process.  That's incorrect.  It was $1,542.00.  Leaving off a "1" makes a big difference).

Since I last posted this, I've had a few different co-workers still come up to me and tell me that it would be nice if insurance helped out with the cost. The hard thing is, these costs and calculations are after insurance has paid 70%. Seventy percent. That's crazy that diabetes management takes so much money! And these are just the figures that we pay based on the insurance we have. Others might pay more or a little less depending on what type of insurance they have. 

To see a little bit about the "prize bag" we keep for Michael's CGM insertion change, see this post.  I keep the prizes in a Cars tote that I got at Target.  I think I paid $3.00 for the tote.  It has held up really well.  Recently, Aaron and I stocked up on some additional prizes.  My favorite place to look for prizes is Target's Dollar Spot right at the front doors.  There are typically great options there and they vary from season to season.  I can get themed water bottles (Ninja turtles, PAW Patrol, etc), coloring books, board books, little plastic race cars, toddler silverware, plastic animals, etc for about a dollar each.  We also scoured the toy aisles and found some Hot Wheels on sale for 82 cents!  We grabbed about 4 of those.  I've also gone to Hobby Lobby and wandered through the aisles near their party favor section and I've found some tiny tubes of bubbles, a cup with a crazy straw, some pretend bugs, some shovels for the sand box, etc.  Each week when Michael gets a CGM insertion change, we lay out all of the prizes and let him choose.  It's so funny to lay them all out before him because each time I take out a toy, he says "ooh!" and then the next toy comes out and he says "ooh!" It's so cute.  He's so enamored by the prizes he gets to choose from.

Diabetes is expensive, for sure.  But seeing Michael's smile, hearing his giggle, listening to him sing, and dare I admit this-- hearing him be a typical big brother to Noah (ie, pestering, taking away toys, etc), reminds me that of course this is all worth it. 

I read something so awesome last week by a fellow D-mom.  She called the day of her daughter's diagnosis the day her daughter's life was saved.  That's so true. 

August 11th is coming up.  And on that day, I will choose to celebrate the fact that my son is here.  It was on that day that his life was saved.  We found out what the underlying problem was-- Type 1 Diabetes.  And we've worked relentlessly since that day to strive for a normal life for him. 

Until Next Time,

Much love,

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