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Friday, June 27, 2014

Hospitals, Bills, Money..Oh My

Well OK, I'm going to tackle something I actually hate talking about....bills and money primarily medical bills. This makes me cringe just thinking about it and I get so worked up about the insurance coverage the misinformation red tape and ineptness and constant barrage of under explained and overpriced bills, its just..... aaggggggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Yesterday I wrote about stress and how to handle it. This is where those tools for handling my stress really come into play. I have always said that when I left my job at the candy store that I felt the stress began to ease up and that I could no longer be a benefit to the company or myself. I enjoyed the chance to rest initially and accepted my new role as a patient (although a bit reluctantly). Then the bills started rolling in from the first hospitalization and I freaked out. The bills and were coming in a rate of about two or three a day, and coupled with phone calls about payment. Not to mention I was pretty much stalked in the hospital by the lady from the billing department who finally found me in radiology where she followed me back to my room to discuss my bill and handed me a "cost of care estimate" and asked if I wanted make a payment at that time. Really??? I don't even have on underwear and you want me give you money? where's my wallet well I guess she thought I had shoved up my butt or something ( which is where I wanted her to put her "cost of care estimate", if you know what I mean!) I felt so violated.

The bills were confusing and had to be reviewed constantly , they would overcharge you, double charge you, payments would cross in the mail, or they would never get thereat all, offices had crazy hours and more often than not you could never get anyone on the phone, much less get them to call you back. Sometimes I never even got a bill it just went straight into collection. 

All I kept thinking was how can I can rest now I have to get busy with the bills, then I was realizing  how is this going to work. I have no job, my husband can barely support us on his salary alone, we don't qualify for any kind of assistance, I can't even get food stamps to help out. What the hell are we going to do??? I was totally stressed out, as was my husband, and it was only getting worse. I think the phone calls were the worse, the collection departments were relentless and some were just plain ass mean. They would threaten, call you names, and some would just be rude. I got tired of being the financial victim and decided to be a bit more proactive. I talked to hospitals negotiated a lower bills, talked the collection companies got on payment plans and eventually found a The Help Save One of Own Foundation through a longtime family friend who cleaned the foundation chairman's home. Things started to get better slowly, the foundation  helped with the insurance deductibles and other things as well. I could now focus on getting better.

It was a full time job manageing everything, and it still is. I have now become a secretary with bad typing skills and  poor eyesight, a twenty year old desktop, a new laptop that I can't figure out to use, and an old printer that is somehow always out of ink, but we make it work and get it done.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I'm not unlucky I'm lucky.  Because everything that I have experienced has taken me to this place of peace and happiness. I have become so thankful  with my life, my destiny, and my journey.  I know whatever challenges I face I do so with the strength I have gained, the knowledge I have learned, and the faith I posses. With my family, friends, and God  by my side there is no challenge I face alone, nor any I cannot handle. - Tabatha

Stressing Out

How do you handle stress? Do you hide from it? Bury you head in the sand? Or do you face your stress head on? The answer to these questions believe it or not affects your health. So many diseases and conditions are caused by stress and several more diseases and conditions are effected by stress. It is crucial that you learn to handle your stress as best you possibly can. It may be as simple as doing some meditation and yoga to keep you calm, or it may require a stronger approach such as therapy and/or  medication. Whatever the case may be you will have to find the right tool, for you to maintain a healthy level of stress in your life. Its like buying a pair of shoes, you have to find the right fit to propel yourself  forward comfortably.

I used to be able to handle stress by counting to ten, or having a crying jag. Crying to me was like pressure release valve, once I spewed I was OK. But as my stresses changed so did my techniques for handling stress. I did exercises and walking for a while, then my role at my job changed. It  increased my stress enormously, and yet again I tried to handle my stress and didn't do very well at all, and it began to take its toll on me physically and mentally. Unfortunately this time I was smoking and having cocktails on the weekends and none of which were really helping only exacerbating the problem with my diabetes. I took a step back, and from some persuasion from my employer I quit smoking, changed my position at work and started to slow down. By the time I figured out that the money and stress I was getting was no longer worth what I was going through physically it was too late. Four months later I was diagnosed with kidney failure. A month after that I was told I needed a  kidney transplant and another month later I was told I needed the pancreas transplant as well.

So you see not managing my stress made me lose control of my life and let the stress affect me physically and mentally. After dealing with the stress and learning new techniques I'm handling my stresses and my stress much better and it has benefited me physically as well as mentally.I'm not saying that stress is the only reason that all this  happened it was just a big part of it and often times was overlooked by me and my physicians.

Get a handle on your stress, and don't let the everyday overwhelm you. My stress regime now includes a combination of things. I use medication, therapy, meditation and this blog to handle my stress and so far I'm doing OK!! Find the right fit to propel yourself forward and you will be surprised at what you can do when stress is not an issue.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Skeletons

Some of you are under the impression that that I'm profound in someway, I guess if that is your opinion its ok. but I don't think of myself that way. The truth of the matter is I'm screwed up, no really I am. I'm just trying to use what I have gleaned from my experiences and life's journeys to not be, so screwed up. I just want my life to mean something, and to know that every experience good or bad has taught me something. I believe I still am unsure of what my purpose is, but I hope at least I have become a better person from  my mistakes, and I have made some big ones let me tell ya.

Everyone has some skeletons in their closets, and I have been able to go through my closet and pull out some ugly things I have done. I have learned from these things and hopefully through God and faith and my strength I will not repeat the same mistakes again. you have to deal with these things to keep moving forward and to become the best you as possible. You have to forgive yourself of the mistakes you made and love yourself warts and all. You have to cast aside animosity, hate and anger. Forgive those who have hurt you and pray and ask for forgiveness for those you have hurt. This is hard and I still have people in my life who I have to resolve issues with to free myself, but I'm trying as best I can. I'm a work in progress and the point is I'm trying to be the best me as possible

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

http://www.kidney.org/professionals/DrMcGrath_Stop_Rejection.cfm?homeslider=StopRejection

Get ya Happy Back

When you wake up in the morning you have a choice to make. Either you make the day the best it possibly can be or you don't. I know it seems very simplistic, but I think a lot of the time we just over complicate things too much. So my thinking on this is simple, either you try to have a good day or you don't!

I had a counselor at the dialysis center who once told me, that you get up every morning and greet the day! Just say "hey world I'm here", and again it may seem simplistic but it is more powerful than you think. Don't think for minute I didn't have days where I stayed in my PJ''s all day drinking coffee and feeling sorry for myself, so when I asked my counselor for help he said "the day is going to be the best you allow it to be"!!

Now I'm well aware that this is not always possible, sometimes your day is just not going to be a good no matter what ya do, but be positive and know that the there is a new day on the horizon and your going to get through. The ultimate goal here is to just put your best foot forward. We all have problems from time to time, the point is to keep going and give it your best. Moving forward, that is what you have to do. Nothing has ever been accomplished by sitting on your ass, work... work your ass off to get your happy.

We have to work everyday, you work for a check, you work for a car ya work for ya clothes, your home your vacations, why can't you work to be happy? Nothing in life comes without work or strife, you have to put int the work to get the reward, work for your happy, greet the day with new hope and new courage and a positive attitude. Get up off your ass and work for yourself!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Understanding Pain

I had a pretty good weekend doing things around the house to make it spiffy. I love our home, it is old and quirky but it has a charm to it. It has a coziness to it that is soothing. Besides that I have to spend so much time in it, I have to make it as pleasant as possible. It has so much of us in it. My husband however sees the shadows of his past in these old walls and it is a constant reminder of his painful childhood. I try to explain to him that the pain is in his heart not the house, because we have filled the house with love and good memories, so whatever demons  had once permeated through the walls are gone.  But I can still see his pain.

It is hard to understand someones  pain. We always try, but you can't understand truly unless you have experienced it for yourself. We all have called a friend and asked how they are doing just out of habit or good manners, we assume it to be a rhetorical question and expect the usual response of " Fine, how are you?" almost as repetitive ritual. We usu sally don't expect when we hear, "No, I'm not fine?" We get so excited about wanting to tell someone about what is going on that they actually have a problem is somehow departed from the ritual and you expected to listen and help.

Well there ya go, we are so busy with ourselves that we are just waiting for our chance to speak and never truly listen to people especially when they need us most. Pain comes in all shapes and sizes, and doesn't discriminate. We have all undergone some type of pain whether it be emotional physical or pshycological. Pain can be a constant burden or a motivator. The issue to me is we dismiss each others pain. So many times I have heard people say things like " oh she doesn't even know what pain is" or ' it is a bit exaggerated and dramatic don't ya think?"  Let me just say this, perception is reality. If I perceive it as such, it is my reality, therefore it is true.I have undergone pain still got dressed make up on and went about my day, and no one was the wiser. Handling pain is hard and even the best of us have had a problem handling it, and there are those of us who can't and were overwhelmed by pain and needed a escape. My mother was one of the ones who was overwhelmed by her pain, and eventually found escape.

We don't wear flashing neon signs with our pain advertised on it. Just be kind to people and realize that we have learned to mask our pain and endure whatever we face with dignity and grace. Don't dismiss us as over dramatized needing attention whiny people. And remember when you ask us if we are fine, be prepared to get a earful, and kind enough to truly listen!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Money, Money, and Money

Today I have been going over my credit reports. This is a constant reminder of the necessary evil of money. Despite my new attitude about happiness there in lies the reality of commerce and the need for the green. Now I have said several times in my blog that I don't require a great deal to be happy, however there is a constant need for money not for happiness but for survival.

We all like to have things, but that aside my need for money has at times been a life or death decsion I'm not trying to be dramatic just simply trying to explain my needs for money. It has been a savior to me at times and the lack of it has determined my health at times despite whatever knowledge I possessed. It all came down to having the funds to acquire what I needed to get the best care for me I possibly could.

 This is where I get pissed. You see my health deteriorated several times because of money or should I say the lack there of. I believe there should never be a barrier such as money to prevent someone from getting the best care possible, however this is not the case, nor am I the only one who has suffered from lack of funds determining a healthy outcome. We are a wealthy country and knowledgeable society, and the unfortunate truth is that your socioeconomic class determines your level of treatment and health.

This should not be the case, and the really sad part is we have the tools to help aid ourselves, but are denied them because of plethora of issues ranging from inadequate coverage to poor education, of the treatments designed to help you.

A good example of this is when I had acquired a insulin pump. I had to have months of training and education to learn how to use the pump and get the best results as possible. Well the insurance I had at the time did not pay for the education classes, although they were required by the insurance company they were not covered. So I had to pay $275.00 per visit to get the education I needed to operate the pump correctly. This is wasteful stupid and just dumb. They essentially set you up to fail.

Why is so hard to provide you with complete information. You only get the whole picture if you can pay for the extra crap they don't give you. Wasteful. Another example is when I was on financial assistance when I was younger Medicaid only paid for one bottle of insulin a month and only 30 needles. not enough for the leanest of treatments. again setting you up to fail, unless you can afford the extra. It goes on and on, and its just not me, I have seen it with my own eyes, cancer patients held up chemos for insurance debacles and ineptness. Aids patients denied medicine because they had the same pills last month and need new doses. As I said I'm just one of thousands perhaps millions that can't get proper treatment because of our economic statuses. This should not be the case. If the medicine is available it should be available to all its that simple. The government state legislators and insurance companies and hospitals need to get on he same page and remember that they are there to help us and heal us not continuously line their pockets and get rich from our demise. People need to care about each other and make it less about money and we would be a better place. It may sound simple and stupid to some of you, but I can only hope that people will eventually learn that money doesn't help you heaven, but helping others and doing right will get cha in the gate!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Drink it Down

Today I'm getting ready to go out of town for the weekend. I'm visiting Spartenburg with my Aunt Diane to see Gloria. She is an amazing artist. She has been a big  inspiration to me and has encouraged me to be more creative and got me painting again. I always feel rejuvenated after a visit with her, she always gets my creative juices flowing. Diane is hilariously funny and we always have a good time together. Looking forward to the times spent with friends and family.

Everyone I have met  has impacted a part of my life. Some positively some negatively, but either way it surely has taught me lessons about who I want to be as a person. Pessimism is the contagious disease that inflicts its negativity on a positive mind. I believe you must surround yourself with what inspires to achieve you dream. You must feed the inner source of your power with positivity.

The world is a complex place and it can be brutal on you physically, mentally and emotionally, but it can't damage you as much as a pessimistic attitude can. You must see that cup is half full, and then drink from the cup, and know that you will fill the cup again. Optimism is best place to help you achieve your goal, because if you won't be the positivity in your life how can you expect the universe to do it. I'm not saying if you just believe everything you want to happen will, your going to have to get up off your ass and do the work. You just need to be optimistic that you can do anything you set your mind to.

I have set my mind on being the positive and optimistic, because I have done the damn work and I know I'm going to be just fine!!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Diagnosis New Possibilties

I went to a new neurologist yesterday, and got a better understanding of what has been going on with me lately. As you know from my previous post I have been falling quite a bit and I have also blacked out a few times, it has been a little scary and not knowing what was wrong made it even worse. Now armed with some more info about my condition I can begin to heal more. As it turned out I have had a severe B12 deficiency for most of my diabetic life. It has not been diagnosed til now so subsequently I have sustained severe nerve damage from this. I also have autonomic neuropathy from the diabetes as well. These two combined have been responsible for my falls and bit of the dizziness (some of my dizziness is attributed to my orthostatic blood pressure.) treatment will entail B12 injections monthly for the rest of my life. Due to the nerve damage that I have sustained I will need to use a walker or a cane permanently and wear those lovely compression socks. Some nerves may start to repair but that can takes years and as severe as mine neuropathy is that looks less likely.

Now I was a bit taken aback by this information, it was a bittersweet moment. I wanted to know what was wrong, but I wasn't thrilled with aspect of getting a shot every month and needing help in walking. But I will take my lumps and keep moving forward and become a master of jumping hurdles.

My concern now is why this has never been detected before. All the fiery hoops I have jumped through to get transplanted and the plethora of doctors I have seen over the years and no one caught this? All I can say is wow!! I'm astounded and a bit angry about this, but at this point there isn't a too much I can do about it, except take my treatment and do the best I can..

I will continue to keep my positive attitude and hoping that these injections will help with my energy levels and the fatigue I have been battling for so long. The best is yet to come and I will look forward to each new day, because that is one more day I have lived to see.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=buRLc2eWGPQ

Monday, June 9, 2014

Understanding my Journey

I saw a quote yesterday by Mila Bron  that said "I am learning to trust the journey even though I do not  understand it." I cannot think of a more fitting quote than that. I want to understand what is intended for me.
 My journey has been interesting I must say, and a learning experience. Perhaps this what the my journey is supposed to do...teach me lessons.

I have questioned my purpose more than once, but like the quote said, I'M LEARNING. I'm learning to live not just exist.  I believe my journey is to teach me to appreciate humanity's gifts. The gift of life, the gift of just being in the moment and appreciating the extraordinary beauty that exist within us. I understand that there are evils we see everyday, crimes against humanity in ever increasing numbers. We cannot let that diminish the inner strength we all posses. Even during these difficult days. There within must exist hope, for we cannot live without hope...hope in humanity! We have become are own worst enemy.

How sad it is that so many people today do not respect the special gift that is them. Whatever your journey your are on, appreciate the lesson that is hidden inside and let the journey teach you how strong you truly are.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Peace

Today I awoke to a peaceful house, just hearing my dogs gentle slow rhythmic breathing seemed to calm me, and give me a since of peace. I like that I can just be in silence sometimes, you get to hear and see things you normally would overlook. The birds are bit louder the sun a little brighter the grass a bit greener. You get to truly listen.

I often find my quiet time can help me think without distraction, and I do meditation to help me focus on my inner self. This helps me heal and cope with the daily issues that I deal with. Despite any illness or complications or joys my day entails, there lies my reality. I still have a life and household to run. Bills need to be paid, appointments made, grocery shopping, cleaning etc. So being relaxed helps me handle all my tasks for the day and not get overwhelmed.

Each day is new, full of promise with new and familiar experiences that enhance my life. I don't pop out of bed in this zen place, but I try very hard to be there as much as possible. Anger begets hate that leads to stress which leads to anxiety which leads absolutely nowhere. We are not guaranteed a certain amount of time, I have learned mine is precious and I'm certainly don't want to waste mine getting myself into a tizzy.

Take a moment everyday and sit with yourself and get to know who you are. Silence can be a friend to you don't be afraid to hear your true self. You will amaze yourself at how wonderful you are.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happiness

I have always believed that if I wasn't sick I would be happy. If I was never a diabetic I would be happy, the truth is I gave my illness power over my happiness. I know now that was a huge mistake because ultimately diabetes controlled me not me controlling it. After my transplant I really started to understand what makes me happy and by happy what it means to truly live your life. My life was never what I would call easy but who really has a perfect life not many that is for sure. For those people that have perfect lives and are perfectly happy with their lives are rare and have figured out what truly makes them happy and motivates them. For me though, it took a while because I went through a series of blaming circumstances that I believed prevented my happiness such as diabetes, poverty, parents being divorced, in and out of hospitals etc.. Then I slowly came to realize that I could no longer let  my bad experiences determine my happiness!!

My transplant really helped me realize what was important in my life. I made a simple decision to be thankful humbled, and happy. I decided that my circumstances could no longer define me. I am not just a diabetic, I'm a person that happens to have had diabetes. what a refreshing way of thinking that was for me. to no longer let the labels we place on ourselves define us. How fortunate I am to know what truly makes me happy now. Being ALIVE MAKES ME HAPPY!! holding hands with my husband, watching the sunrise, feeling the sun on my face, or rain on my head! That makes me happy, not being controlled by limitations, but accepting the fact that my life is always changing and evolving and getting to experience these changes is a blessing not a curse. Happiness for me  is being alive, it's that simple!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

That little voice

I haven't blogged in a few days, nothing bad happened just had too much going on lately to even keep a straight thought. Bill had his procedure with his kidney stones, and it went very well.  He also got a diagnosis for his knee, he tore his right meniscus. The doctor said it would be a easy repair, but a long recovery. The remodel in our guest room turned out nicely, so all in all things are looking up for us.

Now with all the catching up and pleasantries addressed lets delve into my topic for today which is having the ability to help yourself and listen.

 I have come to realize that everything I have ever dealt with whether it be a medical issue or a  challenging problem at my job, home, or a relationship I had to be able to think clearly and ask questions to get to the root of the problem so I can tackle whatever the issue  is with  knowledge, conviction, and determination. Now I know thinking clearly isn't always a possibility but that's why we have to that little voice in our head, to kind put us on auto pilot when we need to take a step back. The problem with that is simple, we rarely listen, even when we know we should stop and collect ourselves we plow forward head on and  into a mess. then shake your fist towards heaven and say why me? Really?? We all have the ability to help ourselves. We need to listen to what our minds and bodies already know. We get clues all the time we just have to teach ourselves not ignore the obvious. I'm not saying if you listen to your conscious that everything will hunky dory, I'm just simply saying that making a bad decision once or twice is a lesson to be learned from, but doing the same thing over and over again with a bad result is a mistake. Trust yourself more and be kinder to yourself and most of all listen to that little voice it knows more than you think.