Friday, March 26, 2010


I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better now.  Monday was the last of the really bad days.  Between the stimulator, ibuprofen, and caffeine, I've been able to keep the pain to a minimum all week.  I went to work (and was productive!) and rode my horses.  The only weird thing is that I'm completely exhausted.  I don't know if it's from battling pain or from the medications I pumped myself full of last weekend.  Oddly enough, I think it's the medications.  It sure makes me wonder how I ever got through YEARS of taking all those drugs.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Worst Week Yet

This past week has by far been the worst one since I got my stimulator last June.  A headaches suddenly came on last Monday afternoon.  I thought it was because I hadn't really eaten all day or because I hadn't had any caffeine after drinking a lot more of it than usual the week before (I was at a meeting all week...had to stay awake somehow).  The stimulator didn't work so I went home, took my Zomig, and went to bed.  Thought it would be okay but I was down all the next day, taking more Zomig along with ibuprofen, which often helps.  I felt a bit better on Wednesday, went to work but still ended up taking my Zomig halfway through the day.  Same story the next few days.  Yesterday (Sunday) I got to the point where I dug out the Vicodin I still have stashed away and took some of that just to try to break the pain cycle.  It worked for a few hours but that's about it so that idea didn't work either.

I know I really shouldn't complain too much because the pain really is nothing compared to what it was last year at this time.  I mean, I'm still able to work for the most part, and I was able to go do a few things this weekend.  But I guess I've just gotten so used to not having pain that I'm now spoiled...if living without pain can really be considered spoiled.  I think it's sad that it is.  Anyway, I've had a few bad headaches (about one a month) since I got the stimulator but I've never had one drag out like this so it's frustrating, and honestly a bit scary.  My mind starts playing that "what if" game:  What if the stimulator doesn't work for me anymore?  What if I go back to all those medications and doctors?  What if I have to have more surgery and more wires?  I try not to do that, but sometimes it's hard not to.

Maybe it's time to go back to some physical therapy...massage, acupuncture, etc., to try to keep these headaches under better control.  Or maybe I just need to move somewhere that has more consistent weather!  Sometimes I think all these spring storms moving in and out affects me.  I hear Costa Rica is nice...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Insurance Update

After my post last month regarding the insurance issues (to put it nicely), I made a LOT of phone calls.  Surprisingly Medtronic, the company that makes the stimulator, jumped right on it and said they would start an appeal case for me.  I didn't even have to do anything!  Talk about good customer service...that company is tops.  I hadn't heard from them in weeks and decided that no news was good news, but then they called the other day.  The rep told me that they had tried to appeal my case but since my other doctor (surgeon) had already appealed it 3 times unsuccessfully, appeals had been exhausted and there was nothing Medtronic could do, so they put the issue back in my hands.  However, the insurance company did tell them that I could submit an appeal myself, and that personal appeals from patients usually weigh in a bit heavier than appeals from doctors (yeah right).  So I am supposed to write them a letter and put everything in history, prior treatments, stimulator experience, and of course why I feel they should pay, including any paperwork I have.  This all seems silly and redundant to me, since I had to give them most of that to get the darn thing approved in the first place but whatever, I guess it's better than dealing with a lawyer.

Being long-winded as I am, I decided that if they want everything, I'll give them everything.  I've already begun writing my appeal and have 5 pages.  I have a feeling it'll be at least 10 by the time I'm done.  They want paperwork?  They'll get paperwork.  I have a lot of it.  Plus I'm a government employee and we are masters of paperwork.

I have a feeling this might turn into a long battle, but I'm ready to fight it.  I still stand by my assertion that $12,000 is nothing to an insurance company, but it's a lot to me and therefore this is worth the effort.

And people think we don't need healthcare reform in this country...