What Happens When I Can’t Afford My Meds?

It’s been its usual challenging week at Team Presley Compound, starting with a cryfest on Sunday. Life just isn’t right when you don’t have all your kids around you. It’s just not. Not when you’re a mama, getting older, less mobile. I miss everything about life as we once knew it. Well, I don’t miss being single. Not much. I do love that hubbers.

Then, Monday first thing I get an email that my Pristiq is no longer covered at the usual 80 dollar copay. It will now be in excess of 225 bucks. Okay. Not sure what went awry there. But since I have an aversion to phones (kinda funny since my job is on phones), I shot them a message. Received a reply in the middle of the night, unable to understand it, so I had to call them. Apparently, the generic has been released (I thought that was not supposed to happen until 2020) so if I want to continue to get Pristiq, I will have to pay 225 dollars. I can get the generic for 80-both out of my budget. I was paying FOUR DOLLARS. I had my system down! Why they mess with me like this. So I pulled up my draws, and realized, we are going to have to do some work here. This may work for you too, so I wanted to share it.

First thing I did was go to www.goodrx.com  and look up the generic med in my area. The cheapest thing to pop up for Desvenlafaxine Succinate ER (aka Pristiq!) was Health Warehouse, an online pharmacy service. I could get a month there for $57 WITHOUT insurance. I didn’t even present it- in fact, they don’t even TAKE/PROCESS insurance. So- if you don’t have insurance, you can still use this place. www.healthwarehouse.com. PS- GoodRX operates from an app as well, which I have on my phone. We were without insurance for 2 months, and I had to have certain meds. They helped me find the cheapest in a 30 mile radius – however many miles I was willing to drive. I got my Imitrex prescription for $10 at Kroger in Myrtle Beach, SC – had to drive a few more miles but I was also able to fill up with that CHEAP SC gas! That’s an app you need for sure. I use it a LOT.

Second, I got on my patient portal for my doctor and messaged her and asked her to send my prescription for the generic (Desvenlafaxine Succinate ER) to Health Warehouse. If you are not signed up for your patient portal, trust me, you need to be! I used to not be signed up for any of my docs, but now I get my appointments this way, keep my labs all together, and access lots of info just at the touch of a button. I can message each of my docs and they all message me right back. It is huge. In fact, I would seriously consider changing docs if they didn’t have a portal; it’s so beneficial to me now.  So I got on my portal and messaged my doc and she messaged me back the same day that she sent the prescription.

Third, I had an appointment already scheduled that same day for another doc- my rheumatologist. I printed all the paperwork off for Pfizer’s Patient Assistance Program (I already knew about this because of (a) my job, and (b) I had already attempted to apply 2x in the past- once I was denied due to income when I was working, and once I stopped the process because I was getting my prescription for $4 a month! I was ok with that. But this is an emergency, so I am restarting the process, and just so happens that two of my other higher copay meds are Pfizer meds and I can apply for all of them- just a few to help you out- Lyrica, Caduet, Pristiq, Celebrex, and MANY more- and you can apply for them all in one shot- if you are approved for one you are approved for all. I took all of the paperwork to my Rheumy office, because they prescribed the Celebrex- trying to keep it legit. She just took the whole pack and filled it all out. I didn’t expect that. She was great. I have had another doc do that before also- and also one who didn’t- so it just depends on who you’re dealing with. They even tell you what your income limits have to be- basically for a family of four, you have to have an income under 90,000ish- 400% of FPL (federal poverty level). So I mailed all the paperwork today and should hear back within 2-3 weeks about a decision and then they tell me how to get my meds. Joy! I feel pretty good about it. I sure don’t think God just allowed all that to flow so smoothly just to drop the ball. We will problem solve it all the way through.

So- like I said- it takes some work and some research. Meds don’t fall into your lap- but there are ways to get what you need for you, your kids, family, even your animals I think….but you have to do a little work. I am glad to help with what I know if you message or comment.

Blessings! Alexandra

A Lengthy Summary In Attempt To Introduce Myself and My Illness- Part 1

I have tried to start blog after blog about this but I think the timing was never right. It feels right now. And beyond that, I have felt a lot of push from the chronically ill community and seen so many issues pertinent to the chronically ill community that I felt needed a voice. I have found tools and programs that might benefit you if you suffer from a condition or from pain. I have to share. So you may find grammatical errors, spelling errors. I’m going to do my best but I’ve been out of English class a long time.

In 2010, I found out that I had two herniated discs in my cervical region. After many failed non-surgical therapies, it became evident that I was not getting well- in fact was worsening- and I went ahead and had an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion, which was the recommended surgery for this issue.

Three months after the fusion, still no improvement- although my doc was supposedly the best (I do think he was probably one of the best!). My pain management doctor recommended physical therapy so I started that in hopes that my pain would decrease. After about 3 sessions, I lost range of motion in my right shoulder and had sharp pains there. A visit to an orthopedist and and MRI later revealed that I had a rotator cuff tear. Easy peasy! Just ripping apart like an old tattered rag doll. At my neck surgery follow up, the surgeon said the neck looked perfect- I should be pain-free! I felt like a failure because I was probably the farthest thing ever from pain-free.

So, about 6 months out of surgery, and about to move out of town, I was facing another surgery. I basically just said no, I can’t do it. I just have to wait. I connected with a new orthopedist about a year later, and he checked my tear. It was gone- healed! Now if the rest of me would just follow suit I would be in business.

Before I moved, my pain and the fatigue (which I thought was due to the pain) was affecting my work terribly. I always thought I was going to get better- if I could just find the right medication, right therapy, right doctor, right exercise program, right MLM smoothie, pray the right way, have the right person pray over me, there was something out there that was going to give me the results I needed. I would have been willing to go to a Benny Hinn crusade at that point, not kidding. Anything at all. After having to leave my hospice job, the first job I got at our new home, the job I had longed for, I mentally started to really lose it. It wasn’t the first time (ask my kids) (on second thought, don’t). But it was probably the worst. The kind of lose it when you start to laugh hysterically when you start talking about how bad things are. Losing it. To the point I started scaring myself, scaring my friends. I was drinking too much and doing a lot of things too much. Sleeping too much. Not eating enough. I was seriously not doing well. It was the grace of God that kept me alive- cause at this point, I sure didn’t want to be.