News of the Rae

Today, I was thinking about how much I miss actively participating on LiveJournal. What I really have been missing is reading about what’s actually going on in my friends’ lives (as opposed to looking at memes about politics, sarcasm, and incorrect grammar), and writing about what’s going on in mine.  Twitter and FB are absolute shit for emotionally meaningful communication, and the only way for me to remedy things is to do some writing myself and to reach out to friends on the phone or Skype.

Medical Insurance Is A Lot Of Work

This week has been fucking crazy. I’ve gotten calls from almost every medical care provider I’ve worked with in the last 3 years because Humana was given incorrect information by BCBS of MN with regard to my coverage, and they sent out letters to those providers requesting a refund of the money they paid for my medical care.  You can just imagine how many providers I’ve seen in 3 years with my health being the way it is. Needless to say, a tiny mistake turned into a ridiculous clusterfuck (and one hellacious panic attack) for me.

See, BCBS does identification numbers weird.  Our family has 1 identification number and 3 member numbers, one for each of us. When CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) and Humana asked BCBS how long I’d had coverage, they only provided the identification number (because, apparently, all the other insurance companies have unique identification numbers for each person), without knowing that there were 3 members under that number. This lead to a simple, but unfortunately large, misunderstanding, since Adam’s had BCBS since 2011. It also lead to about 30 minutes of actual talking and 4 hours of sitting on hold to clear this shit up.

insurance

So accurate that it hurts.

In the end, it all boiled down to BCBS needing to fax a letter to both Humana and CMS letting them know that my coverage only started in January of this year. I just had to call back and forth between the different organizations and talk to different CSRs, explaining the situation over and over again. (For the record – customer service at BCBS is much faster to get a hold of and to work with than that at Humana.)

But I learned important things!  Like that every insurance company has a department devoted to the coordination of benefits, and that if you are on Medicare or Medicaid and you purchase private insurance or change providers, you absolutely must call CMS (at 1-855-798-2627) and also let their coordination of benefits department know, so your billing doesn’t get all jacked up.

I also learned that if you have Medicare (or Medicaid), and you choose to purchase another policy from a private insurance company, then the private insurance will always be your primary insurance, and Medicare (or Medicaid, or whatever other state-based insurance) will be your secondary.

Pharmaceutical-Grade Supplements Are Totally Worth It (For Me).

Also filed under “crazy” this week (but in the crazy GOOD category), I weighed myself after 2 weeks on the diet and supplement regimen prescribed to me by the endocrinologist I saw at BodyLogicMD.  I lost 7 pounds!  That’s a tenth of how much I want to lose, and it happened without any frustration.

This may not seem like the biggest deal in the world to anybody but me, but I seriously have been trying to lose weight for years with no success. I went paleo for months at a time. I weightlifted. I tried South Beach. I tried doubling my cardio. I tried calorie restriction, eating 1000 calories a day or less for a couple of weeks.  I  GOT PREGNANT AND HAD A BABY, and still had no change. (I seriously gained a total of 18 pounds with the pregnancy and lost 10 of it when Henry came out, and went right back to the same weight I had started at within a week.)

But now, I have movement on the scale, and all I’ve been doing is taking the supplements (prescribed based on deficiencies that showed up in my bloodwork), eating small meals every 3 hours (just like during pregnancy), drinking at least 64 oz of water a day, and not eating bread or pasta. I’ve been eating rice. I’ve been eating potatoes. I haven’t been working out. And the weight just  disappeared.

Another bonus: I have a ton of energy that I haven’t had in years. It’s amazing to me. I didn’t even expect that it would affect my fatigue… but it has.  There have been days where I didn’t even feel like I have MS. I mean, I went 2 whole weeks without an energy drink, or even 2 cups of coffee.  I don’t think that’s happened in the last 10 years.

But What About BioIdentical Hormones?

The doc at BodyLogicMD also prescribed me some bioidentical hormones to help with MS and seizures.

Based on the studies on estriol that have come out of UCLA, she put me on an estriol cream. It looks like it should be as effective at staving off relapses as Copaxone, at least for the first year.  I start it tomorrow.  I’m hopeful that it will be just as good as a DMD.

I’ve been very lucky not to have any progression since coming off Gilenya in February of 2014 to conceive Henry.  Dr. Javed wants me back on something if we’re not actively trying to conceive, but I have yet to try a disease-modifying drug for MS that isn’t somehow worse than the disease itself — so I’m keen to give Estriol a try, since the second and third trimesters of pregnancy were very much like a vacation from MS.

I’ll be starting a daily progesterone pill on Day 12 of this cycle to help combat catamenial  (read: caused by hormonal fluctuations around menstruation) seizures. When I was pregnant, I went for months at a time without a seizure. It is my most profound hope that I can return to a life where seizures are a “sometimes” thing and not an everyday occurrence.

I’ll be sure to let everyone know how these therapies affect me.

But for now, my honey just got home, and I wanna go give him kisses. ❤

love

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All Hail Second Nap!

Good Lord, have I been having a hard time getting to write recently!  So much has happened since my last entry. Fortunately, the little guy is down for his second nap, so allons y!

Happy Birthday, Hugabug!

13122875_10209419410351888_2676262525585641334_oA couple of weeks ago, my little guy turned 1. We celebrated on his actual birthday with the Majka family, and then the Shapiros came into town the next morning and stayed the weekend to celebrate Henry’s 1st and my Dad’s 59th birthday, too.

Our family gets SLAMMED at the end of April. Henry was born on the 29th, Uncle Stuart (my mom’s brother) was born on the 30th, and Aunt Caren (mom’s sister) and my dad were born May 1st.  So, we have 4 birthdays in 3 days. No big deal.

sillyhenry

I can’t love this little goober or his birthday tuxedo more.

Not for nothing, I think that we have an interesting birthday pattern happening. I grew up with my aunt and my dad having the same birthday (but different years). Henry gets to grow up with his mom and his Uncle Nick having the same birthday, all the way down to the year.  If he ends up marrying someone that shares a birthday with one of his future siblings, I will be consulting an astrology expert to find out the real meaning of it all. *lol*

The stats.  At 1 year, Henry was 24 pounds and 30 inches tall. He took his shots like a champ.

Obviously, being the daughter and granddaughter of doctors, I’m a fan of vaccinations — but I’m so glad we’re able to protect him against chicken pox. I had it so badly that I still remember how it felt, even though I was really, really young when it happened. (It was in my ears, people, and between my toes, and pretty much, well, everywhere.) I have a special place in my heart for Caladryl.

He is cruising. Adam and I are sure he will walk any day now. He’s just not doing it yet, for whatever reason. He can hold on to stuff and move quickly and easily. He climbs up and down from the couch. He is eating solids, like cereal puffs and baby cheesy poofs, and he’s learned how to drink the purees from the pouch instead of having me spoon-feed him. He still isn’t comfortable with using the spoon himself, but that will come with time.

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Smash cake tastes good!

And what else? His favorite TV shows right now are Sesame Street, Creative Galaxy, and Tumble Leaf — though he still brightens up when I put on Daniel Tiger, and he’s shown some interest in Peep and the Big Wide World.

He’s babbling like crazy. I expect he will be speaking in sentences within the next few months.  He has several words – Mama, Dada, Nah-Nah (Grandma), Buuuh (book), Bahbah (bottle), and Lahyew (love you) are the most common we hear.

He also has started fighting sleep. So, getting the kiddo to go down for naps has been an exercise in patience and mindfulness. Right now, for example, I can tell he’s awake. He’s smacking his headboard and turning on and off his mobile, but he’s not crying, so I’m letting him be. He’s got a couple of stuffies in his crib, so I’m sure he’s enjoying talking to them.

Health Crap

Speaking of exercises in patience and mindfulness… let’s talk about my health for a second.

Last time I wrote, I had to get an MRI of my liver. Well, I did that. And the gastroenterologist told me she was worried, based on the images, that I might have a tumor.  I did blood work for that, and thankfully, I don’t have one.  She does, however, want me to get another MRI in 3 months. I’m not really sure why, but I’ll be asking when I see her at the end of this month. I’m also not sure if I have a positive diagnosis of NAFLD, but I’m trying to lose weight anyway.

I also finally saw an endocrinologist.  Turns out that I’m terribly chromium deficient, which is causing me to become insulin resistant. My cortisol is also totally out of whack, and the combination of those 2 things means that losing weight isn’t something that my body will agree to. It believes, very firmly, that I need to hold on to all my fat… you know, because winter’s coming.

So, I’m making some big lifestyle changes to change my body’s mind. I’m on a bunch of new pharmaceutical-grade supplements that are helping with energy (I have to take, like, this whole handful of them 3 times a day), and I’ve started a new diet (which is basically the same as The Primal Blueprint, but allows legumes) where I have to eat every 3 hours (or else I get dizzy). I also have to drink about 100 oz of water a day.

As for other hormones: I’m starting estriol in a cream form in a few days as a treatment for my MS (arguably better than any of the currently-available DMDs) and bio-identical progesterone pills to help control catamenial seizure activity instead of going back on Seasonale.

The goal is to get down to what’s considered “healthy” BMI before I get pregnant with baby #2. I am disciplined enough to do the diet and exercise, but I have to hope that my body will play along nicely enough to allow me to get the exercise done. It will be a slow road, since I can’t get my heart rate up too much or I’ll cause seizures.

Fortunately, I have really good support from my heath care providers and my family, and a membership to a 24 hr gym with a cold lap pool. It could be a heck of a lot worse.

Aaaand Henry’s starting to sound not so happy, so this has to be it for now. Hope you’re all doing well. ♥