Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IC Should Stand for Insane Cost

Today I am going to talk about a part of IC I haven't talked much about yet: the financial aspect of having IC. On an everyday basis, I am pretty much a private person about money (I don't like to tell people my household income, rent price etc.), but I think it is important to address this issue with specific examples so people can really understand the burden this illness causes many people in so many ways. 

Since I got married in September, I really didn't want to have to go through a bunch of procedures and appointments in August and September, so I am kind of paying for it now, playing catch up with a a lot of doctors.

Last week I had to go to my Vulvodynia specialist in Philly. This is what it cost me:

Bridge toll: $5
Parking lot fee: $15 (This may seem insane to some, but this place has no private parking and in Philly and NYC unfortunately many lots cost this price) I couldn't drive around looking for a cheaper lot or I would have missed my appointment.
 Co-pay: $25
I was given a new prescription cream: $50!! (lovely...sarcasm) 

So my total cost of visiting the Vulvodynia specialist totaled $95, not including gas used in my car.

Then this week I had to go back to my new IC specialist:

Bridge: $5
Parking: $6 (this place has its own lot...yay)
Co-pay: $25

I was not given any med changes, so no cost there. So my total for that appointment was $36 which is a more refreshing number than the $95 total at the other doctor.

However, there is more to this story. The doctor found an in office treatment for me to start at the end of the month (yay). I really need to try this treatment to get pain flares under control. The downside? I have to go to this office for six weeks straight. So the parking, bridge and co-pays for the six visits will amount to $216 dollars.

This is all on top of the 16 weeks of physical therapy I am already involved in at $25 a pop (so $400 total) and the medications I take each month: one costs $5, one costs $15 and one costs $36.

I remember the days right out of college when I would ask myself "what happened to my money?" and it would turn out I spent my extra cash on sushi, cocktails or shoes. Now I definitely spend a lot of my budget on IC.

As frustrating as spending this money is, I want people to be aware that I am in NO WAY the worst case scenario. I have good health insurance through my husband. I know tons of ladies with IC with no health insurance or not so good health insurance and these costs are a TON more for those people if they can even afford the treatments at all. I know I am blessed to have health insurance and to be able to afford my treatments.

Since there is no set in stone cure for IC a lot of patients spend a ton of money trying different treatments with the hope that maybe, just maybe something will help.

So the next time your friend with IC says she needs to stay in to save some money, go easy on her, it is likely not an excuse. Having IC is expensive. It is an expense people without chronic pain don't really have to think about.


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