Welcome to the place I come to complain about my psoriasis.
Please feel free to comment on any post, be it a response to something I've said or to share your own story/thoughts/advice/etc.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Health Insurance Company is a Pain In My...

Everything was perfectly lined up for me to get the light box I wanted:  my dermatologist fashioned a letter of medical necessity for me and wrote a prescription for the phototherapy unit, I filled out the required paperwork on my end, and the representative from the lightbox company was doing the dirty work of fighting with my insurance company to get them to cover the lightbox as an in-network provider, though they were actually out-of-network (which means they would cover 80% instead of 60%).

I was really excited about the lightbox I chose.  It was a full body unit that closed up and looked like a cabinet.  I could even choose the finish and I wanted a nice wood to look more like a cabinet.  But then I get a call from the representative...with bad news.  Not only was my insurance company not willing to view the lightbox company as an in-network-provider, but they weren't even willing to work with them as an out-of-network provider.  WTF???

I thanked the rep for all of her hard work and let her know I appreciated her fighting for me.  I then spent several hours on the phone.  I found out that there was only one lightbox model that my insurance company would allow me to get.  It's not as nice as the one I was originally looking at, and I can only treat half my body at a time, so I have to do two treatments in one sitting to get my whole body.  But anyway, it took 3 weeks of communication with all 5 parties involved: the insurance company, my dermatologist, the medical equipment provider, the unit manufacturer and myself.  My dermatologist re-wrote a new Rx and updated my letter of medical necessity.  I filled out new forms.  Back and forth, forth and back with emails and phone calls.  It felt like it was never going to happen.  And then I hear the good news:  THIS LIGHTBOX WAS COVERED 100%!!!  Well, because my out-of-pocket maximum was met, which was met very quickly this year by having a baby.  Making this the perfect year to get a lightbox!

So last Wednesday the light box showed up late afternoon, in two large boxes.  I anxiously waited for my husband to get home from work so we could put it together.  I read through the manual and all of the included materials.  This lightbox comes preloaded with a set number of authorized treatments and then I have to get a code from my dermatologist for a new prescriptions worth of treatments.  Interesting...

So first thing Thursday I call my derm.  I am told my derm received a packet from the lighbox company and we need to sit down and plan a course of treatments.  I get an appointment for first thing the following morning.

I leave the appointment with a plan of action for a course of treatments and a follow-up appointment for two months later.  I get to go home and have my first phototherapy treatment session IN MY OWN HOME!  In a lightbox that I  own!  Mine!  Forever!  Fully paid for by insurance!

So I'm pretty stoked.  I've done two sessions now and my skin is already reacting.  It's not vanishing, but I can tell the plaques are thinning.  The manual states that about 20 sessions are usually required to see it go bye-bye.  We shall see.  I don't think it'll take that long.  But I'll let you know!

Ahhhhh.  I'm so glad I don't have to drive 45 minutes each way to go for a minute and a half treatment 3 times a week!  What a time saver.  This is great.

Oh, BTW this is the lightbox I got: http://www.natbiocorp.com/panosol-3d.htm
I like that it doesn't take up loads of space and plugs into a regular electrical outlet.

Anyway, I'll be back with an update another time.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

IIIIt's Baaaaack...

Should I be surprised the vicious circle continues?  No, but it still manages to disappoint me every time.

Yeah, I know.  Where the hell have I been?  lol.  Huh...who would've thought parenting was so time-intensive?  Ha, kidding.  I've been busy loving the poop out of my baby girl since she was born this past March.  Man, she is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen; she mesmerizes me.  Every adorable smile, chuckle...  Amazing.

Being a Mom aside, it's not like I posted regularly before anyway ;)

But yes, I regret to say I've returned to piss & moan about my psoriasis again.  I was pretty clear up until about two months post-partum, but then within days of me starting up birth control pills breakouts were popping up all over my arms and legs.  Since I'm a nursing mother, options for treating are limited.  Certain topicals are OK (but don't work), and then there's light box again.  Light box worked before.  Light box is expensive, too.  Depending on how many treatments a week, it costs anywhere from $27-108 a week before deductable is met with insurance (which, on the high end, can be about the same monthly expense as having a new car payment), but is covered 100% once the deductable is met (a few Gs).

So I decided to finally follow through on my researching getting a light box for home.  At the cost of the co-pays of going to the office for treatment, which is inconveniently 45 minutes away from home, plus I've got a 4-month old tot in tote, it makes more sense to own my own.  Turns out, getting a light box for home is the same price - if not cheaper - than the deductable when going to the doc's.  So after a year of treatments, it's paid for itself.  It's like pay a year and get a lifetime of treatments for free! lol.  Oh, provided insurance wants to co-operate.

To try to get the insurance company to pay for "60-80%" of one of these fine pieces of medical equipment, which run between $4000-$7000, plus a few hundred bucks for shipping, I need my dermatologist to fashion a letter of medical neccesity that lists the different treatments that have failed in the past, reminds the insurance company of other costly options, such as Humira (which costs insurance about $24,000!!!), and describes the positive results light box has previously shown.  As well as write a prescription.  I also need a representative from the light box company fighting with the insurance company on my behalf.  My Dr is willing to write the letter and Rx, and I have a lovely rep that's working with me from a light box company I've chosen, so now we're just waiting for the pieces to fall into place.  I'm anxious, excited, hopeful.

So that's where I stand as of late. I hope to provide an update soon regarding my own home lightbox!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just a Quick Check-In

Hello, I know it's been a while but I wanted to post a brief update.

Since my last post, my skin had nearly completely cleared, and my UVB light therapy sessions had been decreased to once a week at half the light strength.  I am still doing UVB once a week.

As the cold, dry air set in for the winter, and stress picked up with school final exams and projects, as well as holiday stress, I have since gotten some spots that have been growing in size.  The spots are very thin, hardly flaky, hardly itchy, but are large.  They are located between my calves and knees.  I also have some small spots on my forearms.  Since I have been attending light box for almost a year, we have not increased the light strength or number of weekly sessions.  I am still using Triamcinalone no more than 2x a week.  My spots are quite dry and no lotion/cream seems to be helping.  CeraVe has been highly recommended to be, but at the cost of it and considering I can put it on at 3pm and look visibly dry by 8pm, I am finding it isn't worth it.  My dermatologist has suggested I use Vasoline or any other thick salve to help moisturize.  I have A&D ointment, so I started using that last night, though I hate smelling like a diaper.  I will certainly not be using A&D as a diaper ointment for my daughter!  I am opting to use Burt's Bees products for her.

I have informed my dermatologist that after the birth of my daughter (in less than 6 weeks!), I will be taking a break from UVB therapy to focus on motherhood.  Since I will be nursing, I will not be picking up an alternative solution.

I am still on the fence about the whole psoriasis-candida connection.  When my skin cleared up this summer, I was eating as I normally would, so if candida were the problem, wouldn't my psoriasis have resisted clearing up?  I love yeast breads and baked goods so I'm not giving those up unless I absolutely need to, and I'm not sure how necessary it is.

I should also note that I had continued taking the critical care probiotic for some time, but then got lazy, which runs hand-in-hand with when I started getting busy with the holidays and what-not and my skin got worse.  I just started taking a regular strength probiotic again (about a week ago) but when it comes time to buy more, I will be going back to critical care, to see if it improves my skin.  Clearly, I still wonder about a link between the digestive system and psoriasis, which is why I haven't completely ruled out candida as a possibility.

I know, I know.  I need to post photos.  I need to be blogging in a more regular fashion too, though I can't promise anything with the baby coming.  I know those first few months after birth are going to be busy and tiring.  I just keep my fingers crossed that since my psoriasis journey has been so difficult, I won't be passing it onto my daughter because I bear the brunt of it.

Hope to post again soon!