Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Best Endo Appointment EVER!

Remember your toughest class in high school? Remember studying for days, weeks even, for the final exam? And although you studied as much as humanly possible, even after writing the exam and answering every question, you felt as though the result could go either way. It could just as easily be a brilliant "A+", or a disastrous "F".

I feel that way every time I go to my 6-month endo appointment.

I've been dreading this appointment for the past month, but thankfully, today was one of those "A" days. My latest A1C results came in at a 6.6% - the lowest it has ever been in the past 2 years. All other numbers were well within range as well. And best of all, my blood pressure was 110/70. Doc and I were both pleased.

I also met with my diabetes nurse/educator (I'm still not sure what her official title is). She gave me one of her samples of the new One Touch UltraMini meter, which is not available in Canada for another couple of weeks. It's a blue one though - no pretty pink or green for me. Oh well, I'm just glad to have it. It is a bit bigger than I expected, but the case is definitely more compact than any other meter I have.

I asked about CGMS and my nurse was glad to hear that I am interested in it, she is very pro CGMS. She showed me the Minilink transmitter for the Paradigm, and it's a lot smaller than I thought it would be. So I am definitely seriously considering purchasing the Minilink and a pump upgrade this summer.

I asked her if she'd heard of any patients getting insurance approval, but she wasn't sure. She recommended that I apply for the Disability Tax Credit. The amount I could potentially receive back on my taxes from this credit would be enough to cover a few months of supplies.

To give you some background, a couple of years ago Revenue Canada (our IRS) allowed diabetes to be included under the definition of life-sustaining therapy (scroll to page 7). Their criteria is proof of at least 14 hours per week spent on therapy. What stinks is that carb counting is not to be included as part of the 14-hour requirement - I don't know about you, but I think it's an extremely important part of insulin therapy. There is a diabetes advocacy group in Canada trying to get carb counting included in the definition.

I did apply for the Disability Tax Credit with my 2005 tax return, but it was denied by the paper pushers at Revenue Canada. That was back when I was still on MDI. My nurse said that I should have appealed it, but said that now that I'm on the pump I should definitely apply again since they consider pump therapy to be more time consuming. If my request is denied, she said to appeal until they approve it. She said dealing with the government is very much like dealing with the insurance companies - the first time around they usually deny requests, hoping to discourage people from pursuing the issue further.

Anyway, regardless of what happens, after I sell my house and have some extra money, I do plan to pursue CGMS.

My appointment ended on a very high note, with my nurse commending my self-care. She called me a "model patient", and said she wished I lived closer to the Diabetes Centre (I travel 1.5 hours each way for my appointments) because she would like me to be a pump mentor for new pumpers. It was a grand compliment, and certainly made my day.

It was nice to hear the "model patient" bit... it's easy not to feel that way on the days when chocolate calls my name.

Edit 05/30/07 @ 8:30 a.m.: I should include the note that a claim for the Disability Tax Credit is in ADDITION to any medical expense claims. It is a flat credit, regardless of how much is spent on medical supplies.


Bams said...

Congratulations on the outstanding A1c!! And isn't it good to hear from your doctor/health professional that you're doing a good job? Thats awesome that she had great praise! And a new meter! Let us know what you think about it, all the talk about this meter is getting me interested...Way to go!

jill. said...

glad that you had a good appointment! thanks for the link :)


Bernard said...

Good job, many congratulations.

I do hope you can get the tax credits. That would help a lot I'm sure. Here in the USA it's different, but not necessarily any easier to get coverage for diabetes-related stuff.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Way to go! An overall awesome appointment!

Drea said...


I do not have coverage for anything to do with my CGMS....BUT apparently word has it the clinical guidelines are being released in Canada (Dr Ian Blummer is writing them) in October 2007, and that is what insurance companies need to evaluate coverage....so I am hoping my fight will be successful after that release!!!

LORI said...

That's good to hear, Drea - thanks for the info!

How about the Disability Tax Credit? Have you applied for it? Any success? How many appeals did it take if you were successful?