Money: The Biggest Challenge to Sticking With Meds

Brooke Davidoff
Brooke Davidoff

I cut my finger on a can and freaked out. I would not touch my son. We were home alone in the kitchen making lunch; he was crying and I was bleeding. Staring at my finger, as the blood slowly trickled down, it felt so weird to look the enemy in the face for the first time since being diagnosed.

YOU, it's you who poisoned me. I wonder if cancer patients ever look at a body part that's cancerous and yell at it, or talk to it and ask it to go away.

Meds: My meds are what keep me undetectable. Money: Money is what keeps me from sometimes getting my meds.

When I have my meds, I take one dose of Isentress (raltegravir) at lunch. I take my other Isentress before bed with Bactrim (co-trimoxazole) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC).

I'm pretty good with remembering them, except on weekends when I'm not sitting at my desk at work and I space out about my pills. I try to keep a few on me at all times in case we randomly don't come home.

When I was told that all I would have to do is take my meds in order to live a normal life, I thought to myself, Wow, this is going to be easy.

I used to be on a plan where my meds were mailed to me every month. It did not matter if my bill from last month was paid or not; the meds were mailed out.

My new health insurance is not so easy. I have to go into the pharmacy and pay for the meds at the time of pickup. I don't always have money in the bank when I need my refill.

One income for three people with no financial assistance is NOT so easy. We qualify for free food once a week from Lifelong AIDS Alliance; without this free food, I have no idea what we would do. We do NOT qualify for food stamps; I make too much money for that. I ordered my refill for my medications more than a month ago. Waiting to have the funds to get my meds is another story. I do qualify for the Early Intervention Program (EIP); however, with the amount of money I make, my co-payments for my meds are not covered. So, I'm not really sure what the point of EIP is yet.

A year and a half into this crap, I can honestly say it's NOT as easy as I thought it was going to be.

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