Fasting is not a new thing in general and it’s not a new thing for me personally either. I’ve fasted for surgery, for blood work, and I’ve done intermittent fasting on and off for the past year. I’ve never been a breakfast person so it wasn’t a difficult switch for me to do once I got into ketosis. This time was a little different though as I went for three full days. The longest I had ever gone in the past was 24 hours or so.
I hadn’t intended to fast for 72 hours when I woke up on Friday morning but nothing seemed good to me, and I certainly wasn’t interested in my packed lunch. In the past I would have likely just thought about what could fit my macros and then gone out and purchased something but as I am trying to save money I decided to just wait until I got home to eat. After all, I wasn’t hungry and I had food in my lunchbox if that changed. Once I got home I got busy with odds and ends… cleaning the house, teaching classes, writing up student feedback and etc. and completely forgot to eat. When I realized I’d gone well over 36 hours the next afternoon I figured I may as well push it and see if I could do a 72 hour fast. I had heard of really good results when it came to autophagy and general wellness for a 72 hour fast and I still wasn’t particularly hungry so figured now was the time to try it.
Most of the time during this fast I wasn’t hungry. There were the occasional urges to eat but they were from boredom or that it was the right time with two exceptions so were easy to ignore and go about my day. The first exception was when I was teaching a class all about food. Talking about food and being hungry for 25 minutes made me think hard about going and making something to eat in my kitchen but, as it was the first of 5 classes that night, I was back to being not hungry by the time I was finished teaching for the night and just went to bed without dinner. The second exception was right at the tail end of the fast. I had been cooking hamburgers for meal prep so the house had smelled like burgers for hours and, I’ll admit, I started watching that timer count down to 72 hours during that last hour or so.
The experience was actually really good overall. I felt very relaxed all weekend, got in a simple workout routine, cleaned my house and slept really well. I will definitely try to incorporate at least one of these per quarter if not more often as I hope to see some results with tightening skin (from the autophagy) as I continue to lose weight. I would not suggest going from a carb heavy diet directly into a fast though, it would likely be miserable, at least from my experiences with intermittent fasting and OMAD I can imagine that I would not have made it to the end.
Results of the fast? I started Thursday at 231.4 and ended Sunday at 226.4. That’s a five pound loss, which is amazing. Not all of that stayed gone after eating my first meal, as expected. The next day I weighed in two pounds heavier and the day after one pound down from that weight. So I would say that it leveled out at four pounds lost for the fast after taking into account that first day’s fluctuation. From the autophagy side of things I didn’t notice much of a difference but hope to as I have more loose skin to get rid of. Fingers crossed!
Until next time,
I've had a pretty good year this year for the most part. There were definitely some dips in there and I didn't accomplish everything that I had hoped to have accomplished by now but that's ok, its life. I wanted to do a quick run down updating you on where I stand now and what the plan for the rest of the year is.
One Word Challenge
My word for this year was "Growth"... and I really wanted to change it about two months ago but stuck with it. I think that part of growing is learning about yourself and re-evaluating how you live... and that's what I've been doing, so it still fits. I plan on continuing with this word and continuing to work on eliminating stress and making time for what is actually important in my life.
Goals for 2019 Update
Goal #1: Pay off $5,000 in debt before December 31, 2019.
Goal #2: Lower Expenses (4 parts)
Health & Wellness
Goal #1: Get under 200 pounds before June 30, 2019.
Relationship & Romance
Goal #1: Remain open to the possibility of a wonderful person entering your life. Be proactive in meeting people but also live your best life while single.
Education & Personal Development
Goal #1: Read twelve non-fiction books in 2019.
Career & Business
Goal #1: Complete the TESOL-VIPKid Certification (30 Hours) before June 30, 2019.
Social & Recreation
Goal #1: Host a housewarming party at the new house in the first quarter of the new year.
Goal #1: Get into the Bible daily for 25 out of 30 days in each month.
Goals for Second Half of the Year
Health & Wellness
Social & Recreation
Relationship & Romance
Career & Business
Education & Personal Development
Household & Home Life
That's it for now, check out the video above for a more in depth walk through (and subscribe to my channel!).
Until next time,
I've shared this recipe before on the blog (back in 2015) but I never actually showed you guys how I make it so I decided to fix that this week. It's a staple in my home and I was running low plus had a request from a family friend so it seemed perfectly timed to update this post a bit. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have over the years!
I have been using this recipe for 4 years now and absolutely love it. I even have requests from family friends for batches from time to time. Let me know how you tweak the recipe to fit your needs and preferences. What other DIY household items would you like to see made next?
Until next time,
I disappeared again... but I came back with a renewed plan for my blog. We're going visual! I'm going to start incorporating a lot more video content over on YouTube, some of which may not be here on the blog so head over there and subscribe today so that you don't miss any content. The current planned schedule looks like this:
Sunday: Content Varies but includes Planning, Online Teaching, and Health/Weight Loss
Monday: Monthly Updates (not every week)
Tuesday: Budgeting with a Planner
Wednesday: Budgeting with YNAB
Thursday: Content Varies but includes side hustle, reviews, DIY and “Try It Outs”
Friday/Saturday: Rarely will I post on these days but the occasional post may crop up so subscribe so that you will know.
There may be some deviation as life happens but I've got the next several months planned out (that's where I disappeared to... I had to find a way that was both fun and fit my schedule a bit more). You'll still get a weekly post over here but there will be a lot more content over there with condensed versions over here. Let me know if there are any videos/topics you are interested in!
So... first video of the financial nature: May's financial update. Click below to watch or scroll down for a quick recap.
That puts my Net Worth at:
This is a different calculation than the numbers you are used to getting as it doesn't take into account current monies in the bank (sinking funds and daily expenses plus bills that haven't been taken yet for the month). Here is a graph from YNAB.
I also looked at my annual change per year since 2016. It was pretty cool to be able to look back that far... through the good and the bad choices I've still come a long way!
The last thing I did was plan out what my goals were for this month. You guys get to know first that I already know I can't meet some of them 100% due to some unexpected expenses that cropped up. My poor Roxy needs her teeth cleaned asap (she may lose a tooth) and Bella likely next month but she's not as bad thankfully. Plus I had a tire replaced due to a nail and had to have some serious yard work done that I didn't budget for. I should be able to stick it out and accomplish most of them but yeah, that's all going to add up to a pretty penny for sure.
My other financial goals for month are as follows:
That pretty much sums up this monthly update. I posted a run down of my YNAB budget as well as how to budget in YNAB earlier this week on YouTube if you are interested in viewing that as well.
Until next time,
Medical costs are on the rise and, if you're anything like me, can add up in no time at all. I know that I'm not the average patient when it comes to my annual medical spend (I hit the max every year... thank you chronic illness) but even low utilizers can find themselves paying more than they should for medical care. I wanted to take a few minutes today to pass along a few ways to make sure you are getting the best deal on your medications- the bulk of most people's annual medical cost.
If you haven't yet read my post about questions to ask before choosing a medical plan please click over as the number one way to save money on medications is simply to understand your medical and prescription drug plan.
1. FSA and HSA Plans
Flexible Spending Plans (FSA) and Health Savings Plans (HSA) are accounts you are able to put money into on a per paycheck basis for medical bills on a pre-tax basis. If you have these plans available to you a strongly suggest that you explore those plans and run the numbers in various scenarios as they can save you a lot of money each year. In the case of HSAs they can also let you invest for future health care costs in retirement as well plus both of these plans lower your taxable income which is a plus.
2. Try a Sample First
When you are prescribed a new medication you are typically given a script for a month's supply. Sometimes that new medication simply doesn't work out due to negative side effects or incorrect dosage and the rest of the prescription is wasted as you can no longer take it and have to get a new prescription. This waste- or resources and money- can be stopped by asking for a sample from your doctor before filling th prescription. They can often give you a week or even a month of medication for free to try before you buy as it were. If it works for you- awesome, less money out of pocket for something you love. If not- at least you didn't spend money on something you won't use.
3. Check Your Insurance Program's App
The insurance program's app is often under utilized. Heading to the app can give you an e-card if you don't have a physical card with you can be helpful but they often have price comparison guides, lists of covered medications, contact buttons, and more just a click away so that you can check before you even leave the doctor's office what your costs are going to come out to (estimated of course).
4. Switch to Generics
Generic medications are not the exact same formulation as the name brand but they are very similar and depending on your other medications, treatment needs, allergies, and etc. you could very easily be taking a generic form of a medication and see no difference whatsoever- other than big savings. There are circumstances where people are not able to tolerate one generic form of a medication or must take a specific brand name medication and those circumstance would out weigh the financial situation but the chances are that you can, and should switch to generics whenever possible.
Example (according to GoodRx): EpiPen
5. Ask About OTC Options
If you are on a pricey drug and have seen medications on the shelf at Wal-Mart that claim to treat the same ailment your prescription is treating you might need to switch to that over the counter (OTC) medication. Check with your doctor before making any medication switches as there may be other ingredients or drug interactions that are at play. I am currently on 3 OTC medications that the doctor has included in my daily treatment plan. This does mean that those costs -are not included in my deductible or out-of-pocket max though so I personally pay more per year due to this but I hit that max every year with my medical conditions... for the average consumer this will be more likely to help their budget than hurt it. Run the numbers to find out though and you may even be able to do this in reverse if there is a covered prescription drug rather than the OTC version.
6. Check Your Dosage Options
Just because the medication is double the strength doesn't mean that it is double the cost. Ask your doctor if the medication you are taking two times a day is available in a scored tablet for twice the dosage. If it is you may be able to split the pills yourself each day and save money. Its important to ask if your medication can be split or not as extended release medications, caplets and some other medications cannot be split safely.
7. Price Compare
You may think that the price of your medication will be the same no matter where you pick it up due to your insurance card but that's not actually true sadly. Your insurance provider negotiates the prices of medications with these distributors so the cost varies by where you get your medications. There are apps out there whose sole purpose is to show you the cost of your medications at various pharmacies so that you can make an informed decision on where you fill your medication prescriptions. Combined with your insurance and any coupons you may have or be able to get through any of the options below you could save a lot of money and even get some medications for free!
On this note... you should also ask how much it costs in cash, without insurance when getting medications. Sometimes it can be cheaper without insurance or you can use a coupon you couldn't with insurance to get a better deal. Be aware that going outside your insurance company means that it doesn't count towards the deductibles and out-of-pocket maxes so it may not actually be a better deal long term but depending on your situation it could save you money to go this route.
8. Mail Order/Bulk Delivery
Often times you can get a discount on the medications you take every month by having your doctor write you a script for 90 days rather than 30 days. You can have this 90 day prescription filled by an online pharmacy and shipped directly to your house saving you money on gas as well as the cheaper-per-dose prices for ordering in bulk. I typically use the one my insurance recommends but there are cheaper alternatives sometimes... just be very careful if you do this to verify the legitimacy and legality of having that particular pharmacy ship you your medications.
9. Coupons & Patient Assistant Programs
Bet you didn't know you could coupon medications. You totally can! Not every medication has a coupon or program available but a quick Google search of "Medication + Coupon" or "Medication + Patient Assistance" could net you big savings. I personally am enrolled in a program that pays most of my costs for a medication that costs over $2,000 per month up to $10,000 per year as well as using a coupon for my annual Epi-Pen (generic brand, of course). I have also had coupons for free inhalers and other medications. Many of these coupons and programs have requirements and stipulations (such as being under a certain income, having or not having a certain type of insurance or etc.) and an approval processes but taking the extra time to fill out the forms could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year. The coupons might get you a discounted rate on the medication, a rebate for your medications if you mail in the receipt, or even free medication for a limited time. Most of these are from manufacturers so you do have to get the exact brand which isn't always the easiest to do but its worth it. My pharmacy is special ordering the generic Epi-Pen that I have a coupon for so that I can get the lowest possible price for my necessary medications, it will take a few extra days or maybe even a week but I'm willing to wait as those savings add up.
10. Prescription Savings Cards
This one is one that I will tell you to be careful with. While you can save money at point-of-sale for your medications potentially you may be going around your insurance plan to do so. Doing this means that it isn't being counted in your deductible and out-of-pocket amounts so, like moving to OTC medications, it may actually cost you more in the end if you are going to be getting up towards that out-of-pocket maximum amount by the end of the year so run the numbers and make sure you're making the best decision before you do this. Some cards don't go outside the insurance and work the same as a coupon though... just be careful and ask the Pharmacist to explain all your options and how it will interact with your insurance plan before choosing this option.
11. Pharmacy Discount Plans
Pharmacies are always trying to get customers in the door and need repeat business just like any other business so they often will have discount programs for their customers that they run... especially big-box stores like Kroger and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has a $4 prescription plan for instance for a 30 day supply of medications for a list 2 pages long. If you are taking one of these medications then it would be a good choice to consider them for filling it. They make money off the other medications you fill with them as a repeat customer so it makes sense for them and it makes sense for you as its cheaper. One thing to note here is that if you are getting medications at different pharmacies you should make sure that they all know all medications you are taking. If they don't they can't give you important information about drug interactions or valuable suggestions on alternative options. They may even be able to match price with the pharmacy you are getting your other medication from if you let them know that's why you aren't getting all of your medications from them.
12. State Subsidies and Other Care Plans
Depending on your situation you may qualify for additional assistance from the federal or state government. If you think this could apply to you it is important you reach out to to their assistance agencies to find out if you qualify. These programs are often limited to those in lower income brackets, on other assistance programs, enrolled in Medicare or etc. but looking at all of your options is an important part of advocating for the best possible care you can get.
13. Talk to Your Doctor...
If you have a question about why you are being given a specific medication or if there are alternative options then the best person to ask is your doctor. Being open with them and discussing the financial implications of your treatment plan is the first step towards being an informed, involved participant in your own care which is what we all should strive to become. If you let your doctor know that X medication is higher priced than you can afford and ask for alternatives they can help. Often they are not aware of medication costs as they are not involved in the negotiations your insurance company has annually with drug manufacturing companies, but once they are aware they can help you find an alternative treatment option that is a better fit financially but also works for your health management.
14. Ask Your Pharmacist...
The last tip today is simple to ask the pharmacist: is this the cheapest option? They may know of a coupon or other discount that can save you money on the spot.
I've been wading through this costly medical system most of my life but hopefully you won't have to waste as much money as I'm positive I did over the years while still learning about these options with these tips.
Until next time,
Formulary, Preferred, Generic, Name Brand, Off Label, Pre-approval, Copay, HDHP, PPO, HMO... there are so many possibly unfamiliar terms when it comes to medical insurance. When you are signing up for a medical plan, whether through your employer or the market place, it is imperative that you make yourself an informed consumer. This means taking the time to understand all the ins and outs of the plans available to you and your family. If you are choosing insurance through your employer the Human Resources department can be an invaluable resource for you. They know the ins and outs of your plan(s) and if they don't have an answer to a specific question they can often give you the number of someone who will. It is important to remember that they are still your employer and coworkers so you may not want to share ALL your medical information with them but they can help to explain your plan options in broad strokes so that you can chose the best plan for your family. A few things to look for:
What pharmacies and providers are in-network?
Never ask a provider if they 'take' or 'accept' your insurance- the answer will likely be yes- you want to know if they are in-network. I'm not completely jaded and understand and even trust that most providers will be up front with me if I mess up and ask if they take my insurance but I was burned once, badly, and learned my lesson so no longer do this. In my case I was lied to by a front office staff member at an Urgent Care center and spent the better part of a year fighting about those out-of-network costs with the provider and my insurance company, it was not fun. If there is a provider that it is important that you see then you should call the insurance company and ask if they are in-network before you sign up for a plan and double check with your insurance company before going to a new provider. Going out of network can mean significantly higher costs not just for your specific medication or visit but for the whole year as you have separate in- and out-of-network deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. It may look something like this:
Are there Preferred pharmacies?
This can often save you money as well. You will often see this affecting you when it comes to co-pays and co-insurance so it never hurts to ask. Going across the street could save you 10%!
What is my deductible?
Is there a per person deductible or per family? Does it include prescription medications or is that a separate deductible? Some plans will have a separate prescription deductible that you will have to meet before medications reduce in price or become paid for. This deductible will typically go towards to you out-of-pocket maximum just like your medical deductible but its important to know if you are going to be juggling multiple deductibles.
What is my individual and family out-of-pocket maximum?
If you have one high utilizing family member then its important to note that often plans will include a per-person cap that can keep your costs lower... you many not have to get all the way to the family out of pocket max to stop paying for that person's care for the year. This can be a lifesaver when it comes to the budget.
What medication are formulary or covered?
Check the plan every year, even if your plan has not changed, to make sure that all your current medications are covered. Insurance companies issue a new list of changes each year and you can often find this on the website but if not then simply call in and request it.
How does the co-insurance work?
Once you hit your deductible you will often still be responsible for some of the costs until you reach a higher number, the out-of-pocket maximum. This is usually calculated at a percentage. So if you have a co-insurance of 80% once you hit your deductible that would mean that you are responsible for paying 20% of the cost for your care until you reach that number. In and Out of Network still apply for this portion of your yearly cost so its important to stay in-network if at all possible.
What are the requirements for Specialty medications?
For certain medications, typically higher costing medications and ones that require temperature control, some plans will require you to use their Specialty Pharmacy in order to get them filled. This saves them money which in turn saves you money in the long run but it can be a little frustrating to have to schedule delivery for these medications and call in your payment/authorization to ship each month. If you have a medication that falls under this type of requirement they will let you know when you try to fill it at a retail pharmacy but if you think it may apply to your situation it could speed up the process to simply call the insurance company to ask up front what their policy is in regards to that medication. Processing at these pharmacies takes much longer than your corner CVS so planning your doses out is imperative for these kinds of medications.
How do Prior Authorizations work on this plan?
Certain medications, treatment plans, surgeries or even provider types may require Prior Authorization in order to be covered. These will typically span a length of time and then require renewal if it is an ongoing treatment. This is a pain to go through and number two cause for my personal medical plan headaches but its important to understand and follow this process or you could end up paying the full cost of treatment as the charges will be denied.
I am personally on a medication that costs over $2,000 per month for me to take... you can bet it requires Prior Authorization. Every 6-18 months (depending on how long they authorize the treatment plan) my doctor's office has to file paperwork showing that I still need the care. Sometimes its easy but other times its a fight. Sometimes its just not worth that fight and we will chose an alternative treatment or I will pay out-of-pocket, like i did for my current rescue inhaler. Being prepared for this process and not letting it frustrate you if important- the insurance company is trying to keep their costs down by verifying that the treatment is necessary which helps keep costs from rising even more for everyone.
What do I need to do in order to see a Specialist?
For some types of plans all you have to do is show up to receive covered care but for other you may need a referral. Knowing this up front will save you headaches and money from fees for seeking care without a referral.
Is ____ covered?
If you are looking for a specific type of care then ask up front if it is available on plan and if so how many sessions/how often you are able to get it. A good example of this is chiropractic care. Some plans offer it but they may limit the number of sessions you are able to have covered per year. Other options could be infertility treatments or in-home care. If its not then you may need to purchase supplemental insurance or go with a different plan.
Are there any perks to the program?
I am with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas currently and there are a ton! My plan includes an identify theft program, a gym membership discount plan, teledoc services, free coupons to all kinds of health related retailers, discounted magazines, a wellness points plan and even discounts on services they don't cover like acupuncture and massage at certain providers through one of their free programs. On the wellness plan I get points for doing things like going to the gym, taking an online class, entering my stats quarterly, and etc. which I can exchange for prizes like kitchen gadgets, gift cards, and more. You can bet I participate in this when I have time... a few minutes while waiting around gets me a little closer to a free blender. :)
Does this plan qualify for a FSA or HSA? If so is one offered?
Flexible Spending Plans (FSA) and Health Savings Plans (HSA) are two ways that you can pay for medical costs with pre-tax money. They both have their own requirements as well as good/bad points but having access to pre-tax money can save you quite a bit of money. I'll do a separate post on these plans but if your employer offers them please learn about them and utilize them. They may also have a Limited FSA just for Dental and Vision, a Dependent Care FSA to help pay for childcare expenses pre-tax or an Health Reimbursement Program (HRA) that, while it isn't tax free, is free money to help you meet your medical costs if you submit for it. All of these plans are going to be employer specific in whether they are provided and through which providers but making sure to really understand your benefits package is an important part of providing health care for your family and being an advocate for your own.
I hope this helps you navigate your medical insurance journey.
Until next time,
It’s difficult to explain how important it is to lower my monthly expenses by paying off my student loans- as well as other debt- without explaining where a huge chunk of my annual income goes without any real choices… my medical expenses.
For someone like me who has chronic illnesses, maintaining health insurance coverage can literally be the difference between a fairly normal life and absolute destruction. I make the joke that I work for health insurance but to be honest it’s not much of a joke. According to BCBSTX the billed amount for my medical expenses in 2018, a really good year for me with only one chronic illness really causing problems rather than all three, was $46,823. That’s a full time salary for many in the US and it doesn’t even take into account costs that I incur outside of the insurance plan for uncovered medications and services. In order for me to ever be fully financially independent I need to eliminate as many of my monthly debt payments as possible while also building a large emergency savings so that in the event of a job loss I could afford to maintain my healthcare costs without going bankrupt.
For this reason, I thought taking you through a summary of my anticipated costs for 2019 would be helpful. So here we go. First, some important terms then a summary of this year’s insurance plan and then a quick run through of additional costs.
This post is part of a series that will look at ways to save money on medication, questions to ask your HR representative during Open Enrollment season so that you can make an informed decision and more. Insurance and healthcare are, understandably, a huge passion of mine which I have only dug deeper into since beginning to work in Human Resources four years ago. I hope that this series can be beneficial to you.
My Insurance Plan
I currently have a fairly good plan but it is a High Deductible Health Plan which can get very costly if not budgeted for and fully understood. Being an informed consumer is of utmost importance with this kind of plan as 100% of the cost for services is on you from day 1 until you meet the deductible. Here are the details for my exact plan:
My insurance plan does not cover two of my currently prescribed medications (up from one in 2017) or any of the over-the-counter medications that my doctor utilizes as part of my treatment plan. This part is standard though, no prescription drug plan will cover OTC medications as a rule and have exclusions for covered prescription medications. Since this particular medication is purchased at a compounding pharmacy is was pretty much known up front to be an uncovered expense.
It also doesn’t cover some of the testing I have to do at my allergist/immunologist’s office when I am in a flare, vitamins and minerals that I supplement with when symptomatic, or any of the alternative treatments that I have found helpful to maintaining my health. While it is true that most of these costs boil down to personal choices that I have made to seek these treatments the quality of my life has increased drastically since introducing them so keeping them in my treatment plan if possible is ideal.
Not Covered Costs Breakdown
Without any of the ‘not covered treatments’ category we’re looking at:
One thing that isn’t accounted for in any of these numbers is the fact that I have to be careful about the foods that I eat and products that I use. I am allergic to a lot of things- most artificial scents, gluten, celery (random I know), bananas, and a slew of other things. This translates to needing to use more expensive personal hygiene and cleaning products in many cases as well as having a more heavily padded food budget than your average single person. I wish I could discount this but its part of my life and relates directly to my health issues so it likely should be mentioned. In my house you will find no scented candles, plug-ins, or etc. as they trigger migraines for instance and just this past Christmas I borrowed some basic laundry detergent while on vacation and was covered in hives for three days… so you can imagine a lot of shampoos, detergents and etc. can ruin my week pretty easily.
Ways I Lower My Costs
I write all this out not to convince you to feel sorry for me or what have you, because I think that I am extremely lucky to be able to work at all as I have many friends who are not able to do so. And not only that but I have a job I love, that pays me enough to afford the life I have- including insurance and salary that can encompass these expenses, a life that’s amazing with hobbies that bring me joy and friends that bring light and happiness to it, and a family that is just without words wonderful. It’s more than I deserve and I will always be grateful for it all. I write this to show you a window into my life for better understanding of one of my largest “why’s” when it comes to becoming financially independent and debt free. Having a “why” for your goals is important as without one you will be more likely to convince yourself out of the hard but necessary tasks along the way towards reaching your goal.
Until next time,
My History with IV Therapy
Being someone who has several chronic illnesses its easy to say that I've tried a lot of things over the years to decrease my symptoms and generally live a better life. This one fits into the first category: attempted for potential symptom relief.
I first tried IV therapy, or a version of it, after reading about several studies that had linked regular IV saline infusions to fewer symptoms for people with dysautonomia. The thought was that it increased the blood volume and therefore decreased the hypovolemia related symptoms such as low blood pressure and dizziness. I was having a horrible symptom day as I was getting a cold (typically any illness contracted will increase symptoms for those with dysautonomia) and decided that a trip to my local Urgent Care was in order. I had just moved and was dreading going through my health history spiel- because by this point it was down pat, let's be honest- and praying that I would be believed without my records because I needed to get ahead of whatever I had before I went into a full spiral and was out of work for a week. I was in for a surprise... for the first time that I could remember a doctor actually knew what my condition was, or at least had a general, broad picture, understanding. It was a huge relief... and then she asked me what I wanted her to do. I hadn't expected that but decided that on top of the meds she was going to give me if I came back positive for strep or etc. I wanted to at least see if an IV drip would help as much as everyone said it would. It did, but as the research was mostly anecdotal and no long term studies had come out at that point I reserved going in to ask that doctor for assistance for times that I truly needed the boost. Eventually the doctor moved on and I was no longer able to get saline at that clinic any more due to management deeming it a waste of resources. A few years later I was doing better medically than I had been in those earlier years but came across a story about a 'new' trend: people hiring clinics to come in post bachelor party for a quick IV to get past their hangovers. It sounded a lot like the IV saline infusions that I had been using before but with the addition of vitamins, something that a few of the bloggers had mentioned in their posts about treatment but that I never tried myself.
I couldn't find a clinic nearby that offered a service that was both nearby and affordable for me to utilize, especially as it is outside of insurance, so I moved on with life and forgot all about it. Then I got an advertisement online for a new clinic that was opening and offering special discounts for new patients. My dysautonomia symptoms hadn't been flaring but I'd been having an increase of migraines so decided that maybe I'd give it a try. A couple of days later I had another advertisement for yet another clinic doing the same thing. Two clinics within a half hour or so of my new place... if it was affordable it could be a godsend during a flare! I decided to give both of them a shot, several weeks apart, to see what the clinics were like as well as if I felt any of the symptom relief their packages claimed to help with. I'll be reviewing the clinics themselves in a future post (soon, I'm actively working on them now!) but want to take the rest of this post to talk about what this treatment is that many would consider alternative, helpful, medicine and others would avoid as a scam.
What Is IV Therapy?
IV Therapy is just like it sounds: you go to a clinic (or they come to you in some cases) where, depending on the condition you wish to treat- from hangovers to migraines to performance enhancement- they will select a variety of vitamins and minerals to add to a saline bag that is hooked up to an IV for you. Simple and quick care. In some cases the doctor on call (if there is one at the clinic) will even be able to add certain medications to the bag such as Zofran for nausea or Toradol for inflammation.
What Does It Help Treat?
IV Therapy is advertised as being able to treat many different things: from an immune boost if you think you are coming down with a cold to migraine relief to anti-aging. Clinics in my area are currently advertising:
Do I believe it can help with all the things that it is advertised as being able to do? Simply: no. While I do believe that being well hydrated and having all the micro-nutrients that your body needs will result in overall better health I don't believe it is the cure for all ills. I had a great experience with the hydration aspect of the therapy both before these trials and during and would even say I had a great experience with feeling overall better mood and energy for a couple of days after my treatments but I'm leery of the 'too good to be true' advertising that is being pushed. Going in for electrolyte replenishment after a night of partying or a boost of vitamins when you feel you are coming down with a cold is likely safe and helpful but claims of anti-aging and some of the more intensive treatments... more research needs to be done before I will fully buy into it.
That being said, I did enjoy my treatments. The clinics featured staffs that were very attentive, had massage chairs (and who doesn't like a massage), the process was quick and I left feeling refreshed. On one occasion I went in when I had several signs that I would be getting a migraine soon and chose the migraine relief option. The rest of the day was productive and the migraine never came. It was pretty cool actually. Another time I went in for just a general hydration plus vitamin package that was being offered as part of the "Grand Opening" of a clinic. I generally felt really good for several days after that treatment as well. I can't be 100% sure that I didn't catch the cold that was going around the office because of the treatment but I almost always get whatever cold is going around the office... its kinda just part of having the medical file I do, and I skipped this one. Also a cool perk if the treatment was the reason.
I don't think that it will be something that makes it into my regular schedule outside of occasional pick me ups or for cutting off a migraine before it gets really bad though. My budget simply won't allow it. The cheapest package I found in my area was $99/month for one treatment of their lowest tier. For the Migraine one it would be $150/month if I wanted to do one monthly. The other location started at the $149 for a monthly pass but included two IVs at their lowest tier for that price. If I went with their membership it would cost me $249/month for the tier that included the Migraine relief option. This would be about $125 per bag which is a is slightly cheaper than the first location but locks me into a higher price point monthly. Both locations included a few added perks like additional discounts on more IVs, cheaper add ons, and etc. if you had a monthly pass so if this was going to be in my normal routine it would likely be a good idea to go this route. They also have single IVs though for a slightly higher rate if you don't want a pass but rather just to come in occasionally (which I personally appreciate). I do understand that this is essentially concierge medicine and, as such, is more expensive... but I can't make that fit into my life currently and as the long term benefits are not well understood or proven I need to allocate my medical spending elsewhere.
I will likely do IV therapy again in the future but it will be infrequent at its current price point and research level. Next up... reviews of the facility if you are interested in trying out one for yourself and are in the Fort Worth area.
Until next time,
As anticipated March was a not so great month financially. I did some travel that had been planned, and saved, for but there was also the flooring issue. It's about $7,000 later I now have a home I can live in again and the results turned out beautifully so I'm quite happy with the results... it just sucked to put that much debt back into my calculations. I was able to get the new debt at 18 months no interest so my number one priority is to get that debt gone as soon as possible and get back on track with where I anticipated this year's finances going.
A quick and dirty breakdown of my debt as of the end of the month is below. Credit card debt includes divorce debts that are still being paid off, the flooring debt from last month and general consumer debt. I'd ideally like to get that line under $10,000 this year while also paying down some of my other debt and working towards additional financial goals.
This is a quick post, to be sure, but we're already almost to the end of April and I wanted to get this post out as soon as possible so that we wouldn't miss a month altogether. With the holiday this week has been pretty crazy so I haven't had a lot of time to write unfortunately. I'm getting back on track schedule wise though and have posts coming!
Until next time.
This will be the first quarterly goals update I've posted on the blog. Last year I simply added and removed goals on the main page as they were completed but I realized that was likely confusing for anyone trying to follow along with my goal completion so I'm hoping this method will be easier. It will also allow me to expand upon any difficulties I'm having or celebrations of completions. So, here we go!
One Word Goal
My "One Word" for this year is "Growth" and to be perfectly honest I haven't been doing a great job with my focus on it this quarter. I did keep up with most of the trackable things that I had decided would help me 'grow' such as reading non-fiction books and working on this blog but the daily focus on the word in every aspect of my life? Not so much. I'm going to work on this for quarter 2. I think that the reason for this lack of focus was simply that it was out of sight so therefore 'out of mind' so I am going to print off and place the word in my environment both at home and at work. I had done that in previous years but failed to do that this year for some reason and, well, the results speak for themselves.
I've got a lot of goals, that's true, but they aren't all ones that I will do in a single month or even quarter but rather are goals that I think will lead me towards creating the life that I want. They get added to the list or removed as circumstances change or as they are completed. I was able to cross a few off the list due to completion or removal this quarter but most are still 'In Progress' and one is still in the category of "Not Started."
Since most of my career goals are either long term or relate directly to my current place of employment I'm keeping them offline. They exist, promise!
Goal #3: IN PROGRESS
Complete the TESOL-VIPKid Certification (30 Hours) before June 30, 2019.
Goal #4: REMOVED
Complete the VIPKid MC Trial 3.0 Trial Certification (3 Parts, 2 Hours) before June 30, 2019.
Goal #5: IN PROGRESS
Continue to work on this blog.
Goal #6: IN PROGRESS
Create a YouTube channel to help parents understand 'new' math strategies that are being taught in elementary and middle school.
Goal #7: NOT STARTED
Enroll in and complete a basics of SEO class before the end of the year.
Goal #8: RESEARCHING
Complete an approved TESOL course by May 2019 (for the teaching of Chinese students online- new legislation).
Goal #1: IN PROGRESS
Pay off $5,000 in debt before December 31, 2019.
Purchase a home in a safe area that is within budget and no more than 45 minutes from my office by December 31, 2018.
Goal #3: IN PROGRESS
Lower monthly expenses.
Health & Wellness
Goal #1: IN PROGRESS
Get under 200 pounds before June 30, 2019.
Goal #2: IN PROGRESS
Incorporate the app "Zombies, Run!" alongside basic weight training.
Goal #3: IN PROGRESS
Take my medications on time each day and make sure I am being proactive in lifestyle necessities to live my best life.
Goal #4: IN PROGRESS
Make, and take, time for your health every day.
Goal #1: IN PROGRESS
Remain open to the possibility of a wonderful person entering your life. Be proactive in meeting people but also live your best life while single.
Social & Recreation
Goal #1: RESEARCHING
Host a house warming party at the new house in the first quarter of the new year.
Household & Home Life
Goal #1: COMPLETE
Declutter my house and implement organizational methods that make my life more efficient and easy.
Goal #2: COMPLETE
Create a guest room space that is welcoming and usable.
Goal #3: COMPLETE
Replace carpet in the new house.
Education & Personal Development
Goal #1: IN PROGRESS
Read twelve non-fiction books in 2019.
Goal #1: IN PROGRESS
Get into the Bible daily for 25 out of 30 days in each month.
That's it for this goal's update... not a ton is 100% accomplished yet but I'm happy with the progress I'm making.
Until next time,