As an athletic woman since college, I knew that my fitness was going to save me from the diseases in my extended family. After college I focused on my food intake and stopped eating meat, fried food and minimized sugar.
Fast forward 30 years. My doctors mentioned my high cholesterol, but felt that my lifestyle being so healthy, that I’d miss heart disease and heart attacks. None of the doctors asked about my stress levels and the size of my support network. They also didn’t really want to know about how 9/11 impacted me (my 2 week living in NYC), or how the economic crash impacted me (I lost everything).
The first heart attack came in 2013. I was isolated in a culture that didn’t fit, in fact, a Jewish girl in a heavily southern Christian area was a liability. I won’t go on about it. Just trust me that I was miserable. Penniless, terrified, strictly vegan by then, my dogs and I drove out to San Francisco. There were more jobs there. I saw many advertisements with jobs that I was trained in. Ageism. Sexism. Rampant.
Fast forward to massive heart attack with heart damage. Time to come home to Seattle. And heart attack #3. Apparently being laid off from my CMO gig (not necessarily legal) and then driving myself back wasn’t such a good idea.
Here’s where the insurance comes in. My cardiologist figures out that I have a mutated gene. Then I get my DNA tested. (I recommend this for EVERYONE) Ooops. A few mutated genes. In fact the primary blood thinner doesn’t really work because genetically I don’t metabolize it.
There’s a new drug specifically for PCSK9 mutation. Amgen actually gives it to people for $5 a month. But you have to have insurance from a company. Not self insured. That’s over 1k a month. I changed insurance companies. They’ll give it to me if I take statins for 12 weeks. Even though we know I get horribly ill. And I do mean horribly. More than a week on it and I’m sobbing in the fetal position. They don’t care. I have to prove it to them. I JUST got through 2 heart attacks in 6 months and am finally feeling ok. I’m even in culinary school. (I have to change course in my career and reduce stress)
I have to decide what to do. Not take the drugs. Or take them and experience a major set back in my life. No income, no caretakers, all on my own. Or not take the new drug that could possibly change my life.
What would you do?