Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dusting Off Blog in Time for CMT Awareness Month

Hello there! So I am finally dusting off my blog and cleaning the spiderwebs after a 3-month summer hiatus. It's not that I completely forgot about the blog, in fact, I had tons of ideas, but summertime got the best of me and I just never seemed to find the time to put them down on paper, I mean, web.

I am so thrilled that we are celebrating another CMT Awareness Month and I am hoping to do a bit more than I did last year, when I was at my all-time worst. I plan to dedicate another entry to awareness month and do more of an update on this one.

It's been a summer of ups, downs, discovering what works for me and what doesn't. The medication really did help me quite a bit but I finally realized the importance of another piece of my puzzle. The medication alone cannot do it, I need to take the right meds alongside consistent physical therapy. I have never felt more energized or stronger, like I was finally taking charge of my health and not allowing CMT to put me down as it wished. With the help of physical therapy and pool therapy, I finally felt like I had some control over my body.

I started everything slowly and built up my exercises on a weekly basis. Some weeks we didn't get it right and overdid them unintentionally, which would set me back a few days. I started working out my arms too, in hopes that I could make them stronger and get there before CMT got to them. It was empowering for me, as I watched muscles develop in areas of my body where there was only flab before. At the peak of feeling well, we had our wedding reception and I was able to dance the night away, a feat I hadn't been able to do in years. In the midst of feeling so well, I started to sell items on eBay in the hopes of making some extra cash easily from my home. It's been fun and exciting to sell items online and feel like I could contribute financially, however small the help was.

Physical therapy can be a bit annoying to do, almost feels like homework that you wanna skip, and I have gotten to the point that I was honestly looking forward to my appointments. Then, my insurance company butted in and tried making things difficult for me. Since I was feeling so good and my pain level had decreased, they no longer felt it was necessary for me to continue. I had no words !!! I just couldn't believe what I was reading. Didn't they understand I only felt so good because of all the work I was putting in and that soon, I'd go back to normal? I tried getting a new prescription, had several discussions with the insurance company and therapy place and only got an additional 4 visits. In the meantime, my pain escalated again to much higher numbers than in the past few months, I lost the muscle mass I'd built and my energy level dropped. Not to mention that when I went back for those 4 appointments, I was no longer able to do as much or as many repetitions. CMT seems to play a funny trick on your body - it takes you so long to build up and yet, it takes no time at all to lose the time and work you put it.

My therapist has submitted a new request for approval and included a letter from my neurologist. Now I am just anxiously waiting for the results. I know I can do some of the exercises from home, but it's hard to get motivated and stay disciplined during that entire hour, while trying to ignore my cell, the TV, Facebook, eBay....etc. If they do not approve my next request, I am going to look into an out-of-pocket maintenance program because I have finally realized that I MUST keep up my workouts, however light and simple, for my own well-being and to keep the CMT-bugs away.

I have heard from others that this is not so uncommon. The insurance companies will pay to help you get better but not pay to keep you better. Maintenance is not something they want to be responsible for, which can be infuriating for a CMT patient. Since our dear condition does not have a cure or treatment, therapy seems to be the best way to slow the progression. Thankfully, I am fortunate enough that I can afford to do a maintenance program, but what about those who cannot?


Melissa said...

I'm so glad you posted this update! I haven't done physical therapy for about 15 years, and was just given a prescription for it today! I'll admit I'm a little bit nervous, but your post has me all excited now!

Natteringnic said...

My adherence to a physio program has been lacklustre at best. *thumbs up* to you for being so diligent! I'm sorry your insurance is giving you the run around...it is all dollars and cents to them.
Mmmm....the pool. I don't think there is any better medicine for a CMTer than the pool. It is a vacay for the body, for sure!
So happy you're back in the blogosphere!

Christine said...

Hi Michele! I discovered your blog from your guest post on the click for CMT blog...I was a recent guest on there as well. I've been doing pool therapy for 4 years now, and you're absolutely right...if I miss a couple sessions, it kicks my butt! Luckily I could continue as a 'fitness' patient when the insurance ran out, and it's cheaper...otherwise I'd be one of those people you mentioned who can't continue treatment because of cost. Keep fighting, and keep posting!

Michele said...

Hi Christine,
It really sucks that's how the insurance companies work because some diseases, like CMT, do need a maintenance program and we already pay so much towards insurance that we shouldn't pay out-of-pocket for more. But I am at a point that I don't care...therapy has been so good for me lately that I am going to continue on my own too!!
Thanks for stopping by :)

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