Finances, stress, and your chronic condition. How’s it going?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2013-05-23 08:05:36 -0500
Started 2013-05-17 09:54:49 -0500

“I don’t know how I am going to afford this.”

I’m always worried about money.”

“I’m scared about the future.”

Having some money concerns? In our current economic situation, if you haven’t found a reason of your own to be worried about your finances, the news does a pretty good job of giving you a daily reason to worry.

It’s rough out there. And everybody’s feeling it.

If you are living with a chronic condition, financial pressures can come from lots of different sources. Copays for doctor visits and medications. Dietary requirements. Time off from work or limits in your ability to work. Supplies or products that may not be covered by your health plan.

So here’s something to consider: Uncertainty about money can lead to stress. And stress can have a negative impact on your health.

Here’s a link to an article I recently posted:

How are your finances going? Or a better question: How are your finances affecting your emotions?

How are you coping? Any ideas to share? Need some support?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

35 replies

T'Leesa 2013-05-21 23:52:13 -0500 Report

I do think I'm have it pretty good in many ways. Like many people, I am experiencing financial difficulties. Like many people, I sometimes get down about it. It's only natural. My son and I had to move unexpectedly. I've experienced a series of furloughs on my job, but at least I still have a job. I even have been a victim of ID theft. My son and I both had some minor surgeries and we were in separate car accidents. We lost pretty much everything. However, I have really good health insurance for my family through my employer. Therefore I am really blessed. The copays are quite avoidable, and the insurance took care of all the bills from the surgeries. The mental health portion of the insurance has a little higher copay, and is not as good as the medical - but if one needs that coverage for any reason at least it's there. Better to have it than not. But I try not to let everything interfere with my home life. I need a quiet place to come home and renew myself. I still worry about finances and how I'm going to make ends meet. One of my son's friends has been staying with us for the past few months and helps with groceries. I've also been able to work a lot of overtime lately. My son has a job interview this week. Who knows - maybe we'll get out of this financial bind a little at a time after all. I'll keep the faith.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-05-23 08:05:36 -0500 Report

Hey T'Leesa, thanks so much for sharing what's been going on in your life. You have a really great attitude. Wow, you have been through a lot, you and your son. What a blessing it is to have a job and health insurance, and to have your bills adequately covered. I think this grinding recession has taught many of us to appreciate what we have, to see the blessings in what we used to take for granted. That has certainly been true in my life. Staying optimistic is so important! Please keep us posted on how your son does on that job interview. Thanks again. Always great to hear from you! Gary

MAYS 2013-05-19 22:34:01 -0500 Report

Another great post, very informative!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-05-20 13:15:41 -0500 Report

MAYS!!! You must have read my mind. I haven't been in touch with you in awhile and was planning to reach out this week. Thank you! I hope you are doing well, my friend. Gary

Harlen 2013-05-17 22:39:47 -0500 Report

I don't know how things are going to get payed for wife's going off work for three months I can't work 18000 a month in bills that have got to be payed
I only bring in 600 I must fined a way or every thing is gone ???
But even if it all goes away we will fight on.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-05-19 17:38:03 -0500 Report

Hi Harlen,

I am so sorry to hear about this, my friend. Have you checked into community resources that you might tap into to get some help? I feel really sad for you. I hope you will stay in touch with us, let us know how you are doing. You are not alone.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-05-18 20:35:16 -0500 Report

Harlan do you have a skill? We went to one of my sisters coworkers homes to pick up some flowers. Her husband has been off work for almost a year. He did his basement and it is gorgeous. He bought an old church pew made of mahogany, stripped it, sanded it then stained and sealed it and turned it into a bar. It is beautiful. He makes wine racks for friends who pay for them. I told him to sell them on line. His grandson put photos on his instagram and facebook and he is selling them. His son emailed photos to his friends and coworkers and he made money to help his wife with the bills. He has since got a job but his evenings and weekends are spent making wine racks and cutting boards. These days if you have a skill you have to find a way to make money using that skill.

My sister and I make jewelry and turned that into a business. We are now getting ready to do a website. I want to take an art clay class using metal clay and my sister wants to become a certified gemologist as soon as we can get money for her classes. She has been buying everything she needs for the class and some stones. We always find a way to think outside of the box to take our jewelry making to a higher level. Good luck to you.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2013-05-17 22:45:37 -0500 Report

Sorry you are facing such an awful time, Harlen.
Is there any way the people will extend their bills to you? A few worked with us once when my hubby had surgery. So we didn't get as far behind that time.

Stuart1966 2013-05-17 20:49:07 -0500 Report

Have not watched the news in almost 20 years! Will not watch others suffering sensationalized.

When time is more free I look forward to reading your article…

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-05-19 17:35:12 -0500 Report

Stuart, I can understand why you would avoid the news. It is pretty bleak. I will look forward to hearing what you think. Thanks!

re1ndeer 2013-05-17 18:40:33 -0500 Report

I have to say getting better.

For the past three years my husband has been unemployed. (he got a severance package, so he could not collect unemployment), We lived on a portion of that severance package and my disability money, while my husband was looking for a job.

We had to apply for food stamps to let us eat.

My husband who also is a diabetic (type2), had to use Cobra Insurance at a cost of $425.00 a month (just for him). With my disability I used Medicare, and was fine until I reached the donut hole. My normal co-pay per month runs about $150.00 (with Medicare) and that is mostly for insulin.
When I reached the donut hole which I do about every June or July, My co-pay for my drugs run about $450.00, a month. This does not include doctor visits or tests that i may need. Before Medicare will pick up anything again, I must put out of pocket $4500.00.

I have to say with in the last two weeks, my husband has found a job. He will get paid every two weeks. The food Stamps from the state said we can still use them for the month, but as of June 1st, no more.

My husband could not put me on his insurance for drugs or doctor visits, but, he could put me on for dental and vision, which helps a lot as I have not gone to either in the last three years.

So I have to say life is getting better. And I thank the Lord for hearing my prayers. And turning our life around.

old biker
old biker 2013-05-21 07:59:53 -0500 Report

Hi re!ndeer I don't know what your total household income is. But if it is less than 26,580.00 yearly and you have medicare part D coverage you can apply for a government program called extra help. One of the benefits beside lower out of pocket costs on your drugs..It will also eliminate the donut hole in your coverage.. Just Google medicare extra help part D

re1ndeer 2013-05-21 09:52:44 -0500 Report

I only have regular Medicare with a supplement plan, because I have many health issues that I can't have just Part D.
My problem is that we have a home with a mortgage (so the value of the home throws us over the limit for help) I've looked into this when I went into the donut hole a while back.
I thank you for getting this information as it may help others out there.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-05-19 17:33:42 -0500 Report

Hi re1ndeer!

Thanks so much for checking in here and sharing your story! I really appreciate hearing your perspective.

That Medicare donut hole causes a lot of problems for people, as you described so well. It's a shame. And I am sorry you will be soon losing your food stamps on top of everything.

The dental and vision is certainly something to be thankful for.

And really glad to hear things are getting better for you. A break in the clouds!


re1ndeer 2013-05-21 09:55:28 -0500 Report

Thank you so much, Dr. Gary. As I understand it either 2014 or 2015, that donut hole will shrink, so it will make it easier for us with disabilities, to get our medicines and health care.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2013-05-17 14:51:42 -0500 Report

Been through the unemployed, on State Food Assistance. Now I a and my Hubby are employed (both and at the same time, crossed fingers it lasts). Yesterday was payday/grocery day. Sigh…the cost of groceries for my BG needs is not too much higher than buying carb foods; i.e almond flour instead of wheat flour, various baking supplies rather than premade baked goods. etc. The long term benefit of better BG hopefully preventing future diabetic complications; i.e heart. kidney, vascular, etc. makes the small price difference look much better.
Some days the money doesn't want to stretch.
Some days a sister or niece or Mom will mention their 4th trip to Vegas this year, or their skiing trip, or going to the movies, or going to yet another play, or their plans for remolding their newly purchased home, etc. Might get me a little down.
Then I remember we are managing to pay our rent (after a horrible time of about two years of relying on the kindness of a sister and her husband for every expense except what food assistance we qualified for), and utilities and all the essentials. Then we go on a picnic to a nearby park, or by the nearby creek. I pack sandwiches on fresh made low carb bread and have a low carb muffin/brownie or low carb cookie and remember how far we have come in just over 3 years from almost total ruin.
Might not be were I planned I'd be now, but sure am in a much better place than I have been.
I had no clue what the past future held, I can't know what the future will be. But I can decide to make the best of right now. If I let all the bad overwhelm, then I have lost what I have battled for. And no, it isn't easy. There are moments when total panic can be triggered by some tiny thing. But I am learning what many of those triggers are. The new, blindsiding ones, don't usually get to wipe me out as I am learning how to overwhelm them instead of the other way around.
I can let the longing for the blissful past blind me to the little every day joys life holds. Or, I can focus on the good of now and thrive in the time and place I am in.
From work, with the elderly, I have seen the consequences of falling to thrive. It leads to a sooner death. Experienced a close brush of life's passing during my MRSA battle. Would really rather not have that happen again.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-05-19 17:28:29 -0500 Report

Hey Graylin Bee,

Great to see you. It has been awhile, my friend.

Thank for this incredibly empowered message. I think many of us, including myself, have had to learn how to make adjustments, some small, some big, since the economic downturn hit. Many of us have had to learn to live life on life's terms.

I really liked the way you talked about maintaining your perspective, focusing not on what you don't have, but on what you do have, and giving yourself credit for having come a long way. That is so inspiring.

No, we have no idea what the future holds. But we all have the present moment to make the best of.

I remember that you work with the elderly. Talking to older people is a lesson in the importance of taking good care of yourself, physically and emotionally.

Thanks a lot!


pkwillhoite 2013-05-17 12:10:43 -0500 Report

OK… Unemployed for a while… In the area I live in there is no one hiring… Businesses are closing… Even the field workers are being layed off. I am a diabetic that hasn't been to the doctor in more than 2 years. No money… On food stamps and Getting super depresses…

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-05-19 17:21:36 -0500 Report

Hi pk,

I am so sorry to hear you are struggling. I hear many stories like yours in this troubled economy. I hope you are taking good care of yourself, as much as you can. I suspect you have looked into local and state resources that you might be eligible for, including community mental health and medical.

Stay in touch with us. You are not alone.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-05-18 20:27:29 -0500 Report

Pk go to your states Health Departments website and look for either Physicians Adult Care (PAC) of see if they have a free health care plan. We have PAC in my state. It is similar to Medicaid. You can have one or the other but not both. This will cover doctors visits, medications and diabetic supplies. Apply for Medicaid. Even with Diabetes I was told I am not eligible. I keep trying and hoping. I am waiting to here from PAC.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-05-17 11:19:49 -0500 Report

I am currently unemployed and have no health insurance. I was in a program for medical care offered at the Medical Clinic where my doctor is located. The money left over from our business after we buy supplies and pay taxes and rental fees is used for my prescription which is only 6 dollars every three months. I save money for doctors visits. Thankfully, I don't have other medical problems so my doctor doesn't order tests I don't need.

I do not worry about this because the worry causes stress which in turn can create medical problems. There are all kinds of resources for people depending on where they live. All you have to do is find them and tap into them. In my state we have energy assistance for people needing help with power and gas, we have food banks, soup kitchens, churches and organizations that give away food. Some of the barbershops will give kids free back to school haircuts. Unfortunately, people who need help won't ask or tap into resources put in place to help them.

No one can predict the future and no one knows how the economy is going to be in the future. We can only hope for the best. The worse thing you can do is worry about something out of your control. I can't control the economy so I am not going to worry about it.

Life is always going to have obstacles and no one knows how the obstacle will effect them. If you worry about the obstacle and do nothing it will have a long term effect. If you face the obstacle and seek help or find a way over the obstacle the effect will lessen. You have to take each day and try to make the next one better and never count the chickens before the eggs hatch.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-05-19 17:18:25 -0500 Report

Hey Joyce,

Always good to hear from you. I am really sorry to hear you don't have any health insurance. I didn't realize that. It sounds like you have found a way to pay for what you need, and that you are managing your health care costs pretty well.

I understand what you mean about stress. We can't predict the future, we can only be as prepared as possible, including emotionally. Build up your inner resilience to face the challenges as they arise. It sounds like you are a very resourceful person.

I try to live my life the sayme way. One day at a time, optimistic, hopeful. Reminding myself that I can only control what I can control.

Thanks for checking in.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-05-19 19:32:35 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary my last job required that I build a database of resources to be published on the website. I worked for a non profit that provided services to people in need.

I have just started attending planning meetings for our 2 Day of Hope which we hope will bring even more information and organizations that provide help for those in need.

The problem is, people do not look for assistance. They don't ask questions and there are those who have access to the resources but do not use them.

In doing this, it only makes the struggle longer and harder. People have said "it's no ones business". Well it is if you can be helped. It is my business if you live next to me with no power and are using candles. If the candle is left unattended or a fire gets started because of it, my life and home is now in jeopardy because you thought it was no ones business. This has happened twice on my block. The neighbor who did this burned 4 houses mine was almost the 5th. It is someones business if you don't have food for yourself and your children. There are places that will help you.

People have to learn to look for resources that will help them. If you can't pay your car payment contact the finance company and make payment arrangements. The finance company doesn't want the car, they want the money and most will work with you. There is also assistance for mortgage problems and most states have energy assistance programs. If you have a computer you can find out these things by going to your states website and look for medical assistance, food stamps, energy assistance, weatherization programs and pharmacy assistance.

Never be too proud to ask for the assistance you need and you will lessen worry and stress.