Guilt of Expenses

A woman with T1D reflects on the financial burden of her diabetes.



The following is an excerpt from Susan Baumgartner’s upcoming book, Diabetes Warriors, a guided journal for people with Type 1 diabetes. This excerpt has been slightly modified for clarity.

We cost our families thousands upon thousands of dollars.

At its most basic levels of misery, it’s the monetary cost of diabetes that ticks me off the most. Dollars flying out the windows.

Because of the destruction of some cells in a single organ in our bodies, we become lifelong financial burdens to those who love us. Isn’t it a delight? Isn’t it just so wonderfully fair? Doesn’t it make us feel so helpful?

Even when we have great insurance, we know the companies reviewing our expenses are raising their collective eyebrows. We know we’re flashing red flags for any given program and policy. We know that in any given month we could see medicine and equipment expenses raised or coverages changed resulting in more out-of-pocket for the family to absorb.

We cut corners where we can. We jump through hoops changing meter brands, pharmacies, doctors, and more. We hold out when we can and seek deals when we must.

Perhaps I’m alone in feeling guilty. I doubt it, though. Just like never getting a break from the work that diabetes requires, we never get a break from the financial burdens either.

For every time we may want to apologize for interfering with family routines, there’s another time when we look at the bank statements and whisper to ourselves “If I didn’t have diabetes, we might have…”

I don’t have a positive quip in response to this reality. It hurts. My guilt runs deep at times. Thankfully, I receive encouragement from my loved ones when I allow myself to confess these feelings out loud. I don’t voice it usually. Instead, I try to work that much harder at my health and in the care of my family. Perhaps it’s to prove to myself that I’m worth the money?

That’s pretty sad, but it rings true. Being a person with diabetes carries a load of guilt.

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Susan Baumgartner was diagnosed with T1D in 1994 and moved to Wisconsin 4 years later with her husband and 3 cats. She is the author of a guided journal for teachers, Dear Teachers, available on her blog, www.verbostratis.com and on Amazon. She is currently working on a similar book for those with diabetes.