Sunday, June 9, 2013

Migraine Awareness Month #9: Mama Mia: Money, Money, Money!

How does living with Migraine or another Headache Disorder impact your financial situation? 

Wow.  I have to start this blog post with that word again.  Not because it's difficult to think of something else to write, but because it's difficult to narrow it down and organize my thoughts.  There are SO many ways my financial situation is impacted by these blasted Migraines.

Let's see, on the broadest scale, I am not able to work, so that's a pretty big impact.  I had a scholarship to college, a scholarship to law school, and all signs pointed to the idea that I could have had a successful career.  So I have forgone that because of Migraine.

On the most basic level, we incur many expenses due to my health.  It began when I was 17.  That was when I went to my first Headache Specialist.  My parents paid for everything then.  Now, my husband and I pay for my healthcare, with lots of help from my parents.  We just couldn't afford it otherwise.  Healthcare costs are so expensive.  I take 22 prescription medications either as daily preventives or on an as needed basis.  I see five doctors regularly.  This doesn't take into account any additional procedures or therapies I might be prescribed.  Some of my medications cost $40 a pill or more.  Thankfully, once we've met my deductible (which is high), we only pay 20% of that cost, but even at 20%, costs add up.

On top of all this, my primary headache specialist is in a whole different region of the country, Philadelphia.  We take planes, trains, and automobiles to get to him.  The cost is quite exorbitant.  Could I find a closer doctor?  Of course.  Would I get the same level of treatment?  I doubt it.  I have tried the doctors in my state.  After years of treating me with no success, they referred me out of state.  I tried the doctors in neighboring states.  They didn't provide me with the level of care I felt merited the travel it took to get to them.  If I have to travel at all, I want to travel to the best doctor I can find.  I am doing that now.  I am just traveling farther than I expected to have to travel, but he's worth it.  In fact, the Mayo Clinic told me he is among the top migraine specialists in the U.S. and NOT to leave Dr. Y for anything at Mayo or any where else. I thought that was a pretty relationship solidifying endorsement!

As most migraineurs know, we have to visit the ER from time to time as well.  ER visits aren't cheap. I don't know a single migraineur who likes to visit the ER or thinks it's the place to go to get the best treatment, but still, at times, it's our best option.  We pay through the nose for it though.

I don't mean to complain.  I feel like I have excellent healthcare.  I know there are many who can't afford even the most basic care, and I fly to Philadelphia to see one of the top physicians in migraine care.  I have family who can afford to help me, and who cares to help me.  I am very blessed.  Still though, it's awfully expensive, and it would be nice if things were a little more affordable, you know?

June, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders.  The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is issued by


  1. Hold the phone: How did I never know you were a fellow law school grad?! Did you go to U of A? Were you ever able to practice? I practiced about three years in my dream job for the Kansas Legislature before the floor bottomed out. But yeah, it was great while it lasted. :) I'm a grad of the University of Kansas (KU).

  2. Ahhh, I should have been more specific. I didn't graduate. I got a year in before the floor bottomed out for me. I went to the U of A at Little Rock--closer to home.