I’ve been battling with a condition that can’t be seen but can definitely be heard. I’ve been in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices, getting countless scans and x-rays. I suffer from a condition, that at my age, should have never been a thought. As of February 2022, I have been officially diagnosed with COPD.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “but Michael, what is COPD, and why should I care?" and that’s a great question. Allow me to elaborate,
- COPD: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD makes breathing difficult for the 16 million Americans who have the disease (right from CDC website).
My specific medical condition, so you know what’s going:
- I have “Uncontrolled Chronic Bronchitis phenotypic asthma with low IgE, Negative RAST and an eosinophil count of only 130 cells per microliter (and dropping).” This essentially means I have a form of severe asthma that presents as bronchitis whenever it flares up. Usually, to get this level of COPD you need to smoke for at least 20+ years of your life. In my case, however, I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs. I try and go to the gym, do physical therapy with cardio to help with breathing, on top of my medical treatments.
The reason why I’m mentioning this to all of you now, is because my life has hit a snag. Because of my COPD, I've missed a lot of work. From June to August, I was only been able to work 1 to 2 days a week. From the end of August until now, I've been out of work, on an unpaid FMLA leave.
The last 6 months of my life, I’ve burned through my savings, and had to rely on my parents for help. It’s gotten to a point where in the last 3 months, I’ve had to put my rent and utilities on my credit cards.
Now I know what you’re going to say, “why not just get another job” or “didn’t you have savings you could be using?” both of which, are really great questions, and I’ll be glad to answer them:
- I've applied for Permanent Partial Disability. As a result, until it's either approved or denied, I cannot apply for other employment. Getting another job may risk losing out on any benefits I might be entitled to. So until it's approved/denied, I'm stuck in this limbo. And there is no timeline of if/when that might even happen.
- As I mentioned above, I did have a savings account. But I've quickly burned through it. I've paid over $3,353 in medical bills over the last few months alone.
That last bit was more of a segway into why I’m asking you all for help. I want you all to know how very humbling it is, to have your own body betray you, in such a way, that you have to ask friends, family and even strangers for help. Being unable to survive on my own, at 31 years old, is very…depressing to say the least. But, I’ve been trying my best.
I’m at a point now, where if I don’t get help, my life will become an even bigger disaster. I wish I didn’t have to expose myself like this to the world, but medical and non-medical bills are piling up.
The medicine I’ve been put on alone is stupidly expensive, but it’s necessary because it’s been working. Back in February of this year, is when I officially got diagnosed/started treatment for it. Below are the monthly costs:
- Azithromycin 250-500 MG 3x week……$88
- Trelegy Daily Inhaler……………………...........$850
- Tezspire Monthly Injection…………….........$3,633
- Fasenra Monthly Injection……………….......$2675
- Dupixent Monthly Injection……………….....$6768
- Nucala Monthly Injection………………........$3280
- Doctor Visit for Injection………………….......$305
I don’t receive all of those monthly injections at once. They will alternate between each other over time. The reason I mentioned the above prices, is because I know a lot of people won’t listen to someone with a disease that can’t be seen. And I understand that.
$15,000 might seem like a lot, but in the medical/real world, it doesn’t even scratch the surface on how much everything costs.
If you are able to help, I will love you forever. If you cannot, I kindly ask that you share this with your friends and family. In the world we live in today, all we can really do is rely on each other.
Windsor Locks, CT