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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Testosterone Blues!

When I was a child, I did not naturally go thru puberty. I was delayed, and the family doctor gave me androgen shots over 6 months to get me kick started. Add that to the fact I was younger than my school mates thanks to Rita pulling me from kindergarten and plugging me into first grade early, does explain some of my dislike for high school. But I digress...
I was always tall and thin as an adult, and picked out an avocation that matched my genetics.....distance running. When I got into my late 50's, I felt fatigued often and my running and general activities started to just seem tougher to do. My doctor over a few years tested everything from vitamin D, thyroid, B12, etc without much success. Finally, at age 59, he tested my testosterone level and told me that I had the testosterone level of a 7 year old girl. At that time, the only testosterone replacement therapy that was approved thru my insurance was testosterone cypionate 200mg vial every two weeks via injection. So Deb and I learned how to inject, and usually she would inject me in the butt, or if she wasn't around, I would just inject into my quad. Not a biggie, and certainly not much of a hassle. For the first 6 months that I was on it, everything from my mood to my physical performance improved, and that has remained fairly steady to date.
When I was selecting my prescription coverage thru one exchange, there were three that covered testosterone injectable solutions, and the cheapest and largest was silver scripts. So that is what I chose. On Wednesday November 2nd, I went into Las Cruces to see my regular doctor who had moved last summer from Deming to a practice there.  While driving in, I got a call from his office that he had called in sick and that I would be seeing his partner. So I saw his partner and provided him with the 5 medications I take, and he called them into Walgreens for me. When I went to get them, the testosterone was not included. I called the insurance company and they said that this particular prescription needed "prior authorization", which is a fancy was of saying we don't want to cover this unless you  are willing to jump thru a shitload of hoops. I had Wallgreens fax the doctor's office three times before his staff said they finally had it, and then they gave it to the doctor. When he contacted silver scripts, they said they needed blood work to prove that my free testosterone level is below 300 before they would approve it. So now on monday, my birthday, I will be going in early to give blood  before Deb and I see our skin doctor to get checked for skin cancers. Then we will shop and have dinner at a Thia/Vietnamese restaurant. Now, if silver scripts screws with me too much, I checked and I can change script coverage at any time. But, hassles will ensue. My last shot was on Wednesday October 19th. I felt fairly normal thru last weekend, and then on Tuesday, my body started to go thru some crazy shit. It started with palpitations, incredible fatigue, headaches, and just a foggy feeling. Trying to run is easiest pace, my heart rate is about 25 beats per minute higher, and I have not tried to run more than 30 minutes. My heart rate remains high for about two hours post run. Gym is a joke. So I did some researching, and like many other medications, you are never supposed to stop testosterone cold turkey, and if you are stopping, there is a medication you are supposed to take to try and get your gonads firing again. Mine were not working much 5 years ago, and may be dead by now. who knows. So, I am trapped by my insurance problems, and may have to see an endocrinologist and get new insurance before I get this resolved. I was so happy when I was going on Medicare cause I thought I could start to get my spine issues checked and maybe resolved, but instead I have taken two steps backwards, and have to get this resolved before I can move forward. On a brighter note, I was able to do the "poop in a box" test for colon cancer, and those results should be to the doctor within the month......

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