So I think I’m finally ready to delve into my multi-part series on self-medical care. Are you ready? This is a complicated & controversial topic and one I’ve been thinking of writing about for a while. Most of what I’ll be covering has to do with self-testing & preventative care. There is no way I will cover everything I want to, but I hope to give you guys some ideas and tools on why and how you might want to consider this for yourself.

My first part of this series is to address why you should consider self-education and self-testing, even if just for a portion of your health care:

1/ No-One Values Your Health More Than You

You are the ultimate #1 in your own health care

If there is one thing in life where you should be #1 it’s your own health. No-one and I mean no-one…not your specialist, not your family doctor, not your holistic provider has a more vested interest in your own health than you. Health is actually a passion of mine. There are many reasons for this, but primarily it stems from severe depression and eating disorders in my youth, as well as potentially hereditary health problems in my family. During my many years of depression and counselling no-one ever suggested a nutritional approach to my issues, despite the fact that nutrition was, ultimately, the #1 healing tool for me. Diabetes runs in my family yet no doctor has ever suggested any kind of long-term prevention for it except to “exercise and eat healthy”.  Self-testing and self-experimentation has been critical to me over the years and I do not believe I would be here today without it. No-one is immune to sickness, but I read voraciously on health and constantly try to update and improve my own knowledge on the topic. Educating yourself and taking charge of your own health is something I recommend to everyone, no matter what your situation.

2/ Shouldn’t You Work With A Doctor On This?

doc

Self-testing can be a compliment to doc visits

The first question that everyone asks when I bring up self-medical care is doctors. Many consider self-testing to be dangerous or even irresponsible outside of professional involvement. My point of view is that there is no reason you can’t have the best of both worlds. By all means see your doctor and go for your annual check-ups, but this needn’t be the end of your personal health journey. In my experience there are many tests which a doctor will not prescribe unless you are showing obvious symptoms. Also, there are many nutritional details which are not part of regular medical care. This is very simply because most of modern medicine is focused on treatment rather than prevention. These tests may be incredibly simple and inexpensive yet deemed “unnecessary”.  For someone like me who is truly interested in preventative care, I take the point of view that I would much rather explore & experiment with these tests on my own than ignore them.  Should they show something I don’t understand then I can always take the next step and go to a professional. Self-testing is a compliment to my professional care, not a detriment.

3/ Isn’t Preventative Care Now Covered Under Obamacare?

Preventative Care is just a small portion of the new ACA-Plans

The new ACA Law has alot of implications

This post will not cover all the implications of the ACA law (I have more on that coming in the future), but I do want to touch on this one particular aspect. I’m sure almost everyone in the US has heard that health insurance is  now required to cover preventative care. Sounds great, right? Yes and no. Once you start reading into the law you quickly realize that the term “preventative care” is used in a very, very narrow way. There are only a limited list of items covered under the law and you can see them here:

What Are My Preventative Care Benefits?

It's important to understand just exactly what is meant by preventative care under Obamacare

It’s important to understand just exactly what is meant by preventative care under Obamacare

If you’re the type of person who has never had any kind of check-up, then these benefits are a huge bonus, but for someone like me the list is woefully inadequate. For example blood tests for basic cholesterol levels (which is a flawed test IMHO) are covered, but kidney and liver values (which are important to monitor) are not. Also, free preventative care only applies to patients with no on-going risk or health issues in regards to the test being offered. If you are showing risk factors then the test is deemed “diagnostic” rather than preventative and is thus no longer included in your “free” benefits.

So, say you’re healthy and going in for an annual exam, then a basic cholesterol test would be considered “preventative” and thus totally paid for by your plan. However if you are given a cholesterol medication and need your cholesterol levels tested to see if the meds are working, this is considered “diagnostic” and therefore not part of the “free” benefits. You pay for these services out-of-pocket (until your deductable is reached).

This sets major limitations on the approach of “free” preventative care and simply doesn’t cut it for me. I’ll certainly be taking advantage of as many free services under my insurance as I can, but for anyone truly focused on preventative health I would not recommend relying on the ACA benefits to keep you fully covered.

4/ Self-Testing Can Be Inexpensive & Useful

Many younger (and pre-Medicare) nomads are on high-deductible insurance plans which means out-of-pocket $$ everytime you go see the doctor. Given how expensive health care is these days these visits can easily stack up and become overwhelming (to the point that you avoid docs altogether) . However there are many self-tests that you can do which cost less than a single visit to a primary doctor. Also, by on-going self-monitoring you get a much wider picture of your health than a simple yearly exam. In addition, there are a huge number of advanced (and very exciting) tests which are not really offered by doctors yet are simple to order on-line. I do not claim to have the definitive answer to self-testing…human health is simply too complicated and our understanding is constantly evolving. Plus, there are still many aspects (e.g. cancer) which are barely understood, but I do believe you can go a long way to helping yourself along by being educated & doing selective self-testing.

5/ Self-Testing Is The Ultimate Nomad-Friendly Tool

Clipart Illustration of a Healthy Red Heart Running Past

Self-testing can be easily done “on the run”

I’ve traveled a lot in my lifetime. In fact for much of my life I’ve traveled so much (and changed countries & insurance plans so often) I’ve barely had the time to establish a relationship with a primary care doctor. Since we’ve been RVing we’ve not had the chance at all. Many primary care doctors have long waiting lists to get on (especially if they are good), there is no way to know if you like them until you get established (which takes time) and they may not be “nomad-friendly”. There are ways to overcome this (e.g. travelling back to the same place every year), but for me self-testing has been my clutch during times where I was not able to get the level of preventative care I wanted. It’s the ultimate go-anywhere self-help tool, and we’ve relied on it as our primary care link since we started on the road. This approach may not be for everyone, but it sure has been useful for us, and until I find a primary care doctor I love it will continue to be a major part of our personal health care.

That about covers the intro. In my next post I’ll delve into what kind of self-testing we do and how to go about doing it.

P.S. Please NO politics in the comments section. I’m total open to discussing all practical aspects of healthcare on the road, but do not want this to devolve into a political argument. 

76 Responses to Self-Medical Care Part I – Why Do It?

  1. Gunta says:

    I encounter some of the same obstacles you mentioned even tho not living nomad style. Finding decent doctors in the ‘boonies’ is difficult, if not impossible. Last time I visited my Primary Care with a list of questions, I was literally told she didn’t “have time for that”!!! :(

    • libertatemamo says:

      Finding a good primary care doctor is tough even if you live in one place…and even more so if you’re the “inquisitive” type that asks a lot of questions. This is one of the many reasons I haven’t been able to find a primary care doc I can accept. I’m a difficult customer!
      Nina

  2. Chuck says:

    Thanks for your great blog, You’re always upbeat and non-complaining and non-judgmental and that’s what keeps me coming back. About health, if you haven’t read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell (http://amzn.to/1cteigP) I highly recommend it. I read about it 4 years ago and immediately went on an all-plants diet. I’m 79 years old (in 2 weeks) and take no medications, walk a rapid 3 miles most days, do some weight training and feel great.

    Got off blood pressure meds I’d been on for 25 years and cholesterol dropped from 208 to 128 in a couple of months (I hadn’t been on meds for that). Through Campbell’s book I learned of Dr. John McDougall (www.drmcdougall.com) and his site has a wealth of good information, including a bunch of testimonials. Through Campbell I also learned of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (http://www.heartattackproof.com/) and highly recommend his book also.

    I’ve learned that there’s no medicine that can come close to the nutrition of plants and the body takes that nutrition and applies it where needed to cure all kinds of chronic diseases.

    Best of luck to you both, and thanks again for your always-friendly, fun blog. ~ Chuck in Bellevue, WA

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, I’ve read the China Study and also read all the counter-points to the China Study (there are actually many controversial aspects to it). I’m very happy the plant-based diet worked for you. We certainly eat A LOT of plants in our diet (I love my veggies), but I also have different needs based on my depression history. I believe everyone needs to find the diet that works for them and certainly no-one can go wrong eliminating processed foods and focusing on whole, natural foods.
      Thanks for sharing!

      Nina

  3. Sheila says:

    I will be very interested in seeing your comments on depression and diet/nutrition.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Goodness, that’s a tough one to answer in any short form. I’ve done alot of self-experimentation around nutrition & depression and it’s taken years to get to where I am now.

      In condensed version:
      I’ve learned I have a huge need for proper fats -> re-introducing healthy fats (specifically omega-3′s which I believe I have a deficiency processing) and good saturated fats (I know…{{gasp}}, but this has been critical for me) have helped tremendously. A low-fat diet (which I followed for many years) was absolutely the worst thing I ever did for my depression. Removing grains & gluten from my diet has helped tremendously. Having sufficient amino acids (specifically tryptophan from animal-based sources) was key for me as was normalizing vitamin D levels (I was chronically low) and stabilizing blood sugars (through self-testing).

      This is an easy place to start reading:
      http://www.foodforthebrain.org/nutrition-solutions/depression/about-depression.aspx

      And there are many more areas such as this:
      http://www.foodforthebrain.org/media/231110/Depression___The_Nutrition_Connectin.pdf

      And this:
      http://chriskresser.com/depression

      Depression is a beast that is always in the background and I battle it to some extent everyday, but I can say without a doubt that I am a positive person today and much of this is thanks to nutrition.

      Nina

  4. BobF says:

    Nina,

    Excellent!!! You have pretty much nailed the same issues I face. Looking forward to more. Thank-you for taking the time to write about this. Hope to cross “trails” with you and Paul someday soon. I have a “secret” boondock location off Dunderburg Road to pass on to you.

    BobF
    Bend, OR

  5. maryb says:

    I had no idea you could order these tests yourself! Right after reading your blog I went online and searched self-ordered testing. I cannot believe how much cheaper you can self order a whole panel of tests compared to what you would pay for one test ordered by a doctor! Thank you Nina :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Exactly! This is what we discovered too. I’ve been self-ordering comprehensive tests for many years now, and even delving into some more advanced testing which has been very informative to my health. I’ll cover more on this in the next post.
      Nina

  6. Hi Nina— I know you’ve been exhaustively researching this topic (as evidenced by the long ongoing thread on the NuRVers FB Group). Looking forward to reading this series of posts!

    One thing I would clarify here is that I don’t think you meant to imply that tests and services beyond the “free” preventative services listed above are not covered at all (as in a claim being denied). These items would, indeed, usually still be covered under the plans, but would now fall under the “no longer ‘free’” category and be subject to the particular plan’s deductible and co-insurance amounts.

    Last year, I finally made the “grown-up” decision to take responsibility for my own health and changed my near-100% fast-food/processed-food diet to a plant-strong, whole foods diet (i.e. about 95% vegan with some meat and dairy every once in a while). At the same time, I tried out the relatively inexpensive and convenient walk-in clinics at local Walgreens stores to get basic glucose and lipid testing (results are provided instantly– no waiting around for doctors reviews or phone calls!). The improvement in my health stats began showing up within just 1 month! This kind of self-monitoring helped motivate me to continue, and I now can’t imagine ever going back to my previous poor dietary habits.

    I, personally, am kind of glad higher-deductible plans are now becoming the norm. It will hopefully encourage each of us to make similar diet and lifestyle improvements. The healthier we keep ourselves, the less healthcare services we will each need to consume and pay for each year!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yes, thanks for the clarification. I should have made the point that the services beyond “free” preventative care are not denied, but simply will become part of your deductable. Since most of us younger types have high-deductable plans this means you pay for pretty much all of the $$ out of your own pocket. But yes…there is a limit.

      Going to a local Walgreens store for testing is one of the easy steps I’ll include in the next post. I do home-testing too (for glucose) and this is inexpensive as well.

      Nina

    • libertatemamo says:

      I just updated the post to (hopefully) make that point a little clearer.
      Nina

  7. Diana Odenbrett says:

    Great article. Broad and informative. there are independent labs here in Pensacola area of Fl which you can request a test sans a doc’s order and at $40. Catching in on a health fair in a local community is another easy way for free testing. Thanks. Diana of Elysium 3.

  8. Dave'n'Kim says:

    This isn’t really anything helpful, just wanted to say that yet again you’re presenting some really helpful stuff, with perfect timing! Your Mifi advice was so helpful to us, and now this Healthcare business is right in our crosshairs too, especially when I’ve heard rumours of problems or back-tracking with Obamacare, so it will be great to learn through your research what’s on and what’s not! And I totally agree, let’s keep this totally non-political! More power to your keyboard!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I believe self-testing will become even more important in the years to come, especially since many younger nomads will be relying on high-deductable plans. It just makes sense to monitor your own health as extensively as you can…and if you can do it inexpensively it makes even more sense.
      Nina

  9. Sherry Fields says:

    Hi Nina. I would really be interested in the type of diet you mentioned that helps the depression. I too have chronic depression and have been on antidepressants for several years. I’ve done a lot of reading and research about diets (gluten free and dairy free). I’d be very interested in hearing about what you’ve done in the area of diet to help with yours. Thanks!

    • libertatemamo says:

      So sorry to hear about your chronic depression. I certainly know what a “beast” that is and exactly how it affects your life.

      Have a look at the comment I replied to Sheila above. That’s the short version of what I’ve done over the years to resolve my depression. Of course counselling, self-affirmations & exercise (yoga) helped too, but nutrition has had the absolute biggest effect. At a minimum I highly suggest removing gluten completely from your diet, stabilizing vitamin D levels (get tested and supplement as needed), stabilizing blood sugar levels (test your response to what you eat) and introducing lots of good fats & amino acids. I *need* a pretty high-fat diet. I realize this goes against conventional wisdom, but there is no single thing that has stabilized my mood more than eliminating sugars (in all forms) and re-introducing fats & amino acids into my diet. I’ve had friends with similar issues that I have advised and seen the same results.

      In general I eat a whole foods diet (mostly veggies & meat) with very, very limited sugars. I supplement fats liberally in the form of omega-3′s (which I critically need) and MCT oils (coconut oil), plus I eat full-fat versions of anything I buy.

      I experimented with dairy-free (for a year), but did not personally see any difference. If you have any kind of dairy sensitivity it’s definitely worth a try. I currently eat full-fat, grass-fed dairy in my diet (not alot, but it’s there) plus I experiment with fermented foods (Kefir, Kombucha). I do see significant positive benefits with probiotics & fermented foods.

      Nina

  10. As always, I love all your topics, tho some bad mechanism in my dialup connections usually scotches my comments. We try to eat well and are mostly vegetarian. Will be very interested to read your links on depression. But I wanted to sincerely say I have the very most wonderful FNP here, Barbara Lewis, in Mt. Shasta and I think you’d love her–honest, gentle, clear, complete, and empathetic. She works with my forward-looking MD at Good Medicine. So when you get to Mt. Shasta and are camped in our woodsy driveway, you can see her!

    • libertatemamo says:

      This is the kind of primary care physician I would like to work with! When I finalize my insurance under ACA I’ll have to check if she is on the network.
      Nina

  11. Donna K says:

    Very interesting post, even though we are older and on Medicare. One thing we have found is that sometimes it is less expensive to buy things on our own at Wal-Mart or CVS pharmacies than going through the insurance. Diabetic syringes and some generic prescriptions actually cost less if we just pay out of pocket without going through insurance. I always ask my doc for generic if she wants to write a prescription for something. Your comments about diet and depression are very interesting.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Very good comment and very true. This is what I’ve found regarding blood tests too (that they are often cheaper going out-of-pocket than going though insurance). We don’t take any prescription medications, but I learned about the $4 generics when we needed to take an antibiotics course a few years ago for Lyme disease. Almost every pharmacy has a $4 list and it can save you hundreds if your medication is on it or you can switch to a generic form.
      Nina

  12. intenseatpon says:

    I can second Chuck’s mention of a plant-based diet–I’m a McDougall devotee myself–but that’s for me. (I lost 100 pounds and, most importantly, freed myself from 50 years of fighting binge-eating.) What I wanted to contribute to the conversation is that it seems to me the easiest and most important testing/experimentation anyone can do on themselves, no matter their circumstances, is with FOOD, as you have done. No one can really do this but you, and most doctors are worse than useless about nutritional aspects of disease.

    The most difficult part about being your own guinea pig is how *confusing* it can be: Does a result mean this, or does it mean that? Or maybe nothing? (My own nutritional weirdness is that supposedly uber-healthy leafy greens cause me numerous unpleasant symptoms…unless I eat some bread with them. Can you guess how many months it took me to put all THOSE puzzle pieces together?!)

    I’ve had lifelong depression as well (so sorry, Nina), a condition inherited from my mother, and do best with a specific antidepressant. Which brings me to my second point of agreement with you: We have the internet now, thank heavens. I believe the best way to research all things health-related is to read as many opinions and experiences as possible, until a pattern emerges or an explanation is thoroughly fleshed out (as opposed to jumping on the first bit of “information” you read, which may or may not be true.) The anti-depressant I am taking is one I chose for myself based on numerous factors I researched, and it has made life worth living again. No other doctor or psychiatrist had ever prescribed this particular one for me, and they never would have.

    When I abandoned all my old food habits and started from scratch, I felt thoroughly lost. It’s amazing how disorienting and frightening that can be! So I wanted to share a quote from Andre Gide that was comforting to me then, “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”

  13. Interesting post. I look forward to future ones. Always interested in nutrition. After years of badgering by his doctor, my husband lost 25 pounds and brought his blood pressure WAY down by going on a “bean” diet – replacing everything white or that could be white (potatoes, pasta, bread, rice) with beans. Worked for him!

    • intenseatpon says:

      That’s so funny! Have never heard of that, but it sounds perfectly acceptable, nutritionally-speaking. Hope he *really likes* beans! And that you bought stock in Beano :-)

    • libertatemamo says:

      That actually kind of makes sense. Rice, bread, pasta are all simple carbs that easily spike blood sugar. Converting to beans would cut out a big portion of sugar intake (from the simple carbs) and replace them with a lower-sugar complex carb. I can totally see why it worked. Good for him!
      Nina

      • Lots of fiber too. We got the idea from a Tim Ferriss book “The 4-Hour Body,” We’ve let up a bit on beans 3-times-a-day but still replace a lot of simple carbs with them and the weight has stayed off.

  14. Lww says:

    Re: lab tests for liver and kidney function being excluded from primary care…if you are taking cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) liver function tests are included as a part of monitoring their effectiveness. A more complex kidney study may be required, other than a “routine UA”

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yes, but either way the tests are *not* included as part of ACA preventative care and so you would have to pay them out of pocket. My whole point about the cholesterol testing was to highlight the difference between “preventative care” tests (which are free) and “diagnostic” tests (which are not). Once you are being monitored for a problem (e.g. High cholesterol) all your tests are deemed “diagnostic” and so you pay for all of them out of pocket (up to your deductable). This can add up to allot of $$ for those of us on high-deductible plans.

      Nina

      • maryb says:

        Another point to consider is that if you are monitoring yourself you may not have to start taking statins or other medications that we all know would be best to avoid to remain truly healthy. I don’t know anyone that started on one medication that didn’t have to start taking another. The truth is doctors reach for the prescription pad way too fast, most know very little about nutrition, and they aren’t as concerned about side effects as they should be.

        • libertatemamo says:

          I would generally have to agree with that. Statins, in particular, are grossly over-prescribed IMHO. Again, it’s due to the general focus on treatment rather than prevention. I’m not knocking traditional medicine…if I have a serious problem I’m going to want the latest drugs and care that modern medicine can offer, but the importance of preventative care is under-stated, sadly. There are good doctors out there who offer a more “holistic” approach, but they are not easy to find.
          Nina

  15. Else ireland says:

    Good for you Nina. You are reaching so many people, and having spent time with you, I can say you are a true example of what you are preaching. Kim and I find including good fats in our diet, as well as lots of vegetables, works very well for us. Having the BEST time in Marin, with family and friends. Will head south January and February. Hope to ketch up with you and Paul. Happy travels. Here is to our health. Else.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well thanks to you guys we have a serious Kefir-producing lab in our rig. Loving the results! We learn something from everyone we meet.
      Nina

  16. Janna says:

    The cowboy got to his computer before me tonight and said, “Nina has written a damn good post!!!” Very good post Nina! As a nurse I have a tendency to go the organized medicine route rather than try to figure things out for myself. I do take advantage of our local health fair blood draws twice yearly–$55 for tons of tests. We were able to lower Michael’s cholesterol from 226 ( he wasn’t taking any meds) to 177 just by reducing the amount of red meat we consumed. Will look forward to all your upcoming posts on this topic.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well I feel rather proud to have gotten the stamp of approval from the cowboy :) Health fairs are an excellent way to get inexpensive testing done.
      Nina

  17. Wow, wow, wow! How pertinent is this topic.
    I have committed but not paid for a plan that I am really NOT happy with and am considering self pay for hubby. Spending $523 for not much is not sitting well with me; it is a high deductible plan but it is pricey. Hubby and I are in our late 50′s and compared to the rest of the people our age are in good health, on no meds, and maybe carry a few extra pounds.
    Do you have a website for the self tests? Our lab always hits us hard for the work as we are on high deductible plan.
    I need to hear more…please, please give us more info.
    Off to do more research…which last time I did it, was pretty exasperating and yielded nothing.
    Anyone have any inside info on high deductible plans that are cheap? We live in NY ($$$$). We found one that was a hospital/emergency type plan but the doctor’s billing would also have to included in the hospital’s bill and that doesn’t happen in our state; they bill $eparately.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’ll be covering where to get tests done in the next post. Details are coming!
      Nina
      P.S. Edited your post slightly to remove the bits of the political slant. Hope you don’t mind.

  18. LuAnn says:

    Great post Nina. I have been looking forward to this post and anxiously await your next post on this topic. Nutrition and health is a passion of mine as well.

  19. Grace says:

    Hi Nina, I’m so glad you’re talking about this. I’ve always had health insurance through my employer but will be retiring at 62 in another year so my research has already begun.
    I wanted to mention that about a month ago I sent you a FB message which went into your “other” message folder. If you get a chance, check out the photos I sent. I think you’ll enjoy. Grace (in Tucson)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh wow…just found that “other” folder. Don’t think I’ve ever checked it! There were all kinds of messages in there. Thanks for the photos of one of our fav spots. Glad you enjoyed it!
      Nina

  20. Luna says:

    Thank you for this post/series. It’s so timely for me. I seem to have “fallen into” full timing (left for “a few months” and now shopping for larger rig without plans to go back “home”). Right now I need to choose a domicile, and health insurance (not unrelated!), and figure it all out (before buying new rig, before end of year, etc.). I had pretty much settled on SD, but now it’s looking like Florida or Texas (or some other state) will work out better mainly due to health insurance. Anyway, tangent…

    I love information and data, and have just begun to realize that yes, it has to be me who will manage my health care, and doctor(s) will be my allies. When I was growing up there was no sense that you were much other than a passive patient and you just accepted information from doctors without questioning, researching further, etc. (Not that I don’t like and trust doctors because I do!) (And of course we did not have the access to information that we do now – how did we find out anything pre-Internet?!)

    Anyway, looking very much forward to the next post(s) in the series and hearing what you have to say about the self-ordered tests.

    One of the things on my to-do list is to try to get as many of my medical records as I can (from pre-roaming days). So I can manage “my portfolio.”

    Thanks again
    Luna

    PS: Stayed at Memaloose again in September. Was just as nice and *empty* too. Would never have found it without your review.

    • libertatemamo says:

      This is getting ahead of myself, but I figure it might help you. Having spent A LOT of time looking at the various ACA insurance plans across the nation I would definitely recommend *against* SD if you are below Medicare Age. There is currently only one PPO plan listed on the SD exchange and the network it provides is terrible (almost non-existent). In fact this will very likely force us to change domicile next year (when our current SD plan expires). With regards to the “big 3 RV” states would recommend either TX or FL…both offer decent PPO-based plans, although TX seems to have the cheaper costs. I’ll be writing more about this in a future post, but hope that helps you for now!

      As for medical records. YES I highly recommend keeping a personal file of all your medical records. I’ve done this for years (both for us and the pets). I even go one step further and recommend scanning & saving records to an off-site storage.

      Nina
      P.S. Glad you enjoyed Memaloose!!

  21. Ralph says:

    Nina,
    You mentioned in an earlier post about coconut oil(which I take everyday). Yesterday, bought some coconut butter…GOOD stuff!! If you like the oil…you might just love the coconut butter!

  22. Bob says:

    nice post you should check out lef.org for blood work also mercola.com

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks! lef.org I did not know about and will look into. Mercola is someone I’ve read for years. Don’t always agree w/ all his stuff, but he does push the envelope on a lot of questions and I generally like his approach.
      Nina

  23. jil says:

    Great and informative post….glad you are doing something here on your blog about it since I could never get through your NU RV posts….

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, this is kinda a supplement to what’s going on over there. Once I wade through and finalize all my ACA options I’ll be doing a post on that too.
      Nina

  24. Thanks, Nina, for sharing your thoughts and research! Wonderful post. Looking forward to your self testing post:)

  25. helloroad says:

    I found this entry really interesting and hope you continue. Have a great weekend and thanks again

  26. Mrs. Heyduke says:

    With our being full time nomads also, we are fortunate that our insurance is accepted by the Mayo Clinic. The three locations (Florida, Phoenix and Minnesota) have made it easy to arrange annual visits. We have our eyes checked, dermatology (mole) checks, my mammogram, full bloodwork, my female visits, EKG’s, and any other tests we want all completed within 2 to 3 days. This includes discussions of results. Even better, because it is done all in one clinic, we only pay one copay. It turns out we pay FAR LESS than what we were paying in the co-pays to each specialist back home not to mention back home we often had to wait a week or more to see and discuss results. Within our online account at the Mayo, we can see all results, clinical notes, etc and even compare them to years past. It has been the perfect solution for us.

    • libertatemamo says:

      The Mayo Clinic is a fabulous model if your insurance covers it. I wish we could use it! Sadly, most of the high-deductable insurances which us young folks get do not apply and if you need to pay out-of-pocket for Mayo it is mucho expensive $$$$. If I ever end up with a co-pay insurance that covers Mayo, you can be sure I’ll be using it.
      Nina

  27. Paul says:

    An excellent source of information on how diet can affect health is Dr. Michael Greger at nutritionfacts.org. He has several videos at his web site on the relationship between diet and depression.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Interesting site. His approach is obviously totally plant-based (which mine is not), but I liked his videos on probiotics and mental health (which is a topic I’ve been delving into recently in more detail) and a few of his other links.
      Nina

  28. Nina,
    Very timely post with so many people having to re-evaluate their medical insurance as the ACA goes into effect. Catastrophic coverage with large deductibles seems to be the wave of the future, which will require consumers to be much more involved in their own own healthcare if they’re at all interested in saving money. Your info is helpful to not only “nomads” but to anyone who is uninsured/underinsured. Our adult daughter has no coverage through her employer, so is starting from scratch. I recently attained Medicare age, so I feel I’m in good shape coverage-wise. Do have a supplemental also. It’s so simple. I’ve noticed that on recent statements my healthcare provider has begun charging the Medicare rate rather than the inflated “list” price for services. Looking forward to future installments. You’re providing a very important public service, and the forum format elicits even more useful information.
    What sets your blog apart for me is that you’re all about “helping” your readers in any way possible, from campground reviews with photos to rig improvement ideas, and everything else in between too numerous to mention. I briefly followed another RV blogger that was essentially “all about me”. Pretty annoying, really!
    Surprised and encouraged that you have a history of depression. You’re the epitome of “carpe diem” IMHO!
    A medical reference I would add to the discussion is Dr. Weil, who I suspect you are probably already familiar with. His is a very “holistic” approach. We even had a primary care doctor for a while who had studied with him.
    Paul

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks for the kudos and support. I do try to reach & help as many people as possible and it’s wonderful to see that message is coming through. I also agree that self-care is going to become more and more important. Given all the changes from ACA, high deductable insurance will undoubtedly become the norm for self-insured. Many younger people will be looking to self-care in the future and reserving their insurance for bigger events.

      Yes, Dr.Weil I know well. Have read alot of his studies and certainly used many of his holistic approaches in my own life (and for my animals). Amazing man.

      Nina

  29. Cherie - @Technomadia says:

    It’s so wonderful to see this series coming together, I thoroughly enjoyed noshing heads with you about medical related stuff while soaking.

    It’s overwhelming stuff for sure, and you’re having such a positive impact for so many in helping them sort through it all.

  30. Rita says:

    As a Native American, we practiced self medication and healing techniques and a lot of the modern medicines derived from medicinal plants and other techniques we use. We still use doctors and specialist….especially for surgeries, cancer treatment, organ transplant (although we believe it’s taboo to receive a deceased person’s body part or give your body part). I am very interested to hear what you have to say about self testing and treatment. Yes, I agree with you on making your doctor aware of your concerns and don’t let up until all avenues have been covered. My sister kept complaining of chest pain…doctors kept telling her it was heart burns or they said it was anxiety attacks…she insisted on a cat scan…they found two blocked arteries and had a double bypass last month. Had she not insisted, she might have had a massive heart attack. I know myself pretty well and if something doesn’t feel right I do something about it. If I can’t fix it myself, I see a professional.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I love herbal healing. Growing up in Asia also gave me a deep appreciation for Chinese medicine which works on a very holistic level, so I have an interest in both things, I’ll be focusing on the testing side for the next post, rather than the healing…that’s almost an entire book in itself!
      Nina

  31. Doug says:

    Hey Nina you have inspired me to remember to take my daily vitamin! What do you think of getting affordable vaccines at the local county health department?

    • libertatemamo says:

      I haven’t really had any vaccinations done since my childhood (except for Tetanus and a few travel-related vaccinations), but this is an interesting tip. If you are uninsured or your insurance doesn’t cover it, then it looks like you can get very inexpensive vaccinations at many of the County Health Departments around the country. I just browsed through the San Diego website and saw they offered everything from childhood vaccines through travel & flu vaccines. Total cost at the San Diego clinic is $10 regardless of how many shots you get. I’m sure other clinics around the country offer similar deals. If you need vaccinations this looks like an excellent deal. Thanks for sharing it!

      Nina

  32. […] and it’s inexpensive, plus we are in good health and we pay most of our regular expenses out-of-pocket. What we’ve needed was a health insurance that would cover us in catastrophic terms (i.e. if […]

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