Ben & Michelle

Ben’s story appeared in the final report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of Pharmacare, A Prescription for Canada: Achieving Pharmacare for All

I’m 20 and diagnosed type 1 diabetic when I was one.

Diabetes management has always been a team effort between my Mom and me. Now that I’ve finished high school, I’m coming to terms with accepting and managing my condition on my own.

My diabetes has always been hard on my family and I felt guilty growing up. I know better, but I often reuse my syringes, skip tests or hold off on an injection a little longer to make my insulin last.

I’ve ended up in hospital a few times in the last year trying to stretch it a bit too far. To add insult to injury, I just found out that I have inherited sleep apnea. I’ve no idea how I can afford that equipment.

We’re in a good place with coverage for now, though the plan only covers 80 per cent and not the sleep apnea gear. With needles, test strips and insulin, it still really adds up. Mom works two jobs now, it’s a lot of very early mornings that I wish she didn’t have to do. I’d like to take over paying for my medications to help out my Mom, especially because once I turn 21, I’ll be too old for her plan. I’m not sure how I will afford them then.

My condition will never go away. With the economy the way it is, I feel the likelihood of me finding a good job with benefits is pretty low. Type 1 diabetes means no hope of private coverage, how will I cope?