So, background: I have familial hypercholesterolemia, or genetically high cholesterol. Diet and exercise can help, but my body fundamentally has problems processing the stuff and produces too much of it - daily doses of cholesterol lowering medication are what help me. I lived in China for the past four years while I did school online, and only returned June 3rd for my graduation. I was originally going to Senegal in September, before the Medical office sprang cholesterol testing on me a few days before I left. It took me the better part of three weeks to get a cholesterol test, since I didn't have health insurance, a regular doctor, or a prescription for my medication, which I could buy over the counter in China.
Then I was bound for Ghana in October, but the Medical office requested additional tests (which I have paid for out of pocket, I might add, due to the aforementioned total lack of health insurance). Finally, I am now on the list to go to Guinea-Conakry, and expected to hear back from them in August. Then I was informed that Medical wanted me to get a second test in September, after staying on medication for three months. Every doctor I've spoken to has lectured me about not taking a 'stable' amount of my medication, and I want to scream that I've changed countries and continents and don't have American health insurance or a prescription and demand to know how exactly I'm supposed to be a model of medical stability given those conditions. Because, believe me, having stable access to my cholesterol medication would be a wonderful thing!
Finally, they told me to do another cholesterol test in September, now that I'm listed for Guinea-Conakry which sends out their invitations in August. I said fine, can I proceed medically and get that back to them after it's done? This was the response:
"Because your levels were so high he has not cleared you to move forward. Yet... You could not see the task because it needs to be obtained after 9/18. 9/18 is the start date of the task so it did not appear on the screen until then, I moved the date but the labs must be obtained after 9/18. Please take this seriously and work on exercise and diet modification. You have a whole life to live and you need to be healthy in order to thrive."
I checked the new website, and after the Guinea boat leaves, the next program (Zambia) leaves in February. I had expected and budgeted for a four-month stay in America, not the better part of a year. And even then, I didn't expect to be taking repeated visits to the doctor and the blood-testing facility...again, entirely out of pocket.
And all over high cholesterol! I'm not diabetic, I'm not obese. I have a BMI of 27.4. I'm 28. One of the jobs I've found is hauling scrap metal - I pick up and carry old engine parts and bits of twisted iron all day. I do karate twice a week. I eat vegetables (snacking on carrots right now). I am not unhealthy. I have a genetic condition that does not impact my daily life whatsoever - I can certify that I won't die if I miss my medication for a few days (or weeks).
Who do I have to talk to, what do I have to do, to get the treadmill to stop?