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Author Topic: Cannot pass for High Cholesterol?!  (Read 5853 times)

Offline trueroscoe

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Cannot pass for High Cholesterol?!
« on: July 22, 2014, 04:05:58 PM »
Hello, all.

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?

Offline AmandaJeanus

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Re: Cannot pass for High Cholesterol?!
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 02:29:29 PM »
Ask the peace corps nurse dealing with your medical pre-clearance if you can get a medical addendum from your regular physician vouching for your health. I recently had to do this for an issue with sleep apnea. I refused to get the tests they asked and wrote to the nurse saying that I am in good health and there is no reason to require me to take so many tests. I went to my own doctor and had her write me a note stating my medical history, the reasons for some of my health conditions, and basically got my physician to say I am of no medical liability and should be cleared to serve. Surprisingly this worked for me and I was given pre-medical clearance last week. There are other options too, like filing an appeal. There are so many factors in medical clearance and remember they just want to make sure you aren't going to have serious medical issues arise while serving that could possibly not be treated leading to fatality.

I hope that helps. I don't know if they will allow you to get a doctors note, but it is worth asking right.

Offline Steve S

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Re: Cannot pass for High Cholesterol?!
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2014, 04:09:33 PM »
When it comes to the clearance it may not do much good to get a "note from your doctor" since the government staff are only barely in the same profession, and often have divergent medical opinions. My guess is that if you can find cheap or free (medicaid or other health coverage that now includes prescription coverage) you can satisfy the Peace Corps Medical staff in time. The bright side, is that at least you avoided the chance of early return in some parts of Africa for Ebola and may avoid some later complications from an untreated minor condition.

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Cannot pass for High Cholesterol?!
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2014, 03:55:54 AM »
I had high cholesterol. I went red meat free, used Red Rice Yeast and ate Oatmeal like it was crack. I passed the medical. I now am addicted to oatmeal and eat very little red meat. The medical is very annoying.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur