My Diabetes Update With Information About Less Expensive Insulin Options

meds

The last time I updated about my diabetes was in August. A lot has happened since then, so I decided to update y’all. I started taking Novolog using a prefilled pen type of injector after my August visit with the endocrinologist. It was easy enough to get used to, and it worked well in keeping my blood sugar under control. Then, in November, I entered into the “Medicare Gap”. For those of you who do not know what that is, I’ll try to explain. 

This is from Senior65.com

In 2015, if your Medicare Part D drug plan has a coverage gap once you and your insurance provider have paid $2,960 toward your covered drugs and you exit it at $4,700. Here is what you’ll owe for generics and your plan’s covered brand name drugs during the donut-hole:

Generic costs: 65%
Brand name costs: 45%

My insulin was going to cost me over $300 for each prescription for the month of December. I was panicking because I really didn’t know where almost $700 was going to come from to pay for my medications. I went to the Haralson County Department of Family and Children’s Services, which is the agency I needed to apply for the “Extra Help” that is available to some people who are having problems paying for their medications through Medicare. I did not qualify for that extra help. The next step was to apply for “financial assistance” from the manufacturers of the two forms of insulin I take. I did not qualify for that either, because I have insurance. Catch 22, eh?

Next, I asked my primary care doctor if she had any samples she could offer me so that I could make it to January, when I would be out of the gap purely because it was new year. She told me that she was no longer able to dispense medication samples due (I think, see note) to a provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). This provision mandates that in order for rural healthcare providers to dispense samples of medications to their patients, they must keep a record of what medications they gave out, and they must call each patient who is using sample medications every day for five consecutive days to ask the patient if they are having any problems with those medications. In order to do the required patient contact and associated reporting, my doctor would have had to hire someone specifically to take care of making the calls, entering the data into the computer, and fill out out reports to comply with the mandate. Because hiring another person for her practice would be financially draining she opted to not give out medication samples.  (note: I googled my brains out trying to find information to back this up but was unable to find anything. Next time I talk to my doctor, I will ask where to find information about this.)

My endocrinologist is in another county and city that is not considered to be rural, so I went to his office next and requested samples that would be enough to get through December. Because so many of his patients are on medicare, and are all in “the donut hole”, they were completely out of samples. I understand that. I am not the only person who was floating in this boat. So, at this point, I had exhausted all of my options for getting any financial help or free samples of my medication. I ended up doing without one of my insulin prescriptions for three weeks simply because I could not afford it. 

I had a regular appointment with my endocrinologist the first week of January. Amazingly, my hbA1C was 6.1. The doctor remarked that I was the first patient he had seen that day with a normal A1C. I then had a discussion with him about the unaffordability of the medications he had prescribed for me, and I asked if there was a cheaper option I could take. That is when he told me that Wal-Mart has their own brand of insulin, both the long acting and the fast acting types, and that I could get them without a prescription at the Wal-Mart pharmacy for about $25 each. He told me which one of their brands was equivalent to the meds I take, and how to take each one. That was a real relief to me, because I would be going into the medicare gap this year in April, making my insulin just plain unaffordable for more than 7 months. 

The price of the two vials I need every  month of insulin, one of each type, plus the syringes I need to be able to give myself the injections, is $62.64. If I were to go through my insurance company and get to get the pre-filled pens that my doctor prescribed for me to begin with, the cost would be $90–two $45 co-pays. And, it would throw me into the “gap” starting in April, making all of my medications more expensive until November, when I would have paid enough out of pocket to come out of the gap. What I don’t understand is why I had to go through all of the steps I went through, and do without my medication for almost a month, before I got the information I needed. Why would my doctor not tell me about a less expensive brand of medication that works just as well? I already know the answer, but I still had to ask it here, just to provoke people to think about what they are doing. 

Now, my advice to any of you who have gotten this far reading about my medical hassles, is to 1) Tell your doctor you can’t afford the medication he has prescribed, and 2) ask your doctor if there is a more inexpensive medication that will work just as well for you. You are your own best advocate–open your mouth and speak up for yourself. 

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Eli’s Cheesecake Heart Shaped White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake For Valentine’s Day

I received product from Eli’s Cheesecake for review.

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What could say “I Love You” more deliciously than a heart shaped White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake from Eli’s Cheesecake? Just imagine you and your honey, sipping on a glass of wine and feeding each other bites of cheesecake while cuddled together in front of the fireplace. Or, having coffee and cheesecake for breakfast in bed. Either way, this little bit of heaven will have your sweetie wanting more. 

Eli's Cheesecake

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

While this particular cheesecake from Eli’s is NOT gluten free, they do have two cheesecake items that ARE gluten free, including this mmmmarvelous Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Eli's Cheesecake

Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Fabgrandpa and I tasted the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. It was so creamy and delicious that it was really hard not to go for seconds, but we did resist. We’re only eating 1/2 a slice each since we are both diabetic, and trying not to over do the sugar, but it is so so hard with this cheesecake in the house. If you are like us, and have a need to cut out the sugar, but still want to indulge yourself with cheesecake from Eli’s, you can try the Cheesecake Cuties. They are  bite-sized pieces of Eli’s Cheesecake,wrapped in chocolate and brushed with festive edible gold dust. They’re the ultimate “box of chocolates”. Each piece has only 10 grams of carbohydrate, so you can satisfy your craving for the taste of cheesecake without sending your blood sugar sky high! 

Cheesecake Cuties Eli's Cheesecake

Cheesecake Cuties: each piece has only 10 grams of carbohydrate.

Another great choice if you are cutting down on sugar for any reason is the Key Lime Skinny Eli’s Cheesecake. It has all the flavor of a key lime dessert with only 12 grams of carbs! Made with Equal Sweetener and baked on a graham cracker crust, it has only 150 calories a slice. No need to overindulge to have the best cheesecake ever!

Eli's Cheesecake Key Lime Skinny Cheesecake: Only 150 calories a slice.

Key Lime Skinny Cheesecake: Only 150 calories a slice.

One very lucky reader is going to win a White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake from Eli’s Cheesecakes. Just use the Giveaway Tools form to enter. Good luck!

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Give Your Living Room A New Lease Of Life With These Home Decor Tips

Your living room is the heart of your home. Not only because you spend most of your time here, but also because it makes a lasting impression on friends and family who visit.

living room

If you look around right now and find your living room a bit… lacking, there are a number of ways in which you can give it a complete makeover. Even if you’re simply bored of its current avatar and want to put a fresh spin on it, it’s not that complicated.

Here’s a quick guide to help you resurrect your living room and make it the one you’ve always dreamed of.

The Floor Plan

The living room floor plan is mainly based around the furniture. It dictates where and how people will spend their time while they’re in this space.

An area with seating arrangements around a centerpiece like a table will encourage conversation and that’s perfect for small gatherings. If you tend to host larger gatherings, setting up seating along windows and walls would be a better idea.

When you’re putting chairs and sofas together in the same area, leave a gap of at least 5-7 feet to facilitate comfortable conversation.

We’re not done yet! Consider where people will walk while in your living room, and ensure that these paths aren’t too convoluted or cluttered. Set aside at least 3.5 feet of space for the most-travelled path. You don’t want people constantly bumping into furniture, after all.

Focus Matters

The focal point in your living room refers to the dominant feature that draws the attention of anyone who enters the room.

If you have a fireplace, this usually serves as a focal point, but you can also use a window with a view, a grand piano, or artwork to control where people look when they first enter the room. The focal point can also act as the centerpiece for the primary seating arrangement.

The Enclosure

Walls play an important role in determining the mood and function of any living area. Simply painting the walls in fresh colors can have a huge impact on the space.

You can also choose to use modern backsplashes in the living room. This adds an unconventional twist to the look of the room and can really grab eyeballs. If you’re unsure how to go about finding the right backsplash for your home, a company like Tile Markets will be able to offer you some insight.

If you’re willing to invest a little more effort into sprucing up your living room, you could add or remove walls. Of course, always consult with a contractor or architect to ensure that the changes are safe. Adding a wall to your living room instills a sense of privacy, while removing one opens up access to adjacent areas and gives you more space to work with.

The Question Of Elevation

The height of the ceiling can be hard to change once your home is already constructed, but this is only if you want to increase its height. Some people like the idea of a high ceiling for better temperature control or to suspend a chandelier, while others prefer the cozy feeling of a lower ceiling.

If you want to lower your ceiling, you can install a false ceiling at the height you prefer. Another option that you should consider is using a mirror to create the illusion of height and space. Certain shades of paint also serve to make the room feel larger than it actually is.

Space, it seems, is not that hard to create after all.

Aperture Adjustment

Windows not only serve as focal points but also allow natural light to flood your living room.

You can pick from a wide variety of styles when it comes to windows, but bear in mind that the style of the window and the window coverings that you use should complement the furniture and the general aesthetic of the room.

Television: Yes Or No?

Having a television in your living room is totally up to you, but try not to make it the focal point. Place it in such a way that it doesn’t become the sole purpose of the room.

A living room remodel requires meticulous planning and execution. Consider all these aspects before you start and you’ll end up with a living room that’ll be the envy of the neighborhood.

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ClaudiaG Debuts Spring Collection

I received compensation for this post.
claudia G

 ClaudiaG Collection, a brand of boutique-style beautifully handcrafted and sophisticated handbags, versatile accessories and on-trend jewelry, is launching its new Spring & Summer Collection with two events  on Sunday, Feb. 7.  One event will be in Oregon, Ohio, the other one in McDonough, Georgia. Local women from the surrounding areas are invited to register for these free events at EvenrBrite, where they will be among the first to see the brand’s new collection and learn about the unique chance to join the blossoming network of ClaudiaG consultants.

The line includes some very pretty and very functional handbags, from shoulder bags, to top handle bags, to crossbody bags; jewelry, scarves, wallets, belts and more.

Here are some of the beautiful items from the ClaudiaG Collection cataloge:

orange shoulder bag mustard top handle gold cuff
geo plum fringed crossbody clear crystal bracelet
chameleon crossbody cascade necklace blue shoulder bag
blue drop necklace black top handle belt bracelet

ClaudiaG officially launched in 2012, when founder Claudia Gutierrez created her first handbag line, selling to women nationwide in small tradeshows and boutiques. Inspired by the possibility to empower other women to take control of their own careers, she altered the ClaudiaG business model to direct sales in 2014, repositioning the company for strong future growth with female entrepreneurs joining her team across the country. 

 

The ClaudiaG Collection is the only brand in the direct sales industry offering a full and complete line of genuine leather handbags, all exquisitely designed in exclusive limited editions. Bright, bold and beautiful, the ClaudiaG Collection offers something to meet every woman’s needs with its sophisticated handbags as well as stylish accessories and modern jewelry. Based in Houston and founded in 2012 by Claudia Gutierrez, ClaudiaG provides women with an outlet to generate substantial income through its empowering social selling model. To learn more, visit www.claudiagcollection.com

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Church’s Chicken and Texas Pete Want To Be On Your Team For The Big Game!

I received compensation for this post.
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Did you know that Americans are expected to eat 1.25 billion chicken wings during the 2016 Super Bowl, according to the National Chicken Council? That’s a lot of wings! And now through February 7, you can get your bone in wings at  Church’s Chicken®. The folks at Church’s Chicken are teaming up with  Texas Pete®, to add bone-in wings to its menu for a limited time.

Hurry up if you want some! They are only available until February 7.

Hurry up if you want some! They are only available until February 7.

You know you love that made from scratch fried chicken, along with those yummy good honey-butter biscuits. Until Sunday, February 7, you can order  “The Wings That Bite Back”, Church’s juicy, marinated, bone-in chicken wings, fried up golden brown and seasoned with an extra kick of spicy Texas Pete®. 

“Wings are one of America’s favorite ways to enjoy fried chicken,” shared Jennifer Chasteen, Senior Director of Brand & Product Strategy at Church’s®. “We’re proud to once again team with Texas Pete® to bring our guests a best-in-class spicy, bone-in wing.”

 

Available January 18th through February 7th, while supplies last, guests will be able to choose a 5-piece meal, complete with fries and a honey-butter biscuit. Or for those looking to feed the team, a 20-piece Texas Pete® Family Wings meal is also available. Texas Pete is a registered trademark of T.W. Garner Food Company.

One lucky reader of Fabgrandma.com is going to win a Church’s Chicken Prize Pack that contains  a football, two 8 piece meal cards, a bottle of Texas Pete hot sauce bottle, a Church’s branded pen and Frisbee and lastly hand wipes for when you try our wings! 

Use the Giveaway Tools form to enter, but hurry up because this giveaway ends in just ten days.

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Cheryl’s Desserts Love Struck Valentine’s Tower: Gluten Free Cookies in A Beautiful Package

I received product in order to review for this post.
cheryls

If you eat a gluten free diet, then you know how hard it is to find gluten free treats that are nice enough, and taste good enough, to send as gift to someone you love. Well, let me tell you about Cheryl’s Desserts.  Not all of the cookies they sell are gluten free, but they do have a wide assortment of gluten free cookies from which to choose. The ones they sent me were packaged in very pretty boxes, that I plan to keep and use for storage in my sewing room. 

Chery's Love Struck Gluten Free Cookie Gift

Chery’s Love Struck Gluten Free Cookie Gift

The cookies inside of the boxes were all individually wrapped, so each one was as fresh as the first one. Fabgrandpa ate the brownies, and had no idea they were gluten free. They were THAT good. Cheryl’s Desserts knows how to do brownies for sure.

Cheryl's gluten free brownies

Cheryl’s gluten free brownies

I did snag one bite of one of the brownies, and from that one bite, I could tell they were so very chocolately and chewy and fudgey. I may have to buy another tower just so I can eat a whole one. I’m just glad Fabgrandpa liked them. 

Snickerdoodles and Brownies Walnut Cookies

Snickerdoodles and Brownie Walnut Cookie

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies, and these were very good. They were soft and sprinkled with sugar and spice. The Brownie Walnut Cookies were very chocolatey with just a bit of chopped walnuts in them. 

Buttercream Frosted Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Buttercream Frosted Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies

The biggest box on the bottom of the tower had my favorite cookies of them all in it. The Buttercream Frosted Sugar Cookies were so flavorful, with a crisp-chewy cookie spread generously with buttercream frosting. I know I will have some explaining to do to my endocrinologist but I just couldn’t help myself. So good! The Chocolate Chip cookies were just as good as gluten full chocolate chip cookies I have tasted. Really, you will not go wrong sending this gluten free cookie assortment to your sweetheart. The Love Struck Tower retails for $49.99.

I love these boxes

I love these boxes

Which of Cheryl’s Desserts would be your favorite? You can see all the gluten free cookies here

 

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