NOTICE: WordPress blocks my sharing of this message with one of my personal emails and does nothing to help me solve this problem. How many others are being blocked in the distribution of my blog messages?
Dear Men’s Health Advisor (Cleveland Clinic):
in 2019 and 2020, before COVID-19, I followed the directions, with approval of my primary care physician at Guthrie Clinic, Owego, NY, of Canadian Dr. Jason Fung, based on his book, The Diabetes Code. His instructions that insulin cause too much weight gain and the body eventually does not accept it were my guiding light, as I asked my PCP to discontinue the insulin injections from Tresiba. In addition, I followed the very strict “sugar de-tox” diet over several weeks, which also included intermittent fasting about twice during a week’s time. The results were fabulous. With diet, exercise (daily walking regimen, which I was doing BEFORE I started Dr. Fung’s advice) I continued Ozempic, jardiance, and 2 mg glimepiride, I lost nearly 40 pounds in just a few weeks. My glucose numbers went down tremendously so that many times, for the first time in years, my fasting glucose levels were usually in the range of 100 to 180. There were several times my numbers went down to the 90s, but never below that. My A1C eventually dropped to 7.2, 7.3. I was thrilled.
Then, I hit the Medicare donut hole in 2020 and discovered some exorbitant high prices for the Ozempic and jardiance (plus the xarelto). It was breaking my bank, especially considering that Ozempic by Nova Nordisk is $1200 without any insurance coverage and the donut hole makes me cough up 25% of that price. Ripoff city which was not the case BEFORE the privatized Medicare set in place by the Republicans about the time of the Bush recession. Pricks, including Rick the Prick of Florida who now sits in the U.S. Senate. I was not able to afford the Ozempic, so my glucose numbers began to climb again. It has gotten so bad that my latest A1C jumped to 8.3.
Everything that is being done to me is experimental measures to replace the Ozempic. Nothing is working and the metformin gives me such bad abdominal pain and diarrhea, that I have been told to stop taking it. Yet, CVS and Walgreens were somehow instructed to continue with it, supplying me with six huge bottles of metformin that might last a typical patient six months to a year.
I have also gone from Victoza to, within the past four days, Rybelsus. Victoza and Rybellsus do not cost as much as Ozempic, but they are still expensive brand names which don’t work. So my money going out of my pocket is a waste, paying for something which does not do the job. The money someone in insurance spent on all that metformin is likely a waste of insurance and/or Medicare money, money which me and many others my age have funded for 40 plus years and are told there is not enough. No wonder, if there is a lack of regulation of this so as to keep the costs down. No wonder because we are losing money to lawyers with their damn personal injury and workman’s comp lawsuits which clog the court system and drain our tax dollars, as opposed to simply paying for the injuries directly, with no “middle man” of lawyer and the tons of money they get, plus the bleeding of our tax dolars in the process. (But does Cleveland Clinic, Guthrie, UHS, or Lourdes speak up about this? Nah).
My glucose numbers, as I begin the Rybelsus (14 mg) and have been on it for four days now, have gone from 208 to 268. One time, they were down to 180. I have also not given up on metformin, so for the past few days, I have taken only one tablet of metformin each day. Today, I developed abdominal pains and diarrhea once again. However, I did a test. My glucose numbers BEFORE the metformin (and after the Rybelsus) were 208 most of the morning. I took the metformin and the Jardiance and then began to develop the pains and diarrhea. After about four times going to the bathroom within an hours time and emptying myself out as if I was preparing for a colonoscopy, I took my glucose numbers once again. The numbers, following my emptying out myself, increased from 208 to 268. Please explain this to me because I get no answers from health providers or pharmacists. No one seems to know the answers, whether health-related or how much the meds cost on privatized Medicare.
In addition, I am so concerned about the time of day and with which meals I should take my medicine, that I consulted a pharmacist about this, as I picked up the Rybelsus. The pharmacist said, “there is no particular time and it could be taken at any time.” Nothing about meals or no meals. I tried it before reading the instructions. Then after two days, I read the instructions and it said, “take without food first thing in the morning once arising in the morning and wait a time (half hour? I don’t recall) before eating or drinking.” Also, “take with only four ounces of water.” So I switched. But are we not supposed to consult with pharmacists on this and they are supposed to know? After all, when one picks up a new medicine, the pharmacy asks, “do you have any questions about this medication?” So I ask. This was what I got when I asked the question I had: “take at any time.” As a professor, I used to tell my students “that therei s no such thing as a stupid question unless there is one you don’t ask.” Sounds like we live in a society where we get false answers instead. And we wonder why American voters don’t know much about what is going on today, either, with the false crap thrown at them through bloviating political analysis at Fox, MSNBC, and CNN, in the name of entertainment, not news. With entertainment, no one is concerned about whether someone’s bloviating opinion is correct or not and based on facts or not or just their own emotions and/or facts, just get the ratings that are the best and make the most money, like lawyers do with personal injury and workman’s injuries. Like big pharma does with healthcare and the expensive commercials they purchase making lying claims to “get Ozempic” at only $25.00 per month and never mentioning their little discount does not apply to Medicare patients with complex and convoluted privatized Medicare crap (or I mean, GAP) of tiers and donut holes, ignoring the idea to “KISS.” We don’t want to “KISS,” do we? (If you know what I am saying here with this ACRONYM).
We read your Cleveland Clinic Men’s Health Advisor regularly and appreciate the coverage. So, I thought I would write about the questions I have. Right now. This ery minute, my last glucose number was 208. It has hovered right around there, with the exception of the time following my period of intermittent fasting. It then actually got as low as 180. WOW! I wish it were 80, not 180. When I was following Dr. Fung’s sugar de-tox diet and doing intermittent fasting, my numbers did, at times, hover around a low point of 80-100. Otherwise, it was from 100-180.
What am I supposed to do? starve myself in order to keep my numbers down? Evidently putting ANY food in and my numbers are on the rise, or so it appears. Do I break my financial bank by paying 25% of the $1200 for Ozempic? Tell me how I am supposed to do that and still live. Maybe I SHOULD starve myself and then have the money to pay for Ozempic, right? What the hell do I do? Because I pay 25% of the full price for Ozempic, Jardiance, and Xarelto – all three brand name drugs which are charged by Walgreens, CVS, and big pharma with ripoff prices. That comes close to a $700 per month charge which is higher than my monthly mortgage payment. Add to that the monthly figures for auto and homeowners’ insurance. Also add to that the charge for my generic drugs, which is not a lot for each, but added up and boy do you have a large number.
I am being very critical of healthcare providers and pharmacies because they have no knowledge of what it costs those of us on privatized Medicare, with no options for some premiums which would help us offset the cost of such drugs and do so in a better way. And none of the health providers and pharmaceutical companies give a damn about patients who are stuck in donut holes. They don’t care, as this is “reality,” as one said. Reality? It takes a village to collectively overturn reality which is dictated by fat pigs at the top of the mountains of big corporations. It is tougher, too, when we are forced to deal, more and more, with the big corporations, including Rick the Prick’s Hospital Corporation of America (and with a conflict of interest for a benefit to Rick the Prick, he steals an election in Florida to sit in the U.S. Senate now), it is far tougher to do than the days in America when we had small businesses who were interested in the balance of supply and demand capitalism, replaced now by monopoly laden supply side economics. The pharmacy which I now deal with is owned by a big corporate chain called Walgreens, but I recall when it was a small business owned by a local pharmacist and not a big company. That worked quite well, too. And Walgreens, I am told, has tried to circumvent the use of unions to build new stores in upstate New York. What a bunch of lousy scumbags. The store Walgreens now occupies here was built in the days of union labour.
That is my criticism, added to my questions. I hope and pray we can all come together and correct these problems which impact so many millions of people. You might think I am asking you to put yourselves in MY shoes, but in reality, I am asking if you can put your feet in the shoes of millions of New Yorkers and Americans who have many of the same concerns and conditions to which I am addressing. Somehow I am not reaching the right people in order to get action and that is shameful in America where the ones who are now trying to get action are pointing to guns and the 2nd Amendment as a means to get actions and falsely proclaiming that the amendment was designed to support insurrection. Wrong and the Proud Boys, Qanon, MAG jerks need an attitude adjustment, as all the attention is given to them and not the concerns of millions upon millions of Americans like me, plus others I have not even mentioned here.