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Big snowstorm tomorrow

March 6th, 2018 at 06:40 am

The online forecast for my town says 3 to 6" while my local TV weather report is for up to 14". Tomorrow is my half day; I think I will work from home.

I got 2 class action settlement checks recently that were fairly significant. One was for a Kombucha drink I tried and the check was for $20; the other was for a supplement and was for $62.

This week I want to hit Trader Joe's on Thursday. (Was going to do it Wednesday, but the snow will make that impossible.) It's always mobbed on a weekend and it's definitely the kind of store you want to linger in the aisles and check out their many different food items. There's always something interesting to "discover."

I also have tentative plans to take my father shopping for a new mattress Thursday, but it's all dependent on how much digging out we have to do. The snow won't end til about 1 am Thursday morning.

On Friday I'll enjoy a complimentary lunch with my MS friends, hosted by Teva Neuroscience. It's at a nice Italian restaurant right here in town.

Now that a generic Copaxone is available, Teva is really losing customers and the company is taking a big hit. I have no sympathy since they hiked the price to an insane degree in earlier years.

In an all too common practice with high-priced drugs, the company made the med available to patients with private health insurance at a $0 copay, but the health insurance companies still get stuck paying their very high prices.

Medicare and govt health plans do not allow such discount programs, so when I turn 65 and need the meds, I guess I'll have to pay through that donut hole.

And with the generic now available, Teva will lose even more customers because health insurers like mine are now saying if there's a generic available, you have to take it, if you want coverage.

In the meantime, my mason wants to come back to remeasure my back patio, possibly Wednesday morning while the snow is still "light." I would like to redo the patio in new pavers; it's not just a cosmetic thing, as every year, all summer long, weeds sprout in between the old red bricks there now, which are disintegrating and in poor shape. It's a huge maintenance issue, especially after it rains, and I no longer want to spend time weeding my large perennial beds in back, either. So I'd have the pavers come right up to the house and out about 14 feet in a large rectangle.

I had originally thought that a ground level Trex deck would be cheaper than masonry, but actually it's not.

The masonry price was a little less than what he charged me to do the driveway/courtyard, but after I paced my driveway, I roughly calculated the driveway was 25% bigger than the patio, so the patio price should be 25% less than what I paid for the driveway. It wasn't. I was surprised the mason said he'd like to come back and remeasure. I had assumed he was just padding the estimate. We'll see.

This is the most expensive home improvement project currently on my radar, and it would be nice to get it out of the way now rather than later, when I am perhaps feeling squeezed with my p/t income and more reluctant to do it.

That's my thinking, anyway.

I came across a Dr. Mark Hyman on PBS espousing yet another diet plan. It was similar in many ways to my vegan diet a la Dr. Greger, but it did differ in some important respects.

Both diets emphasized vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts as 75 to 80% of the diet, mostly organic, emphasis on whole foods, and recommend avoiding sugars, refined vegetable oils (Dr. Hyman says olive oil is fine, but Dr. Greger doesn't), all flours, including wheat flour, and dairy.

However, Dr. Hyman's diet supports eating whole eggs and grass-fed meat and butter and says to eat beans only as a side dish (compared to vegans who rely on beans to a greater extent as a protein source).

I am currently following a modified version of Dr. Greger's diet. The main modification is that I am eating wild sockeye salmon one or two times a week. Partly because omega 3s are so important for brain health and for those with MS.

I am tempted to eat organic eggs again. My neighbors behind me raise chickens, so there's a ready source of eggs if I wanted them. I would rather give up bread than eggs, to be honest. Dr. Greger's diet does not include eggs because of their high choline content.

From his website: "Maybe that’s why meat, milk, and eggs have all been associated, at one time or another, with advanced prostate cancer—because of the choline. In fact, choline is so concentrated in cancer cells, if you follow choline uptake, you can track the spread of cancer through the body. "

"Remember, dietary choline is converted in the gut into trimethylamine. And so, the Harvard researchers speculated that the TMAO “from the high dietary choline [intake] may increase inflammation, and this may promote progression of prostate cancer to lethal disease.”

"n 2009, Harvard researchers found that a single egg a day or more was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women, and that finding has since also been confirmed in other populations—Asia in 2011, and Europe in 2012."

"As I noted last year, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found that the daily consumption of the amount of cholesterol found in just a single egg appeared to cut a woman’s life short as much as smoking 25,000 cigarettes—five cigarettes a day, for fifteen years. Following up on that research, a study in the journal Atherosclerosis found that just three eggs or more a week was associated with a significant increase in artery-clogging plaque buildup in people’s carotid arteries, going to their brain—a strong predictor of stroke, heart attack, and death."

"In fact, they found a similar exponential increase in arterial plaque buildup for smokers and egg-eaters. Those that ate the most eggs had as much as two-thirds the risk of those that smoked the most—the equivalent of a pack-a-day habit for 40 years or more.

"This did not go over easy with the egg industry. As revealed in a series of internal memos about this group of researchers, retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act, the American Egg Board discussed the “wisdom of making industry responses when the public knows there is a vested interest….”

6 Responses to “Big snowstorm tomorrow”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I thought it was Dr. Hyman who has a book out on the need for fat in our diets? You might want to look around more, my understanding is that cholesterol in the foods you eat have a small impact on blood cholesterol. It's our livers that produce 80% of cholesterol. I read that one of the biggest studies linking high cholesterol to heart disease in the 60s was found to have removed data to make it appear that it caused heart disease. I know this isn't what you hear today, but that study did leave out all the countries that had high cholesterol and low incidents of heart disease. The new understanding that not all medical doctors have caught up to is that sugar (and the underlying inflammation it causes) is likely the biggest cause of heart disease.

    We eat eggs all the time...literally everyday for my husband and do not have high cholesterol. I'm not telling you what to do of course, just that my research showed something different.

  2. Dido Says:

    By the time you are Medicare, the donut hole will be gone. It's been gradually shrinking since 2010, and disappears altogether in 2020--barring any changes by our government (so who knows).

    For Medicare Part D costs, there are four phases: 1. an initial deductible where you pay 100% (currently $405; it was $310 back in 2010, so it will probably be about $500 by the time you are on Medicare); 2. an "initial coverage phase" that takes care of drugs for most people who don't have a chronic medical condition (currently $3,750); in this phase, you pay 25% of the retail cost of drugs. Then comes the "donut hole" phase for those with higher drug costs. Back in 2010, this meant paying 100% of the costs until you exceeded the limit. But since then, the "donut hole" phase has been coming down, so that people pay a higher percentage, but not 100%, in the donut hole. This is where there were incentives provided to drug manufacturers, so clients pay a higher percentage of their generic drugs than they do of brand-name drugs. In 2018, this is 44% of a generic drug and 35% of a brand name drug. (Back in 2012, this was 84% of a generic and 50% of a brand name--the gap between the two fee schedules has been narrowing.) By 2020, the donut hole phase will mean paying 25% of either a brand name or a generic, just as you do in the initial coverage phase, so essentially, the donut hole goes away. Once you reach a "catastrophic" level of drug requirements (currently $5,0000), you pay 5% of the costs.

    On another topic, while I like Dr. Gregor's work, I do also follow a Ph.D. level nutrition researcher (actually, she's ABD--gave up her academic studies to focus on nutrition coaching) who has indicated that she views his work as extremely biased.

    Personally, I was vegan from 2012 to 2014, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, which required my going gluten-free. It was too much to manage the food restrictions of trying to be both vegan and gluten-free within the constraints of my work schedule, so I decided to give up being vegan in favor of going gluten-free (which has been beneficial, as shown by my thyroid antibody test results).

    I think in the future we are moving towards an era of individualized medicine, and these generic rule of thumb diets will gradually go by the wayside. I see it the same as I see financial planning: generic rules of thumb will get you started, but in the end, it's really you and your particular circumstances (and genetics in the case of diet) that determine what is best for you, and you can find that rules of thumb end up being very bad advice in particular circumstances.

    I think with diet, the best thing is to experiment systematically and keep records of how you are feeling and get periodic blood tests to measure various biomarkers and track how they change with changes in your diet. My two cents.

  3. Dido Says:

    On the part D, that's 5K of out of pocket spending to reach the OOP (out of pocket) limit, so if you're paying 25% of the drug costs, that really means 20K worth of total drug costs before you reach the catastrophic phase.

  4. rob62521 Says:

    I wish we had a Trader Joe's nearby. Did you know the same company owns Aldi?

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    Thanks for all that good info on Medicare. Medicare is one area I haven't focused on much at all since I'm still far from using it, but when I get closer to age 65, I will certainly be reading up on it. They have various classes around here on how to choose a Medicare plan, which could be helpful

    Yes, rob, I shop at both TJs and Aldi's. I like them both, for different reasons.

  6. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I need to get back to Trader Joe's soon. I've started taking a salad for lunch now, and the turmeric dressing is making it much more palatable. Smile I just wish it wasn't a 25 - 30 minute drive to get there.

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