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After 13 years on insulin, Derek now sees a future without type 2 diabetes thanks to AutoZone and Virta

May 3, 2021
April 30, 2021

By Derek, on Virta for 13 months

Waking up at 3 am feeling like an elephant is sitting on your chest is certainly one way to ruin a vacation. I was in Florida with my family when I woke up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe and feeling like my heart was racing out of control. I ultimately spent 3 days in the ICU where I learned my blood glucose was 395 mg/dL and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The hospital doctor prescribed injectable insulin, gave me some pamphlets that I didn’t really read, and sent me on my way. 

After my diagnosis, I made no changes to my lifestyle because I thought I could just take extra insulin when I needed it and everything would be fine. I believed diabetes was a life sentence and insulin was the only solution. I remember going on a fishing trip one summer where I ate fried fish and country fries for every meal, loaded up on injectable insulin and never thought twice. Come to think of it, that trip was not much different from how I spent most other days, and though I didn’t truly realize it at the time, my health was spiraling a bit out of control. Prior to Virta, I weighed in at 305 pounds and was taking 50 units of long-acting insulin, twice a day in addition to 10 units of short-acting insulin in between meals.

When AutoZone launched Virta as a pilot program to help AutoZoners reverse their type 2 diabetes, I didn’t hesitate to join. The email said that Virta could help me reverse my type 2 diabetes just by changing the food I eat. At that point, it had been over 13 years since that fateful trip to a Florida emergency room, and I was exhausted. I was tired of all of the needles. I was tired of all of the money spent on insulin. I knew that I had to make a change.

Derek before Virta (left) and after losing almost 60 pounds on Virta (right)

Since joining Virta, my life has changed for the better. I was never one for diets; my wife even refers to me as a “bread-aholic”. But thanks to Virta and my wonderful health coach Doug, I’ve found some great healthy food options to substitute the carbs I used to eat. I really enjoy the one-minute mug cake recipe I found through my Virta app, and I make that whenever I am craving something sweet. 

Thanks to Virta, I’ve been able to cut my insulin dosage by almost 70%. My Virta physician advised me to lower my long-acting dosage to 18 units in the morning and 14 units at night and deprescribed my short-acting insulin. In addition, I have lost almost 60 lbs and currently weigh 243 pounds. In the year I’ve been on Virta, my fasting blood glucose has dropped from around 150 mg/dL to an average of 110 mg/dL. 

I am convinced that Virta is the only way for a life without type 2 diabetes. Because of Virta, I now know that insulin is not the only solution, and food is the ultimate medicine. I am confident that with Virta’s help, I will be able to achieve my long-term goal of getting completely off insulin. I am so thankful to AutoZone for providing this wonderful benefit to AutoZoners. I would tell anyone who may be considering Virta to take the leap and join; there is nothing to lose and everything to gain!

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