I found out that I had type 2 diabetes in 2008, but it took awhile for the diagnosis to sink in. I struggled for nearly a decade to finally grasp what it meant.
During that time, I went on and off diets with more than three dietitians. Three generic approaches, 45 net carbs at a meal, 15 net carb snacks, etc. It simply was not working. Next, I tried a diet that my father-in-law recommended. There were special meals and foods, and you had to stay in your house and make special meals. That was a lifestyle change, alright—you couldn’t even maintain it outside of the home!
Ultimately, I ended up throwing more and more medicines at the problem. All the medications had adverse effects on my quality of life. They created blood sugar spikes and drops, and I felt worse and worse. The more I tried, the more it felt like the further behind I would go. I finally ended up on three medicines plus insulin, but I was was not making any progress. Instead, the spikes and subsequent drops in blood sugar levels led me to a worse diet.
Exercise was not really an option as it took so much out of me and caused more issues with blood sugar and diet. Physical exertion of any kind used to cause things to go awry. There was never any consistency as to when and what would cause huge swings. I would pack for an outing with the family like it was a survival adventure. Ultimately I would feel lousy, not enjoy the outing, cause the family to have to move at my pace, stopping frequently. It's not how I wanted to live my life.
I think the worst moment I had with diabetes was when I was mowing the yard: I had a huge blood sugar drop, faster than any other, and lower. I ended up on the floor of the kitchen, shaking, sweating, and nauseous. And I could not lift myself to remedy it. It scared me and scared my two young boys even more. (Although, the oldest was super sweet and took care of me, getting me juice and sharing his Snickers bar.)
During open enrollment this year, the Senior Director of Benefits at Activision Blizzard started talking about a company that was essentially working miracles with type 2 diabetes. I was ready to enroll and joined Virta on May 14th of this year.
In the first 60 days on the Virta Treatment, I lost 10 lbs, without exercise or much effort. My HbA1c went from 9.4 to 7.0 in that same time period. I have not a had a drop or spike in my blood sugar levels that have caused any issues. Since starting the treatment, I have eliminated insulin and two of the other three medicines. I now only take one. That is in just 60 days. I am working to drop the last one too.
I am now able to ride bikes with my young kids and take on other physical activities with energy to spare. For me, it’s all about the energy. Aside from the mental and emotional reaction to food, I am living life as I want. I am able to be out, active and available to family and friends. I now have enough energy to be active in my kids' lives.
I think the most helpful part of the Virta treatment is the coach. I cannot tell you how many times a day we touch base. It is nights, weekends, all day, every day. It has been tremendously helpful. I am working to use other resources as well, most of which I vet with my health coach first. If there is some new information that I read about, I get his take on the source before I implement any changes.
I would like to share my view that it’s all about the choices we make: It was a very fortunate choice that my company made that helped improve my health. It's a choice that I make at every meal, snack or doctor’s appointment. I am trying to teach my kids that they need to make smart choices in life, and this for me is the smartest. For me, this is not some quick fix, magic bullet, you are going to feel 20 years younger, look better, smell better, be smarter gimmick. This is about being at a level of health that allows me to live my life as I choose to live it, with the potential of living it much longer then I could have previously expected. The rest of it, the money saved, the pounds lost, and on and on are the rewards for making good choices. But I am not fooling myself: this is not about just one choice I made, it is about all of the choices I will have to make. Before Virta, my choices were made as a reaction. With Virta, I am making the choices that eliminate the things that caused me all those problems.