I know that many people with type 2 diabetes often feel symptoms of uncontrolled blood sugar, like tingling in their toes or fatigue. Somehow, I’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to symptoms because I haven’t had to deal with many. Ever since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2010, the main burden I felt was what I thought would be a lifetime of prescriptions. I thought that I would need medications for the rest of my life just to help me deal with the food I eat.
I didn’t feel like there was a path away from medications, either. When I was referred to a diabetes specialist, I was given a prescription for metformin, which I took for some time. It didn’t have that much of an impact on my blood sugar, so my doctor added glimepiride. That helped a little bit, but I was already frustrated with my medication regimen and didn’t want to add more. In addition to the two I was taking for type 2 diabetes, I had also been on 9 other meds to manage health conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol. I couldn’t believe that I was on 11 different prescriptions in total, and I was tired of getting more medications added with no advice on how to get off them.
Then along came Virta. In December of 2019, my employer, Builders FirstSource, announced that Virta would be available as part of our healthcare benefits starting in 2020. They said that the Virta treatment reverses type 2 diabetes and could get me off my diabetes medication, which made me immediately think, “Wow, it can get me off of my drugs?” Best of all, Builders FirstSource was going to pay for the whole thing. Though it was hard to believe, the idea of not having to take as many pills each day sounded so good that I had to give it a try.
At the start of my Virta journey, my A1c was 5.9%, controlled through the combination of metformin and glimepiride. After just 2 months on Virta, my daily blood sugar readings were so much better that my Virta doctor took me off glimepiride. Even with my medication cut in half, my most recent A1c reading came back at 5.6%. Now, I have better control of my blood sugar while taking less medication! Where has Virta been for the last 10 years?
I’ve also seen other health benefits in my blood pressure, cholesterol, and overall energy levels. I no longer suffer from the overwhelming hunger I used to feel, which sometimes caused me to binge eat. This has helped me lose weight and keep it off. During the holiday season in 2019, I weighed 240 pounds. This year, I’m confident that I will be heading into 2021 with about 40 less pounds, weighing in now around 200 pounds.
It’s been hard for some people to believe that all these improvements have been possible just by changing how I fuel my body. I’ve learned how to adjust the food I eat on a daily basis so that I can burn fat for energy, instead of sugar. My Virta health coach has been with me throughout this journey, helping me fit Virta into my life. For example, when my wife and I have tacos for dinner, I’ll have mine as a salad while she has hers in a shell. We sometimes substitute a cauliflower crust in for pizza while keeping all the toppings we enjoy. Even my son loves that option! My wife has always wanted me to take less meds, so she is fully supportive of Virta and the small adjustments we make so it fits into our lifestyles.
While the Virta treatment does come with some adjustments, living this way is surprisingly easy. Even living in Alaska, just north of Anchorage, I have never had any trouble finding food options that work for me and my Virta plan. As an Assistant Manager at work, I eat with my coworkers all the time. We often have fast food for lunch, and I can still find delicious, satisfying meals for myself.
I’d like to think that I am setting a good example, too, and showing everyone that eating less carbs makes you stronger inside. I feel like my whole digestive system works better this way, which then translates to feeling healthier overall. Everyone notices, from my family, to our friends at church, to my coworkers. To those I work with in particular, I hope that my successes on Virta can encourage them to give Virta a try. I also want to remind them that this is completely paid for by Builders FirstSource! Thanks to Virta and Builders FirstSource, I am now on the path to less medication and a better life, which I had been looking for for so long.
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