By Marcy, on Virta for 4 months
Type 2 diabetes weighs heavily on my family. My mom is struggling to manage it with medication, and my dad had his leg amputated because of it. He passed away a few years ago due to other complications. Other relatives, my sons, and even my husband also have diabetes. So when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes over 17 years ago while pregnant, I didn’t think too much of it. My doctor told me to watch what I ate while I was pregnant, and that was that.
Years later in 2003, I discovered I had type 2 diabetes through something of a fluke. At a family gathering, I had jokingly said that I should test my blood sugars since so many of my family members have type 2 diabetes. I borrowed my mom’s glucometer, and lo and behold, my blood sugar came back really high at 250 mg/dL. I immediately made an appointment with my doctor, who confirmed the reading, and he prescribed metformin. On one hand, I was disappointed that I would have to take medication every day, but on the other, I believed that as I long as I took the pills, I could still eat whatever I wanted, which I did for the next few years.
Over time, my blood sugars continued to climb, and after a health scare where I felt light-headed and nauseous, my doctor prescribed Tresiba, an injectable insulin, along with a referral to a nutritionist for dietary advice. I went through with the consultation, but never felt truly accountable to anyone, and as time went on, I stopped following the plan and fell back on old habits.
Eventually, my list of medications grew to include Ozempic injections as well. I knew that I was not eating as many vegetables as I should and that I ate way too much pasta and candy instead. I wouldn’t even check my blood sugars anymore because I just knew that they would be too high, and I didn’t want to face the reality of seeing it on my glucometer.
Fortunately towards the end of 2019, my employer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, announced a partnership with Virta Health, offering employees and their dependents a fully covered treatment that reverses type 2 diabetes. I decided to join Virta because I wanted to get my levels under control, regain my energy, and get back to enjoying life. This worked out perfectly because my husband could join as well, and we started Virta together.
Almost immediately after starting, I saw meaningful results. By the end of the first week alone, just by making changes to my diet, my Virta provider, Dr. Dumont, said that my blood sugars were good enough to stop the insulin. Less than 2 months later, he stopped my Ozempic as well, which meant no more injections for me! My fasting blood sugars dropped about 80 points on Virta, even though I am taking fewer diabetes medications. These days, my fasting blood sugars stay steady in the low 100s. I’ve also lost 21 pounds so far, and I have a lot more energy. Before Virta, I would feel tired and start to fall asleep around 8:00 in the evenings, but now, I can keep going until at least 10:00pm, if not later.
All of this has shown me that medication is not the answer to dealing with type 2 diabetes. I can take control of my health and diabetes simply by eating to my carbohydrate tolerance level and getting my body to run on fat instead of sugar. And while the treatment came with some challenges, having access to Dr. Dumont as my Virta provider and Laura as my Virta health coach has helped me succeed. Laura is always there to provide suggestions and encouragement, especially as I continue to move through my Virta journey and start substituting previous high-carb favorites for new Virta-friendly ones.
I recently made a Mexican dish that normally would have included rice, but using riced cauliflower instead worked wonders. I don’t even like cauliflower that much, but ricing it made the dish complete. When I encounter challenges or temptations, such as the endless supply of snacks at my mother’s house, Laura helps me navigate these real-life situations with no judgment, offering practical advice instead.
My husband has also seen similar results: less medication, weight loss, and improved numbers. We treat Virta as kind of a friendly competition between us, checking in with each other every morning after we test our fasting blood sugar. Doing Virta together keeps us both motivated and shapes a shared habit that we can keep for the rest of our lives.
As an employee of Nebraska’s largest health insurance provider and a long-time resident here in this state, I am confident that the treatment can work for anyone, anywhere. Whether you are located in a major city or a more remote area, Virta has options for you to eat to your heart’s content while reversing type 2 diabetes.
Even during the COVID-19 situation and relocating the family to our farm in rural Nebraska, Virta continues to work. Meat comes from our farm, and we are able to find vegetables, both fresh and frozen, at the little grocery store in the nearest town. If it can work during these difficult times, it can work at any time. In fact, one of my coworkers recently joined Virta, and I love feeling like a “seasoned” pro when I check in with him online and give him tips on how to get started. It’s great to see other employees taking advantage of this amazing benefit provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska!