When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in 1996, my biggest problem was sky-high blood sugar. However, I didn’t really worry too much about it at the time, even though both of my parents also had type 2 diabetes. I had some symptoms that I now see as related to this disease, but at the time, I just thought they were weird quirks with my body. For example, I had an unquenchable thirst that wouldn’t go away no matter how much water I drank.
Then one day after having lunch, my tongue felt like it was on fire. I was at work with ZF North America, Inc., where I’m on a team that builds car transmissions, so I went to the factory’s onsite health clinic. The nurse tried to measure my blood sugar but could not come up with a reading on the machine, so I was sent immediately to the hospital.
The doctor at the hospital even had a hard time measuring how high my blood sugar was, though he ultimately calculated that it was somewhere around 2,000 mg/dL. Over the next week, I stayed in the hospital and was put on an insulin drip 24 hours a day. It helped bring my levels down to a manageable number, and I was discharged with a prescription for daily oral medication and Novolin, an injectable insulin I would take for the next 25 years before each and every meal.
From then on, what I called my “normal” weight was around 200 pounds, and I wore a size 38 pair of pants. While it brought down my blood sugars, the insulin kept me swollen and caused a new problem: dangerously low blood sugars of which I became terrified. A few times, I injected too much insulin and almost passed out in my garden. The scariest moment came when I gave myself the insulin shot, and then I went to the grocery store. Halfway through shopping, I started shaking and fell to my knees right there in the aisle. I then realized I had forgotten to eat lunch. I stumbled to a cashier, who could clearly see that I was struggling, and she told me to grab a piece of candy. Though the whole thing might have only lasted 10 minutes, every moment moved in slow motion and felt like a lifetime.
So when ZF put up a poster in the break room about a fully covered treatment to reverse type 2 diabetes, I felt like all of my prayers had been answered. Virta explained that I didn’t need medication to control my blood sugar, and that I could do it by using the fat I eat for energy instead of carbs. That’s when I realized that I didn’t need to live in fear anymore and constantly worry about the insulin suddenly dropping my blood sugar to dangerously low levels. For over 2 decades, I was told that my diabetes was a life sentence, and medication was the only solution. All the while, medication never really fixed the problem. Virta sounded like the new solution I needed.
With Virta, I saw results so quickly that even I have a hard time believing it. It feels like God answered all of my prayers in one fell swoop. A few months before I started on Virta, my A1c was 8.3%, controlled with insulin injections. After just 4 months on Virta, my latest round of labs came back with an A1c of 6.6%, even though I stopped all my diabetes medication. To not have to take shots before eating is truly a blessing. I even was able to get off my blood pressure prescription now that my readings are normal!
I also dropped about 30 pounds, going from 200 pounds down to just around 170. The other day, my wife and I bought a pair of shorts sized 32 for our son. He didn’t like them, so my wife said, “Why don’t you try them on?” For years, longer than I care to remember, I have been a size 38. To my amazement, they fit perfectly. It felt like Christmas morning! I like to wear suits when I go to church, and I’ve had to buy two new ones already due to the weight loss. Everything is different now. I feel like a kid again with so much more energy, so much that I can actually keep up with my grandkids.
Virta has given me knowledge far beyond what I thought was true about what I should eat with diabetes. I have long been told to eat carbs and avoid meat. These days, I can enjoy pork, ribs, and other things I love. Surprisingly, I’m able to eat more of the food that I enjoy now than I ever could before I started on Virta. My Virta doctor and health coach are my dream team, and I work with them daily to continue to learn more about what works best for my body: what foods to eat, what to avoid, and what I need to do in order to take control of my health.
I wish I had known about Virta decades ago. I think back to all those years I’ve spent struggling with type 2 diabetes when I could have been working on reversing it all along. I am just so glad that ZF did such a good thing for me by not only bringing Virta to my attention, but covering the full cost so that I could get truly healthy for the first time in over 20 years.
I know that some of my coworkers were skeptical when this benefit was introduced, but I challenge them to give it just three months. They will be hooked.
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