I found out my latest A1c today, my first A1c measurement since starting the Virta treatment on May 30, 2019. My last A1c test, which was taken the first week of May, showed a dangerously high reading of 10.3%. I knew that 6.5% is the threshold for type 2 diabetes, and I hoped that I could at least be under that. That would have been a major accomplishment, to drop my A1c below the diabetic threshold in just 2 months. I promised to do a happy dance if I pulled it off.
I just couldn’t believe the result I received today. It wasn’t just under the diabetic threshold of 6.5%–it was also under the prediabetic threshold of 5.7%. My A1c came back at 5.2%, meaning that I now have a normal A1c and therefore healthy average blood sugar levels.
I would like to give my thanks to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods Resort Casino for making the life saving resource of Virta available to our team. I also want to thank my Virta care team of providers and coaches, and the remarkable Virta patient community.
You might be wondering—"Patrick, what’s your secret? How could this happen and in just over 2 months?". Well let me tell you a little bit more about my journey on Virta.
May 30, 2019
Today is day 1, and I began gearing up for the beginning of nutritional changes. I happily joined the online Virta community, and immediately felt welcomed and very, very much at home. They chatted me through my first shopping trip for supplies, and gave constant support and advice with humor and honesty.
May 31, 2019
The start of treatment with Virta includes digging deeply into your motivation for changing your life. For me, this particular exercise was revelatory and not at all what I expected. I realized that I am the child of “children of the depression”, and they worked hard to fill a family up with cheap, carb-laden food that was as tasty as possible. The more of it they could heap on your plate meant the better they were doing their jobs. Both Mom and Pop developed type 2 diabetes, and passed on way too early on account of it. Mom in particular suffered enormously. All of this kind of hit me as I was ruminating around my “why” this evening. My parents, Rose and Wally, were funny, warm-hearted people who lived their lives with the best of all possible intentions. I hope that I have inherited some of the best of them, and I start this journey with both of them on my mind. I know my “why” now. I want to live out the lives that they didn’t get the chance to live.
June 1, 2019
Like a lot of folks starting nutritional changes today, I posted pretty pictures and descriptions of my Virta-friendly meals as I made them. Again, the online community responded in encouraging and complimentary ways. One member asked me if I had always cooked so well or if this was a new set of skills that I was developing. This caused yet another epiphany. This is definitely a resurgence for me. I used to entertain and loved having friends at table. Frankly, cooking for one in a bad economy became about shoveling it in as cheaply as possible (as I realized when finding my “why”). I am finding that having to be extremely thoughtful about food has reignited my respect for it—and for myself as well. I deserve the creative, well-prepared, and nicely presented plate. I’m getting a real itch to have folk at my table again soon to share.
June 2, 2019
June 3, 2019
My progress continues. I got a 0.8 mmol/L afternoon ketone test, and am down 10 lbs. I also walked for an hour on the treadmill and still feel fine. It’s been a good week and it’s only Tuesday. Who’s your daddy?
June 19, 2019
In just a few short weeks, I’ve already discovered all sorts of new Virta-friendly foods that I love. Bengal Spice Tea from Celestial Seasonings, brewed with a sprinkle of sea salt and a little cracked black pepper. Then add almond milk creamer and some sweetener then (oooooh) a little butter melted in.
I’ve made my own bone broth using an old recipe. Just slow roasted the bones (saved in the freezer from rotisserie chickens past) in a giant stockpot with saved veggie stalks, ends and tops and what would usually be wasted (celery, cabbage, asparagus ends & the like). Added some sea salt, roasted garlic, a touch of curry and cayenne. Simmered for 48 hours. Wound up with a good gallon of healthy, nutritious liquid golden yum. Making it myself made me feel accomplished & thrifty… and my whole house smells glorious!
Found a nice deal on good quality bacon two weeks ago. But, it's been sitting in my freezer uncooked. My next project today is cooking up a couple of pounds and re-freezing them in handy portion-controlled packs. I also have a strainer and some cheesecloth to clarify and freeze the rendered fat in ice cube trays for future dishes, and I will keep a little jar handy to use day to day. My windows are open, so I'm sure that ALL of the neighborhood dogs will fall truly, deeply and madly in love with me.
June 20, 2019
Okay—it’s been a full week at virtual weight loss standstill, which is of course discouraging. All of my important numbers remain good. I am currently wearing a pair of shorts I bought in a way too small size last year.
No muffin top, no button straining to break free with great velocity taking someone's eye out… Actually, they are a bit roomy and my neighbor admiringly informed me that they make my gluteus look more minimus than maximus. So there is that.
June 25, 2019
Hey! Where'd my belly go? When I’m sitting and I look down I can see the chair, my lap and my shoes even. That’s some stuff I’ve not seen in awhile.
June 27, 2019
Woooo-hoo! This morning's scale finally moved and by a full pound at that! After a 12 day streak stuck at the same number, I upped my water consumption considerably and started cutting back on fat until I actually felt mildly hungry before meals. I think this may be my ticket, y'all! I actually did an extended happy, booty-shaking dance around my living room as soon as I saw the number. The cats were not impressed.
June 30, 2019
More progress. My fasting glucose is now 96 mg/dL, which is amazing because it started over 200. My ketones are sitting pretty at 1.9 mmol/dL. I’ve now lost a total of 17 pounds. Virta, where the hell have you been all my life?
Thank goodness for Goodwill, or I'd be having a real problem dressing appropriately for work. Happily donated a big bag of stuff that was flapping in the breeze on me.
July 1, 2019
Well I am officially 1 month into dietary changes on Virta, so now I can reintroduce some foods. Blueberries, tomatoes and onions… Welcome back, my darlings. I think I might cry with happiness.
I have a doctors appointment today, and I can’t wait to share my results and progress. But no blood work this month, so we'll see how my A1c is doing in another 30 days.
July 6, 2019
More progress updates. My fasting blood glucose has gone from dangerously high levels to a 20-day stretch below the diabetic threshold. It’s now averaging 110 mg/dL, which is an 11-point decrease from last week. My non-fasting blood glucose went from dangerously high levels to 21/23 readings being below the diabetic threshold. The trend lines show my blood sugar is normalizing. My actual weight loss since the beginning of this journey is 21.8 lbs.
July 7, 2019
Over 10% weight loss to date. I’ve had a solid downward trend in all numbers except for ketone levels, which I want to remain high. I keep having great numbers, and my pants are falling off. I finally hit 190 lbs, which is a very meaningful benchmark for me. I last weighed this 30 years ago.
July 9, 2019
Went off the rails last night! In my case that means having an extra bowl of blueberries with sugar-free whipped cream and creating a cup of sugar free dark hot chocolate. Quite the change from when I could finish off a whole pizza and wind up face down in a box of Godiva's! Meant I went up to 45 carbs for the day—I also missed my evening Metformin as I fell sound asleep on the couch like a slug (bad Patrick!). Yet surprisingly this morning, I measured 2.9 mmol/L for ketones and only a moderate rise in blood glucose, which is still under the diabetic threshold. So, metabolically speaking, it seems like my whole system is changing y'all. There was some creep up on the scale though, so it is back to the straight and narrow today.
July 10, 2019
Hemmed the new pants that I bought 2 weeks ago and when I tried them on found that THEY were too big! I can get away with a belt for a bit, but better start hunting for another size or two down. HR gets upset if your pants fall off at work.
July 12, 2019
I have a wedding to go to tomorrow—an overnight affair at a campground—including camping out for the night, a big bonfire, and a next day brunch. First big social do I've had since starting Virta. Reaching out to the caterer (B-B-Q & smoked meats) to get some info on Virta-friendly options on the menu. Most of the sides are going to be a no-no and I'll have to do without the campfire s'mores but I THINK I got this. Most of all, I want to ENJOY the event, celebrate these two lovely folk building a life together, and not have my choices/restrictions/requirements even be the tiniest distraction. If I can pull this off in the manner that I would wish, then I am ready for any social challenge.
July 16, 2019
Wedding was WONDERFUL. As was the camp itself, the bonfire, and rustic cabin snoozing. Sang for hours with a new friend and had perhaps a bit too much really good scotch. Followed the caterer's advice and ate until I was full, which helped me give the desserts a wide berth. Ketone reading 0.9 mmol/L and fasting blood glucose at 100 mg/dL. Not at all shabby after all that scotch, and I'm down 2 lbs. as well!
Most importantly, I got to truly enjoy spending time with this lovely couple on their special day.
July 27, 2019
Bought a nice vest to wear at the wedding that I went to (L rather than XXL which was my last purchase). Is that a win? I hardly ever look at retail anymore. Thrift stores and OPC (other people's closets) are usually my mainstays. The vest was a definite exception to the rule and special for the occasion. The jacket/blazer situation is getting a bit dire. I am 5'4" and finding (thrift store) short sizes can be a challenge. Regular length makes me look like a little kid wearing his dad's jacket for dress up. So I make do, wear layers to bulk out, and am on a never-ending quest to find the thrift store where Danny Devito and Patton Oswalt donate their old suits.
August 5, 2019
Gearing up for blood work in the morning. If the results are anywhere in the predicted range on my weekly Virta reports, then I will be doing the crazy, happy dance all over town. Hoping for a phlebotomist with deft, swift hands who has an uncanny ability to find a painless gusher while distracting me with damned good jokes.
August 11, 2019
Everything has changed since starting Virta. My daily blood glucose and blood pressure levels have gone from dangerously high to normal. My A1c has dropped 5.1 points, from 10.3% to 5.2%. I am working with my Virta care team to carefully reduce and then eliminate my daily diabetes meds. I have lost 6 inches from my waist, and 15% of my total weight (or 34.6 lbs) and continue to reduce in a steady, healthful manner. I have tons of energy, am rarely hungry and am consistently in a positive frame of mind and a very good mood. I absolutely believe that finding Virta has added twenty years to my life.