By Patrick B., a Virta patient
I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2012. I was overweight, had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I also suffered from joint aches and pains. I remember feeling ashamed that I could not control my eating and lifestyle habits.
I was prescribed long-acting insulin shots once a day and dosing with every meal. I believe the medication was working, but I never could get my numbers down into the normal range. I was spending a couple hundred dollars a month for medication and supplies. After a while, it began to take a toll on my finances.
I always had this sinking feeling when I had to take the shots because everyone would stare at me when I tested or dosed. My family looked and acted differently towards me, even though they obviously cared. I felt like I was branded a diabetic in their eyes.
I never felt good taking insulin. As hard as I tried to work out and eat (what I thought was) right, I could not get my numbers under control. I rode a roller-coaster of sugar highs and lows. I actually began dosing higher as my diet got worse and got pretty good at predicting the numbers. But I was not managing it very well.
My primary care physician was all over me about health concerns and changes but never really gave me any good options. I had many sessions with a dietitian that never made sense. I tried almost every diet that I could read about. I tried supplements. I worked with a trainer and did get somewhat back in shape but could not reduce the medications. I was beginning to think this was going to be what my life was like forever.
For 30 years, I was a PGA Club Professional. My work schedule would include 16 hour days in the summertime. My eating habits were not very regular and I would often go 8 hours between meals. I really had no excuse to eat poorly as much of my career was spent at facilities where we had a full-time kitchen staff who would make me anything I wanted to eat. But it was easier to eat fast than to eat well. While I was active, I was not eating well. My blood glucose levels were all over the board.
An incident changed my path: I wasn’t able to remember the last few holes of a tournament that I was playing in. It was at that point that I realized it was time to take a hard look at what I was doing and where I was going. I decided to retire as a Club Professional and switched career paths.
When I learned about the Virta treatment from Purdue, my wife’s employer, I joined. (They cover the cost for employees and covered spouses.) In the first 60 days, my A1C dropped 33%. As of today, four months into the program, I have lost 30 pounds. I am 10 pounds away from my personal goal. My blood pressure has slowly dropped. What’s more, I’ve not taken an insulin shot in almost 90 days, and my blood sugar numbers are now normal. The feeling to be off insulin is absolutely incredible!
I used to hide my diabetes, but I am doing the opposite with Virta. I even spoke about my experience with Virta on the local news in Indiana.
I believe that more support you can get, the easier the transition. When I first started, I told all of my family, friends, coworkers and anyone who would listen that I was starting this journey. I wanted them all to know that if I wasn't participating in some food or drink, I had a good reason for doing it. There were quite a few doubters, but I am proving all of them wrong every day because I have a plan. I know that the plan works for me as long as I follow it. I have not lapsed once and don't plan to. I also found Virta’s support a key factor: success is attainable, but not by yourself. My coach is incredible, and the app keeps you on track.
On Virta, my energy is now fabulous. My golf game has improved. My concentration is very good. Sleep has never been this good and I have stopped snoring (which makes my wife happy). My mobility feels like it did 20 years ago and I have very few aches and pains. I know my body is still healing, but I am excited about my health for the first time in many years. At last, I have a clear path to health! I am taking care of myself, and it’s a great feeling.