Twenty years ago, I retired from the Navy. I loved serving my country and helping so many young men and women get started in the Navy. It was an honor.
My naval service started out in June of 1976 when I went to Orlando for boot camp. After that, I was went to school and got stationed aboard the USS Morton DD-948, a destroyer out of Pearl Harbor. I traveled throughout the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, going to places like Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Australia, Africa and Iran. It was amazing to see so many beautiful countries and meet people from other nations.
I worked with the DEA and Coast Guard to find drug smugglers and was stationed out of Key West aboard a hydrofoil, the USS Taurus (PHM-3). We also were involved in the invasion of Grenada to rescue medical students trapped on the island. After that, I returned to recruiting duty in Indianapolis until I retired in 1997 as a Master Chief Petty Officer.
I was diagnosed with diabetes right after I got out of the Navy, and I lived with diabetes for almost 2 decades. Two and a half years ago, I was reading the Sunday Indianapolis Star paper and ran across an article by Dr. Hallberg about getting rid of type 2 diabetes and losing weight. I immediately contacted Virta and was screened and accepted under an Indiana University Health Study program.
I’d had enough of being overweight, unable even to walk upstairs to go to bed without my knees hurting. I was taking all kinds of meds for my type 2 diabetes. Enough was enough!
Ever since then, my entire life has changed. My HbA1c went from 6.5 to 5.5, and I was able to go off of several medications. I started out at 328 lbs and now run around 220. I’ve had to buy all new clothes. I had not been able to wear my Navy uniform to military functions. I’m happy to say that just last week I had a function that was full military honors—and guess what? I fit back into my uniform from 21 years ago!
The feeling of being able to wear my uniform once again has brightened my years with Virta. The support from my coach and all of the medical staff along the way has been nothing short of outstanding. I could not be writing this without the help they provided.