When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, my fasting blood glucose was over 350 mg/dL, and my A1c was 12.6%. I also weighed about 230 pounds at the time. My doctor immediately prescribed medication, which grew and grew. First, I was on metformin at 1,000 mg a day, which eventually doubled. Then I had to add 100 mgs of Januvia per day, followed by 4 mgs of glimepiride. All of these pills only brought my fasting blood sugar down to about 140 mg/dL, which was still above the type 2 diabetes threshold. Seemed like a lot of medication to be putting into my body with not enough results to show for it.
On New Year’s Eve of 2019, I did what so many people do, and I made a resolution. I decided that 2020 was going to be the year where I watched what I ate, exercised more, and just simply lived a healthier life. And as so many people also do, I forgot all about that resolution a few weeks later.
Fortunately, my employer started offering a type 2 diabetes reversal treatment called Virta at no cost to me as part of a pilot program to our health benefit package. The email announcing the benefit revealed the actual cost of the treatment, and I could barely believe that all of it would be covered by my employer. Honestly, what did I have to lose? I decided to dust off my resolution, convinced more than ever that I needed to do this as I look forward to retirement, hopefully one with less health concerns. In short, I joined Virta because I thought that this could be the beginning of a new future.
This new beginning started on February 19, 2020. Watching the educational videos that Virta provided as part of the introduction did make me a little nervous about starting, but what I quickly realized was how helpful this knowledge was upfront. Learning about type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and my own personal carbohydrate tolerance made it easier to understand why I would be asked to make changes to my diet, and why I was experiencing the struggles of low energy and high blood sugar based on my diet at the time.
At the beginning of the treatment, my fasting glucose level was around 115 mg/dL, A1c was 7.2%, and my weight was around 215 pounds. All of this was “maintained” by the handfuls of medication I was taking daily. Within 30 days on the treatment, my Virta doctor took me off glimepiride, and my fasting blood glucose measured under 100 mg/dL for the first time in as long as I can remember. I also lost 16 pounds during this time.
After another 30 days, I stopped needing the Januvia as well, and I lost another 12 pounds, all with less medication than I was taking before. After 6 months, my lab showed a fasting glucose of 82 mg/dL, well below the diabetes threshold, and my A1c was 5.0%, a drop of 2.2 points from when I started. Did I mention that this was done with less medication than ever?
As of today, I am down 50 pounds altogether, and even my metformin dosage has been cut in half. Admittedly, my wallet is also a little thinner because I’ve needed smaller sized clothes, but I think of it as all part of the fun of Virta. Even my primary care physician is amazed. Not only are my diabetes medications a fraction of what they were, but I am also off of prescriptions for high cholesterol and blood pressure. He told me that in all his years of practice, he has never seen anyone completely reverse type 2 diabetes the way that I have. He must not have other patients on Virta!
Numbers are one thing, and I am so glad that my body has responded to the treatment the way that it has. But the personal benefits are even more incredible. I simply feel like a brand new person. I no longer struggle to bend over and tie my shoes. My joint pains are mostly gone, and I am able to take part in physical activities without tiring out too quickly. I discovered just how enjoyable home improvement projects can be when you have so much energy to work on them!
Best of all, I no longer hide in the background. I no longer avoid activities altogether because of the fear that my stamina won’t last. In fact, I even love to go out and exercise, safely, of course, in the midst of the pandemic. I had never been one for exercise, but with Virta, the energy I have makes it easy to incorporate physical activities into my life.
As of now, my type 2 diabetes is reversed, but I understand that it can come back. Because Virta educated me on the science behind the treatment and why my body is the way that it is, I know that my choices play a direct part in my health. That is why I want Virta to be with me permanently. With all of the support available from my Virta health coach, just a chat away on the app, I feel confident that this is a lifestyle I can maintain. The journey is far from over, but I am well on my way to actually keeping a New Year’s resolution for once. At 64 years old, I know I can now enjoy better, healthier, and more exciting retirement years ahead.
THANK YOU to everyone at Virta who helps keep the treatment going for patients like me, and to my employer for offering a benefit that has dramatically changed my life for the better.
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