By Donnie, on Virta for 3 months
Even though many of my family members suffered from type 2 diabetes, I actually wasn’t familiar with what the disease meant. I just knew that when I received my own diagnosis around 2010, it felt like a life sentence. The way my endocrinologist delivered the news didn’t help. He basically told me, “This is what you have, and these are the medications that you’ll need to take.”
I did some research about my newly-diagnosed disease and came across an article about how type 2 diabetes could be reversed. When I brought it up to my doctor, he essentially told me that it was not possible. After hearing this, I felt like I had no choice but to go down the path of medication. Before starting Virta, I was on a long list of daily medications, including metformin, Ozempic, and various insulin injections. The holistic treatments I tried, including a $4,000 weight loss program that consisted of labwork and special vitamins, did nothing.
Despite the medications and treatments, my A1c slowly climbed to around 12%, and it was normal for me to walk around with a blood sugar reading of 200 mg/dL or higher. I knew that I had to do something, but each time I tried to exercise more, change my diet, or come up with a plan on my own, I never stuck with it. Even telling myself that I needed to do this for my family—for my kids—didn’t seem to motivate me enough.
Then in late 2020, my employer, Quest Diagnostics, sent out an email about a pilot treatment they were offering called Virta that could help reverse my type 2 diabetes. Though I heard my endocrinologist’s voice in my head saying reversal wasn’t possible, I had a feeling deep down that he was wrong. So I responded to the email, applied, and was introduced to an enrollment advisor at Virta.
As I spoke with Mari during that first call, I just knew that I was in good hands. She invited me to ask all the questions I had regarding the treatment, my condition, and any other health concerns. I also met with a Virta provider, who went over my specific health numbers and prepared me to start on my journey in January 2021 by introducing me to my Virta health coach, Dana.
With Dana’s help, the first few weeks on Virta truly changed my life. I started with an A1c of around 11% with medications, and my latest results from last week showed that it had come down to around 6%, just 10 weeks of being on the Virta treatment. When I saw that number, I honestly could not believe it, especially since Virta has also helped me cut down on the number of diabetes prescriptions I needed. Where I used to take 3 different types of insulin every day for a total of 110 units, I am now down to just 3 units of Basaglar.
All the while, I feel better than ever. I’ve lost about 20 pounds and have more energy—so much so that I’ve been given the go-ahead by my cardiologist to begin exercising again. I’ve also made a believer out of my doctors. My endocrinologist has now become my biggest cheerleader, telling me to simply keep doing what I’m doing.
What I’ve done is taken on a new lifestyle with Virta’s help—one that I am confident I can continue living. My Virta coach Dana is always there with advice, information, and encouragement. I count on her to help me make the best choices for me and my body. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from Virta is the importance of using your support systems, which Virta provides. I used to think that I could do it on my own, but I have since realized how critical it is to have somebody in my corner for encouragement.
My advice for anyone who wants to start a life of better health is to join Virta, take in all the information they offer, and always keep an open line of communication with your coach. They understand the path that you are about to take, and they will help you find ways to make it work for you. One of the best realizations that Dana helped me discover is that while my children and my family are big reasons why I’m doing Virta, the most important reason is that I choose to do this for myself.
Thank you, Quest Diagnostics, for allowing me to participate in this pilot treatment. It has meant the world to me, and I would recommend it to anyone!