In 2015, I received my type 2 diabetes diagnosis in the most unexpected and impersonal way. I had some routine lab work done, and the nurse who prepared me for my follow-up doctor’s visit said, “You know you’re a diabetic, right?”
Actually, no, I didn’t know that I had type 2 diabetes. I was in complete shock, and I would have preferred not to find out this way. I also would have wanted to know a bit more information about this disease, but instead, I was simply given a glucose testing meter to take home and a prescription for metformin.
One of the few people I told was my sister, a nurse, and she encouraged me to get it under control. I knew that I should lose a little bit of weight, so when my coworkers at GE Appliances started a weight loss challenge, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity. I dropped 30 pounds, got new lab work done, which showed that the weight loss did indeed help bring my A1c down below the threshold for type 2 diabetes. I was able to stop taking the metformin, which felt great.
However, over the next two years, those 30 pounds returned and my A1c went back up, and I found myself needing to go back on metformin, along with a new medication called glimepiride. There was such a feeling of embarrassment, like I had failed to gain control of my own health. I felt so badly about it that I hid my diabetes diagnosis from just about everyone.
In 2019, GE Appliances sent out a Yammer post announcing free access to a treatment offered through Virta Health on a first-come, first-enrolled basis. I applied right away, as there were only 10 spots left! I learned that Virta is a type 2 diabetes reversal treatment that could help me get my A1c down while reducing my medication, and even help with weight loss. I felt so lucky–it was like they knew exactly what my goals were.
When I started the treatment, my A1c from my initial round of labs was 8.8%. Testing my blood sugar daily showed that my fasting glucose levels were just under 200 mg/dL, so I was very eager to see how the treatment would affect these numbers. Through the guidance and support of my Virta provider and health coach, I saw all of these numbers decrease rapidly.
Within a month, my fasting blood glucose dropped 60 points to 140 mg/dL, so I stopped needing glimepiride. I also lost about 15 pounds. And now, 5 months into the treatment, my A1c is 5.3%, and I stopped needing all diabetes medications. My blood glucose has come down even further to around 105 mg/dL, which is only 5 points away from a normal fasting blood sugar reading! My weight has also continued to drop another 25 pounds, and I am now a full 40 pounds lighter than when I started Virta.
Not only has the Virta treatment changed the way I eat and live, but Dana, my Virta health coach, also got me thinking about my relationship with food, how it affects my body, and how it fits into my life. Eating and socializing go hand in hand for me, so Dana took the time to teach me ways to maintain an active social life while eating the foods that are good for me.
When I tell friends about Virta, I am sometimes met with skepticism. Friends have asked me what is different about this treatment when compared to other programs I’ve tried, and I have two words for them: science and accountability. Now that Virta has helped me understand my personal carbohydrate tolerance level, I can still enjoy so many foods, and I know what to eat to keep my blood sugar healthy. Tracking my biomarkers daily gives me more insight about my body than I have ever had. Dana also checks in with me regularly so I always know that someone is looking out for me. She also gives me the information I need so I know that I am making the right choices for myself. I feel better supported by Virta than I ever did by my doctor or nurse when I was first diagnosed.
I know that Virta has been a literal lifesaver, and I have GE Appliances to thank for that. Had they not made me aware about my access to Virta Health’s treatment, I may never have had the opportunity to see the results I’ve seen. I tell my story because I want others to feel this good about the choices they make. Now that I am reversing this diabetes diagnosis, I am no longer embarrassed to talk about it. I am so glad that I trusted in the treatment and the science behind it. My reward in doing so is a lifelong journey of good health and feeling better than I have in years.
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