This was the exact thought that ran through my head when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I think of myself as a healthy, upbeat 62-year-old without the classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes. I exercised regularly and ate healthy, so I could not understand why I would have this disease. Regardless, the diagnosis felt like a life sentence. My life since then has been a whirlwind of Xigduo prescriptions, calorie counting, and doctor’s visits.
Last October, I received an email from the Alabama State Employees Health Insurance Plan (SEHIP), who covers my benefits after I retired as an accounting director for Alabama’s Environmental Management department. The email announced that I now had fully covered access to a treatment called Virta, whose research showed that they could help people like me reverse my type 2 diabetes and stop needing diabetes medication. In reading through Virta’s website, I saw so many other patients find success that I was eager to get started. On top of it all, the treatment was free, so I saw it as a golden opportunity to get healthier.
After 5 months on the Virta treatment, I can say that it is going better than I could have ever imagined because I have the right support to keep me motivated. My Virta health coach, Dana, has been a lifesaver and a big reason why I am able to stay on the treatment. We talk regularly and she has been a great support system daily to make the treatment sustainable. Dana regularly recommends meal alternatives for me to try and fit into my routine. For example, I can still enjoy pizza on Virta by substituting the crust for one made with cauliflower, and can add my favorite toppings like artichoke hearts and pepperoni. In fact, cauliflower has now become a staple in our house, and we always keep a batch of cauliflower rice in the freezer.
The results I've seen speak for themselves. After only 3 months on the treatment, my Virta doctor took me off of Xigduo. My A1c dropped from 8.5% at the start of Virta to 6.7% at my most recent test, and I accomplished this with less medication than before. The last time I went to see my endocrinologist, she wanted to know what I was doing because my results were so amazing. My answer was that it was all because of Virta. She was very proud of me and said that she would ask all of her other patients with type 2 diabetes why they have not started on Virta yet!
When I was initially diagnosed, I had resolved myself to a life defined by my type 2 diabetes. But thanks to SEHIP and Virta, I have been able to get control of my life back. My long-term goals are to drop my A1c down to the 5% range, come off all my medications, and enjoy many more years of healthier retirement ahead of me. And because of Virta, I now know that a life without type 2 diabetes is possible. Virta has been life-changing, and I am excited to continue my journey.
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