By Andrea, a Virta Patient
I don’t often like to talk about myself, mostly because I sometimes feel like I am still trying to define who I am. What I can tell you, though, is that I am a mother of three wonderful teenage boys. I love to read and walk as a form of stress relief. And two years ago, I left my abusive husband and sought help for co-dependency to turn my life around.
It took me many years to realize that the last part does not define me. Years ago, I was happy and healthy. When my oldest son was 2 years old, I became aware of my now ex-husband’s mental health issues and addictions. I took on many of his problems as my own, so I stopped taking care of myself. I quickly gained weight and struggled with depression. I want to share my story for those who may see themselves in me, so you can see that there is hope.
In 2017, I found the courage to leave my husband and start down a path toward a healthier version of me. So when my doctor told me that I had type 2 diabetes earlier this year, I felt like all of my efforts were for nothing. Just two years prior, my lab work showed signs of prediabetes, but I didn’t know it would progress so quickly. I had tried to keep my weight down and eat better, but I frequently used food to deal with stress.
I talked to a good friend about the diagnosis, and I still remember her words: “If anyone can fight this, it’s you.” It was just what I needed I needed to hear, but I still didn’t know exactly what to do. I didn’t fully understand how my diet would affect my body, which caused major stress, which caused stress-eating, which brought on higher blood sugar readings. I also couldn’t sleep, which made me weak and unmotivated. This cycle made me feel lost, hopeless, and ultimately sicker.
I was prescribed diabetes medication (metformin), cholesterol drugs (Lipitor), a proton pump inhibitor, and antidepressants. Sometimes they worked. Other times, they didn’t, and the side effects bothered me so much that I wondered if any of these medications were even worth it.
Then I learned that the Virta treatment was covered by my health insurance, Blue Shield of California. I signed up right away through their Wellvolution benefits platform and quickly saw some big changes in my life. Because of the treatment, I’ve successfully changed my eating habits, and I now make conscious decisions on what to eat. This has given me so much energy that I sometimes need to walk it off. It’s certainly better than sitting on the couch and watching TV!
In the two months since I joined Virta, my blood pressure and blood sugar have both come down, and my A1c is now 5.6%. When my Virta doctor told me that I could start reducing my medications, I felt like I was finally in control of my body. Now, I’ve eliminated all medications completely, which saves me over $200 a month. I’ve also lost 10 pounds, which feels great.
I am all about making the right choices now and doing the necessary work to succeed. I didn’t think that way before Virta. I didn’t know I could use my own body to fight back against diabetes, and I certainly didn’t think I could win the way that I did.
The Virta health coaches, along with the Virta app, have made my success possible. Brent, my coach, has been so kind and gentle, and works alongside me to support my decision making. I come up with the craziest questions sometimes, and he calmly answers them and supports me along my journey. Brent caught on very quickly that I like to read and do my own research, so he directs me to the right resources. To Brent, the Virta team, and Blue Shield of California, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I could not have done this without you.
For anyone considering joining Virta, I want you to take the same step I did, to make the choice for better health. Virta can help you become a healthier you, but you have to fight for it. You have to choose it. When you do, Virta will be there to help you in that fight.
Virta is proud and excited to be a part of Wellvolution, Blue Shield of California’s new digital benefits platform which allows their members to holistically manage their health at no additional cost. Click here to learn more and see if you are eligible https://www.wellvolution.com
Several employers and health plans already cover the full cost of Virta, and we are working with many more to ensure coverage for all. If you are unsure about your coverage, submit an application to find out more!