By Bonnie, a Virta patient
In 2004, my doctor gave me a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. We both had anticipated it since my mother, father, brother, and grandmother also had diabetes. Since so many of my family members already had diabetes, I just accepted that my diabetes would be something I would have to endure. Although I did make lifestyle changes (like walking 10,000 steps a day and joining WeightWatchers), they didn’t do much for my diabetes. I remember all the times I heard or read that if you lose a certain amount of weight, you will no longer have diabetes. I lost that weight, but it didn’t result in diabetes “disappearing” for me.
My doctor prescribed oral diabetes medications and I took them. A few years later, he referred me to an endocrinologist who prescribed even more medicines. Fourteen years after I was diagnosed, I was taking three expensive non-generic diabetes medications: Farxiga, Bydureon, and Lantus. When my A1c reached 11%, I decided to switch doctors. In that year, I got what I thought were good results: my A1c went down to 7%, but only by taking even more medications.
A year later, my employer, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, changed to a health benefits plan that did not cover my non-generic medications. But I couldn’t switch to generic versions of my diabetes medications – none exist! My first order of Bydureon for the 2019 calendar year cost me $900 for a 3 month supply! That experience prompted me to go speak to my employer about my health coverage. During our meeting, they told me about the Virta Treatment, which they were now offering as a benefit to members of the Concordia Health Plan. I signed up for the program on February 1st.
In just two and a half months on Virta, I am amazed at what I’ve already been able to achieve. I lost a few pounds, even though weight loss is not my primary goal. Now I’m only 2 pounds away from the “lifetime” goal I had set while participating in WeightWatchers. I’ve also seen some improvement in my sleep—hallelujah! My energy levels have improved, too. But what truly means the most to me is that I have been able to stop taking all three diabetes medications: Farxiga, Lantus, and Bydureon. I eliminated the first 2 right away and was looking forward to the day that I could say goodbye to “Bydureon Wednesdays.” That finally happened on March 21, exactly one month after starting the treatment. All three meds gone in just one month!
I feel so much better now. I am so energized by the very thought that I can live without my medications, which I previously thought was impossible. Since beginning the treatment I am much more positively focused on my health. Making the transition to the new lifestyle was quite an adjustment, but my health coach has been so patient and understanding: making recommendations, directing me to appropriate foods and sources, and most of all encouraging me with uplifting comments and quotes. I could not have achieved any of this without my health coach and Virta provider.
For anyone considering trying Virta, I want to say that I am amazed at how well the treatment is structured: the training, the videos, the challenges, and the volume of resources available on the Virta app make it truly valuable. My employer covers the entire cost of Virta, but there’s no doubt that the amount of attention and responsiveness I’ve experienced makes the price they’re paying well worth it. The structure, the science, the research, is so comprehensive and accurate that I am in awe.