Amber Worthy learns how a Greenville man was able to leave behind a slate of medications, even amidst the pandemic. (12/11/2020)

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Greenville man says that he was able to lose 45 lbs and get off 14 medications during the pandemic after making changes to his diet.

He's sharing his story to help others who might be dealing with some of the physically and mental health challenges that he was facing.

Kenneth was born and raised in Spartanburg, and today works at the ZF Transmissions plant. With a sunny disposition, you might never know the hardship he's experienced over the last 25 years. 

He says he wants to share his message for other type two diabetics or those with high blood pressure - to encourage them to make these changes too.

Kenneth Landrum battling cancer

Kenneth Landrum says this picture was from when he was battling cancer at 220 lbs at yet another trip to the hospital. He had Stage IV non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, that nearly killed him on several occasions, as he suffered through brutal chemotherapy.

In 1995, Kenneth was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Admitted to the hospital with off-the charts blood sugar readings, doctors were surprised he wasn’t already in a coma. He was then immediately put on insulin and a litany of pills to manage his condition. 

Landrum says he reversed his type 2 diabetes and that "people are in the dark about medication and now hopefully my message will get to these people and they will realize that they don’t have to take the medication and stuff for all the side effects and all of that stuff with being on medication no longer suffer from any of that. I am here to really tell people that I am so happy that I can bring this message to people that you don’t have to be on medication."

Now at 160lbs, he says the pandemic put things into perspective and after doctors took him off his 14 medicines, including ones for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even those he used for panic attacks and anxiety, he's never going back to the way he lived before.

"Through this program, I have eliminated 14 new medication from my life along with losing 40 pounds. I have a size 38, I  was at 200 pounds. I’m at 160lb now," Landrum says.

Since enrolling in Virta in February, Kenneth has lost 45 pounds, 8 pant sizes, and removed all 14 different medications he started on, including insulin, high blood pressure meds, and pain meds like oxycodone + hydrocodone. His PTSD disappeared as well, allowing him to get off Lexapro and Ambien for the first time since his son’s death 15 years ago. 

Excited about a future that includes continuing to teach robotics at ZF Transmission, he remembers a time that was not so fond, losing his son in 2005.

In 2005, Kenneth experienced the tragedy of his life, when his son was killed in a fatal police shooting in Spartanburg.

"My son suffered a tragic, violent death back in 2005 and it left me with nightmares, depression, all kinds of strife. From reliving the events in my mind in the horrible thing that I saw with my eyes. It really affects any human being so I had to take medication to deal with it," Landrum recalls. 

Optimistically looking forward and hoping others will make changes as well.

"With no medication at all, it actually has strengthened my believe that I will survive if I catch it because I am no longer on any kind of medication at all. No diabetes, no high blood pressure, any of those elements that will contribute to your downfall if you catch coronavirus," Landrum says.

The program that Kenneth used was sanctioned by doctors and of course before making any changes, it is wise to consult professionals. 

South Carolina the 5th highest rate of diabetes in the country.

Kenneth persevered, relying on faith to get him through the most difficult times. But he always assumed he’d have diabetes for the rest of his life. That was, until finding a surprising benefit through his employer, ZF--Virta Health.

Copyright 2020 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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