If you've been reading Candy Hearts for awhile, then you already know that we completed the insurance process and obtained a Dexcom SEVEN PLUS of our own just before Christmas. In the time since, I've discussed the Super Bolus and our shark's teeth phenomena.
It's been 2 months now. Most of the time Dex and I get along okay. Sometimes we don't. But, at any rate, here's a few things I've learned:
1) Each sensor is a new ballgame. This is why I can't trust it. I feel like I have to build a new relationship every time we insert a new sensor. Relationship drama is the WORST!
2) In my opinion, each sensor needs a 48 hour grace period before I rip into it about being unreliable. I think it takes time for it to "settle in" and start doing it's thing.
3) Her arms work better than her tummy. I realize it's only FDA approved for her belly, but I think she has more interstitial fluid in her arms. Not only that, when she lays on her tummy at night, it disperses the fluid under pressure and we end up with crazy overnight graphs.
4) It CAN be calibrated TOO MUCH! I had no idea! We were entering every number, but then I read that you were only SUPPOSED to enter a number if it's more than 20% off (actual BG divided by 5) OR if it prompts you to. The sensors and I are getting along much better now that we've been sticking to that rule.
5) The number is usually useless for rapid swings in either direction. The arrows, however, are not. If she's feeling low, I test and treat just like we did before Dex came along. 15 minutes later, I can retest and, while the numbers might still be inconsistent, the arrows usually point me in the right direction -- double arrows down turns into one arrow down turns into a slanted arrow down, etc... I do feel like I can use the arrows confidently to help me gauge what direction things are moving and whether or not additional treatment is necessary.
6) When placing the sensor (which, btw, I have never done -- Hubby handles all that jazz), it's important to get a good squeeze of fat and lift it as high as you comfortably can (again, we're using arms for Dex) to make sure the sensor doesn't get inserted to deep.
7) There are times that I actually **LIKE** having 2 devices...
** The first was when we took a New Year's Day trip to play in the snow. It was about a 3.5 hour drive, and I sat up front with the Ping remote and Dexcom receiver. It was SAWEET! I could tell what was going on in the seat behind me plus point and shoot the remote over my head to give insulin!
** I also appreciate being able to keep the remote on the charger at night. It's SO NICE not to have to rumble around looking for her pump to see the CGM. A quick glance is all we need for extra reassurance at night.
8) Each sensor consistently lasts between 10 - 14 days. They may go longer, but we remove it when she starts to complain of itching. We have yet to remove a sensor at the 7 day mark. Thus far, we just restart the sensor, wait for the 2 hour start up period, enter 2 BG's, and press on :)
On a side note, here's where I stand with those reservations I mentioned earlier:
Insurance: So far, we haven't had a problem. They approved the system and the sensor refills. That being said, we haven't actually received our first refill order, so I do have to admit that I'm holding my breath a little.
Real Estate: We're using her arms exclusively for CGM sites. She never liked wearing pump sites in her arms, so it seems to be working well for now. We rotate her pump sites between her bum and tummy and the CGM sites from one arm to the next.
Hypoglycemia Awareness: She continues to feels her lows somewhere around the 60's. That being said, her lows do NOT wake her up at night. She didn't wake up from lows before Dexcom either, so we remain pretty vigilant at night.
Technology Updates: We're eagerly anticipating the Animas/Dex combo, but do not expect to see it anytime soon. After reading this information, we decided to go ahead and renew her pump warranty and will play the rest by ear. If we have to pay out of pocket for an upgrade later, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Keeping her current pump under warranty is something that we just didn't want to risk. As for other pump options, we can't base our decisions on what might or might not be part of the future in pump therapy. We're happy with Animas today, and will just see where this road takes us tomorrow.
Click HERE to read other CGM posts at Candy Hearts.
PS -- If you have concerns about skin sensitivity and adhesion issues, Lorraine has a great post that addresses those concerns HERE.