Seven Days with DexCom SEVEN

I neglected to tell you all that I’ve been outfitted with the new DexCom SEVEN wireless continuous glucose monitor. I’m on Day 4 today, and so far feeling rather ambiguous about the whole affair. Which is a little unfair, because this version definitely is better than the original. It’s just that I’m still a little disgruntled from my first experience. Allow me to explain:

I wore DexCom’s STS three-day-wear CGM unit for five months last year, from June through November. (Oh why, oh why, Dear Lord, do these opportunities always pop up right at the outset of bathing suit season?)

Amy_dexcom_seven_plus_3I was extremely excited to try continuous monitoring, probably with rather unrealistic expectations for something so new and tentative as to be approved for “adjunct therapy” only. This means, of course, that the FDA is warning patients not to base their insulin dosing or other therapy decisions on the CGM data, due to its indeterminate accuracy. Ugh.

Anyway I was an eager and devoted CGM user despite the numerous inconveniences:

1) requirement to calibrate multiple times/day using the OneTouch monitor, which requires a VERY BIG blood drop that must be loaded onto the test strip in one fell swoop — or you’ve wasted a strip

2) need to schlep around yet TWO MORE diabetes devices (the DexCom & OneTouch) plus cable to connect them

3) necessity to keep the unit “in range,” i.e. very near my body in order to get readings

4) an unclear screen that kept defaulting to this: “- – -”, so you never knew whether the thing was calibrating or had just pooped out

5) not waterproof, meaning you had to use plastic covers to the tune of $1 apiece for every shower, bath, or swim. The patches also irritated the skin somethin’ awful

6) loud alarms that cannot be adjusted or silenced

7) accuracy issues! The unit CONSISTENTLY read me as too low overnight even though I was in the 80-100 range, therefore the unit would CONSISTENTLY beep loudly and wake me up at night for nothing

Sometime in the middle of last November, I’d just had it. I did get some good “trend data,” but not worth the inconvenience day-in and day-out with no end in sight. (I’m probably the only fool who wore it so consistently anyway)

So now I’ve been offered the chance to try DexCom’s new 7-day-wear version, which purports to solve many of the issues with the old edition. First off, it’s waterproof. Hallelujah for that! No more uncomfortable patches necessary.

It also has a nice clear “status window” in the upper right-hand corner, so you do know if it’s calibrating, searching for a signal, or perhaps pooped out. That helps me warm up to the unit a little.

This one’s supposedly much more accurate, but I haven’t seen heaps of evidence for that yet. I’m still having problems with issues #6-7 above, and even had to toss the unit out into the hallway last night for the sake of our REM and our marriage.

I’m also still bothered by issues #1-3 above. I don’t like to wear the Receiver hanging off me (it’s wireless for a reason, for goodness sake!) So I keep it in my purse. Every time I go upstairs and said purse is downstairs, or vice-versa, we lose contact. Ugh.

It’s a quality of life thing, ya know?

Anyway, I’ve still got 3 days on this one and then 3 more sensors to go, if I choose to continue. I know my endo will want me to gather as much trend data as possible. ‘Cause that’s where the value of CGM really rests right now.

More bloggers’ viewpoints on the DexCom SEVEN can be found HERE and HERE.


18 Responses

  1. Living With Diabetes
    Living With Diabetes July 25, 2007 at 8:13 am | | Reply

    Diabetes Mine: Seven Days with DexCom SEVEN

    Amy has been trying the DexCom SEVEN and writes aboutit: It’s just that I’m still a little disgruntled from my first experience. Diabetes Mine: Seven Days with DexCom SEVEN Funny, but I’m had a completely opposite experience with the …

  2. Trusted.MD Network
    Trusted.MD Network July 25, 2007 at 9:38 am | | Reply

    Diabetes Mine: Seven Days with DexCom SEVEN

    Amy has been trying the DexCom SEVEN and writes about it:  It’s just that I’m still a little disgruntled from my first experience.  Diabetes Mine: Seven Days with DexCom SEVEN Funny, but I’m had a completely opposite experience with the 3-day…

  3. Kathy
    Kathy July 25, 2007 at 9:59 am | | Reply

    I just want to say thank you to you and all the rest of the folks that are beta testing these devices. I’m hoping that by the time insurance comes around to covering these devices that all the bugs will be worked out, the prices will come down, and they’ll get smaller and more accurate. (I know, I’m a dreamer) I’m hoping that by the time my baby flys the nest, at least 8 more years, these CGM’s will make it easier for me to let her go.

  4. Dan Fahey
    Dan Fahey July 25, 2007 at 11:36 am | | Reply

    Reminds me of a device called Glucowatch.
    One of its weaknesses was that it became useless if you were to sweat And who of us doesn’t, particularly during/after execrise when reasdings would be particluarly useful.
    You didn’t mention whether this is a problem with the dexCom

  5. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell July 25, 2007 at 11:39 am | | Reply


    I’ve switched from the Dexcom 3 to the Dexcom SEVEN without any major issues. I gave up wearing the shower patches with the Dexcom 3 and they shouldn’t be needed with the Dexcom 7. But a lot of the issues you point out (loud alarms, OneTouch Ultra, etc.) are definitely problems. Here’s to the next generation of CGMS systems, I’ll take one as soon as it arrives!

    Have a look at my blog for a pointer to an interesting analyst report on CGM systems.

  6. Kevin D.
    Kevin D. July 26, 2007 at 4:08 am | | Reply

    I’m curious as to how loud when you say loud alarms? I know a major reason I don’t use any CGMS yet is because of the alarms. Alot of MM users keep pushing the MM x22 on me (I’m an Animaser by heart) instead of a Guardian RTS but I’ve heard the x22 alarms are no louder than a pump alarm which generally take me about 2 hours to recognize has been alarming because I don’t hear/feel the alarms.

    Also, with the Seven is it still only the Ultra that can be used to calibrate it? Or have they added UltraSmart and Ultra2 to the list? I love the Ultra line, so blood size isn’t an issue, I just don’t use the Ultra though.

  7. MoHo
    MoHo July 26, 2007 at 10:09 am | | Reply

    You still don’t seem to understand that the Dexcom is measuring different glucose than your meter, interstitial(sp?) vs. blood glucose. If you expect the CGMS and the meter to match you are bound to be unhappy.

  8. AmyT
    AmyT July 26, 2007 at 10:54 am | | Reply

    Mr. MoHo,
    I understand perfectly well. All I’m sayin’ is, this device is not a benefit to my quality of life at this point in time.

    Kevin D,
    It’s still just the Ultra model only. Bummer.

    Sweat is not a problem.

    Thank you so much for saying that!!

  9. Chris
    Chris August 2, 2007 at 2:49 pm | | Reply

    Let me be the first to say……awesome abs!!

    Glad to hear you are having luck with the pod. We tried it and loved the concept and PDM, didn’t like the bulkiness of the pod.

  10. Steve
    Steve August 4, 2007 at 3:58 pm | | Reply

    The Ultra uses a lit if blood? It’s a tiny drop. What meter uses less blood? My OLD original One Touch used a huge drop, but not the Ultra.

  11. AmyT
    AmyT August 4, 2007 at 4:26 pm | | Reply

    Try the FreeStyle meters or the Keynote or new models from AgaMatrix. MUCH less blood required, and MUCH easier to get on the strip.

  12. kristi
    kristi January 13, 2008 at 5:04 pm | | Reply

    Your experience is just like mine! I had the 3 day last year with all sorts of problems — all that work and they didn’t even analyze my data, it was such a mess. Now i’m on the 7 day with all the same problems — it reads me a good 40 points lower than I really am, consistently. So it basically says my BS is around 50, beeping constantly. I really want this to work (I’m trying to get pregnant), but you are so right about the quality of life issues! Thank you for writing about it!

  13. Ec
    Ec January 24, 2008 at 7:54 pm | | Reply

    If anyone is interested in getting insurance coverage for CGMs, here’s something I found helpful:

  14. Tester
    Tester April 15, 2008 at 6:17 am | | Reply

    I am taking a trial of the Dx Seven for a few weeks. It has been less than 24 hours and I am very unimpressed. Spent the whole night getting woken up by constant low alarms with readings 46-57 while my Ultra 2 showed 98-107. The frequent out of range warnings despite the fact the thing has never left my side along with the ????? marks in the display where my actual numbers are supposed to be reading leads me to believe this technology has a LONG way to go yet. It has not been a good first day at all but will see how the next few weeks goes. As of today, this thing will be sent right back with a hearty “Thanks, but no thanks..”

  15. Jan
    Jan April 20, 2009 at 3:09 pm | | Reply

    Amy, is this the trial for the Dexcom 7 PLUS, or just the 7? Re: “alarms that can’t be silenced,” can a person put it on “vibrate” so a student, for instance, does not have to alert the whole class every time a BG is out of range. That would be very embarassing for school or work. Second question is: If keeping receiver in your purse and you fall out of range, when you come back into the room near your purse will Dexcom automatically put you back in range or do you have to program the device in some fashion? Also, can one initially purchase just the transmitter receiver separately and the sensors separately instead of buying the $699 “system.” If a purchase is under $500, it will slide right under the DME provisions in a lot of insurance policies and you may not need preapproval.

  16. Thiago
    Thiago November 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm | | Reply

    gorgeous belly, sweetie!


  17. Thiago
    Thiago November 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm | | Reply

    Oops! about to forget: am not an diabetic anymore, since early this year.



    pretty happy nowadays!

    hope U guys the best therapeutic results, but don’t hesitate queueing for transplantation!

    take good care!



  18. A.
    A. January 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm | | Reply

    @Thiago: yeah, you finished your promotional gig on this website, now you can move on to the next one… Are they paying you enough?

    @AmyT: If I were you, I would look into the research of Ron Rosedale, MD.

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