"Mom, you have a new beep!"
— my 13-year-old, apparently discovering my new CGM
I am back on the Dexcom (!), and feeling the truth behind the saying, ‘third time’s a charm.’ I all but swore off continuous glucose monitoring systems more than a year ago after stints trying all three on the market (Dexcom, Medtronic Guardian, Abbott Navigator), in which the discomfort and inconvenience seemed to clearly outweigh the benefits.
But as you all know, I’ve been stumbling through a really rough patch with this demanding disease, and frustrated as heck, so willing to try just about anything to jumpstart better BG control.
To make a long story short, I ran into Dexcom’s Northern California rep at the recent TCOYD conference here in Santa Rosa, and she convinced me to give it another go, for better or worse. She fitted me with a new trial system ten days ago, complete with pretty pink plastic cover (which picks up a lot of lint, btw).
Suddenly, I’m almost as excited about wearing a CGM as I was five years ago, when I was one of the first patients ever to wear Dexcom’s first-generation product, the very first continuous glucose monitor ever out of the gate at the FDA.
Here’s what I’m finding great about this ‘more mature’ system so far:
Maybe I just got lucky with my first two sites, but I sure remember the sensor insertion and daily wear being a lot more ouchy. So far, I haven’t felt one bit of discomfort with this thing. Here I must note that the Dexcom was always the most comfortable of the three if you ask me: the Guardian has that nasty long-needle inserter and shell-shaped sensor that dangles and pulls on things if you don’t cover it with an oversized adhesive patch. Grrr. And the Navigator sensor is rather large, with that terrible awful plastic-latex adhesive backing that made me break out, captured moisture inside, and then made me break out more. Double grrr.
If the Dexcom Seven continues to be this comfortable to wear, I may not be giving it back unless they pry it out of my cold, dead hands (so to speak) — because site soreness and associated suffering was the main thing holding me back from using a CGM again.
Ease of Calibration
All the older models I used required either synching up two devices via special cable, testing with an extra fingerstick meter model I didn’t like, and/or fussing with confusing and time-consuming input screens. No more! I absolutely love how easy it is to plug your numbers into the Seven. That’s what it feels like, in fact, just plugging in a number now and then, rather than some complex process of “calibration” (why do I hate that word?)
All you have to do is scroll up or down on a nice large-print screen that displays the current reading, and you're there. The system also reminds you — but not too often — with a nice, clear intuitive message that it’s time to punch another number in:
I’m kinda blown away, to be honest. Back in the day (a few years ago is ancient history in the CGM world), these systems were lucky to be anywhere in the neighborhood of your current results from your fingerstick meter. That huge lag time was so frustrating. The combo of that and discomfort is what turned me off.
But check this out:
It doesn’t happen like this all the time, of course, but so far been not more than 15ish points off, which I consider AMAZING.
In short, I’ve become a big fan of the Dexcom 7. What I dislike most about wearing it has nothing to do with the particular model: it’s just a pain having yet another gadget to carry around and keep track of — especially one that needs to stay close to my body or it goes “out of range” and is rendered useless.
I keep it in my purse, but keep walking upstairs or downstairs or down a hallway and forgetting about it. Grrr once more. And here’s yet another charger to worry about!
While visiting with some colleagues at Alliance Health in Salt Lake City last week, I lifted up my shirt to show them my “double-gear” (OmniPod + Dexcom 7 sensor). You should have heard the gasps in the room! Funny how at the moment, I seem to be more aggravated by the parts that are not adhered to my skin…
Anyone with me on that?