Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What About My Dexcom? - Updated*

I wanted to shares my thoughts about my brand new (one week old) Dexcom.  Just so you understand, I've been pretty fearful about trying a continuous glucose monitor.

My insurance company requires that I purchase my Dexcom 'starter kit' and all future supplies from Byram Healthcare.  Byram did contact me to see if I was aware of and OK with the amount I'd have to pay since I've not met my deductible yet.  They also asked what color receiver I wanted (PINK!).  I'm disappointed that after the initial phone call I've heard nothing from them.  How do I order more supplies?  What do I do if I have a sensor, transmitter, or receiver failure?  How do I contact them with these questions or for other help?  I guess I'll use 'the Google' to find an 800 number to call so I can get some answers.

Shouldn't I have heard from Dexcom?  I'd think they contact new users to see if they have any questions, concerns, or if they would like any sort of training with a local rep.  My training only exists thanks to YouTube and the user's guide.  Another disappointment right out of the box.  *UPDATE:  When I got home last night, I had a message from Dexcom telling me to give them a call.  It's like they saw my blog and picked up the phone.

There are Facebook groups for Dexcom users and they have been a great place to find hints and tips.  Thanks to them, I restarted my sensor yesterday to see if I can get more than the recommended seven days out of it.

What I like:

Low alarms.  I'm hypo unaware and this helps a ton.  This was the main reason I was interested and my CDE was excited to fill out paperwork for me.  I've been woken up twice so far and have been able to get glucose tabs without going so low that I can't function.  This is a true lifesaver which makes it a super duper pro!

The ability to bolus with the knowledge of where my blood sugar is heading.  If I use my meter alone, I may have a 100 BS at lunch.  I'll take my bolus based on my insulin to carb ratio.  Sometimes I'll spike, other times I'll drop like a rock.  Now I can adjust my bolus if I see up or down arrows (especially double ups or downs!). 

The ability to see how exercise is affecting my BS right while it's happening.  I've been testing before I work out and then right after.  Basal rates for exercise have been an experimentation.  While that's worked out fairly well, this is a much better option.  This past week I saw that I go up really fast when strength training.  I went down during exercise classes and while walking on the treadmill.  I stayed steady then jumped up pretty fast (double up arrows) right at the end of spin class yesterday.  As I watch my trends for the next two weeks or so, I'll make some better choices on basal rates to keep myself steady.

This may be silly but I like that the receiver has a rechargeable battery.  I love my Animas Ping pump but I hate buying lithium batteries and replacing them about once a month.  It gets expensive and I feel bad for throwing all those batteries in a land fill.

What I don't like:

Having another thing 'stuck' to my body all the time.  I've been using my pump for about seven years and never had an attachment issue.  Now that there are two things I'm feeling a bit like a cyborg.  Maybe I'll have super powers soon?

More junk to carry around.  While the receiver is small it still takes up space.  I did order a cute pink case from Myabetic.  Who likes bright colors?  This girl!  I'm also at a loss right now looking for a place to put that receiver at the gym.  I ordered a couple of exercise bands, one from Tallygear (in purple cause I DO like bright colors) and one from Myabetic so I can try to wear this thing on my arm.

The sensor insertion contraption is really intimidating.  I'd seen it in YouTube videos and on Dexcom's website but when I opened that package I sort of worried freaked out.

Just look at that thing!
Angry did stand right next to me and read the instructions as I inserted for the first time.  Surprise!  It wasn't too hard and it didn't hurt at all.  This should be a short term con for me.

In reverse to liking the rechargeable battery this means I have another charger to carry with me when I travel.

Funky tan lines (can you say First World problem?).  Right now I'm wearing it on my stomach and I don't do bikinis so it's OK.  I do want to try my arms soon and I feel like I'll look goofy (although some may say I already do!).  I think I'll call this an "I can deal with it" con.

As you can see, my cons are pretty slim compared to my pros.  After using this thingy for a week, I think I'm already sold.


  1. I still have a Dexcom-shaped white patch on my arm leftover from winter-hiking. When I hike I aim try to keep my long-sleeved shirts on as long as possible. This day It was so hot that a I took off my long-sleeved shirt but added sun sleeves to my short-sleeved shirt. Unfortunately the gap was where my Dex site was. I got a royal sunburn with an oval white spot in the middle....

    Glad you are liking the Dex. It has been life-changing for me and although it isn't perfect, it.'s pretty darn good most of the time.

  2. Laddie - I think I'll have to buy some of that self tanner stuff and spread it on the Dexcom oval!! HA!