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Dexcom Warrior.

Siah spies.I have to be completely honest here:  The Dexcom scared the hell out of me.

It sat on the kitchen table for a few days and stayed hidden in the FedEx box.  I wasn't quite ready to look at it and I was even less ready to saddle myself with another medical device.  But a couple of Officially Scary low blood sugars, coupled with my fiance being away on business, and I was ready to give it a go.

Siah and I spent a few hours reading over the material that came with the Dexcom.  She flipped through a few pages and finally trotted off with one of the shower covers,  leaving me in peace to peruse the papers.

8:00 pm:  There are a lot of pieces to work with here.  The sensor, the inserter for the sensor, and the receiver.  I'm intimidated at the idea of wearing another device, even for just a few days.  I don't want it to be cumbersome.  Oh man, I'm nervous.  

What?  The insertion needle is how long?  Half an inch?  Is that long?  That's 1.3 cm.  That's more than double the length of my infusion set.  Damnit, I just need to put this thing in and be done with it.

9:30 pm:   Here's the insertion device for the STS Sensor.  (That's Prussia the Cat asleep in the chair in the background.  This is her blog cameo.) 

The STS Sensor inserter.  And Prussia in the background.

After reading over and over in the instruction booklet how to put it in, I pressed the insertion device against my stomach and gently - oh so gently - pressed down on the plunger apparatus.  I felt the needle prick against my skin.  It felt like an infusion set.  My panic eased back a bit as I deployed the plunger and fully inserted the sensor needle.

9:35 pm:  Inserted.  Now I wait two hours for the damn thing to calibrate.  

11:35 pm:  The receiver clipped to my shorts buzzes like it is alerting me that the house is on fire.  "Whoa there, Dexcom."  I mutter, unclipping the device and setting it on the desk in front of me.  Two little blood drops are dancing on the screen.  Following the instructions in the manual, I test my blood sugar twice on a One Touch Ultra machine and link up the One Touch to the STS Receiver.  The results travel across time, space, and the span of my desk and lodge themselves into the receiver.

11:50 pm:  As promised, 15 minutes passes and my results pop up on the screen.  "96 mg/dl."  Nice way to start.  Let's see if it lasts.

Here's what the site looks like "on."  (Pump on the left, Dexcom on the right, like I'm a six-until-me shooter from some weird diabetes Western.  And apparently I need to Windex the full-length mirror.)

Dexcom Warrior - And I'll admit that I never, EVER thought I would post my stomach on the internet.  Geez.

It feels slightly more intrusive than an insulin pump infusion site, but it's not too troublesome.  I'm wondering if it can be worn on the thigh.  The biggest drawback so far (even after only three hours) is definitely the size of the receiver.  This thing is clunky and cumbersome.  I'm hoping that the data will outweigh the device.  

Tomorrow brings my first full Dexcom Day.  I'm all a-twitter!

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Comments

Way to go Kerri! The sensors can be a little funny the first day but by day two they usually work well. It is a first gen product but I have not had any scary lows since I started using it. Some tips:
Calibrate when your bs is stable.
If you get the big "X" or the "remove sensor" signal just restart, wait two hours and off you go.
It sometimes gets funny while sweating, usually showing you too high, just wait a while and it will dry off and behave.
Some sensors just don't work as well as others, if you get a truly bad one call Dexcom and explain, they will usually comp you for the sensor. No worries though, out of 40+ sensors I have had two bad ones.
Night time can be funny, with sometimes erratic data. All I can recommend is putting up with it, it does get better.
The Dex WILL warn you about lows, my main concern. I tried the Minimed version and it did not detect fast dropping bs like the Dex so I sent it back after it did not detect twice.
Oh yeah, if you try and calibrate when there is a big difference (+/- 25)between the Dex and the meter it sometimes wants you to remove the sensor, don't, see above.
I am a big fan of this product, just give it a chance and don't expect miracles like some other bloggers have. Give it at least five sensors to truly get an opinion.

The size of the receiver is the only reason I did not purchase or look into purchasing.
I loved the data and results and they were tremendously accurate for me. I wore the trial sensors for two weeks each.
I think the receiver is just hard for girls to wear :)

Good luck with the Dexcom! I hope it works out for you.

Can I just say that you have an awesome apartment as well as awesome abs? I feel like I can mention the abs since we're blog friends, LOL.

I'm very curious what kind of results you're going to get. I tried CGM a few days ago (though a MiniMed Paradigm) and I wasn't that impressed, not at all to be exact. I got incorrect data 80% of the time and none of the alerts were on time.

Kerri,

Just curious why you are using Dexcom when you have a Minimed? For me when I have the $1000 dollars to spend I am getting the the kit for my Minimed. I can't imagine carrying the extra device around. Cell phone, bg test kit, candy and the list goes on. My man bag is way to full!!!

Good luck! I love mine and have only been wearing it 1 1/2 weeks.

I agree with the other commenter -- the first day isn't that great, but after that ...

You know about the reset trick right?

MoHo - Great tips. I'm not planning on wearing the Dexcom all the time, though. It's for spot-checking. But I will be wearing it a few days a month, that's for sure. This is my first trial run. :)

Sara - I AGREE! The receiver/sensor combo is damn bulky. But hopefully the data pays off.

Shannon - LOL! I never thought in a million years that I would ever post my stomach on the internet. I'm mortified. But if I were reading this, I'd want to see what the damn thing looks like on! So I swallowed my pride. (And did some sit-ups.) :0)

Sasha - I am comparing and contrasting everything for the next few days. I'll let you know how the data correlates!

Dave - The Dexcom came from The Diabetes Fairy (aka a fantastic faithful reader), so that's why I'm using it. And I also have a Minimed 512, which isn't CGMS-ready. Once I upgrade, I'll think about the Mini-Link system.

Good for you for starting.

We must have been on the same wavelength last week as I talked about that bottle of met sitting on my counter.

Think I can manage a twitter window along with my gmail window at work? I'm guessing not because of annoying co-worker who keeps tabs on my gmail usage.

Kerri,

Do you actually have to wear the sensor or can you keep it on a desk next to you - it's wireless right?

Kathleen - I'm glad you like yours. That makes me feel better about giving this a whirl!

Rachel - Twitter away. And punch your co-worker in the nose if they give you shit for it. ;)

Ed - It's wireless, so the receiver is on my desk. But the sensor is against my skin (as in the picture). It's a two-part system. Apparently, I can't go more than 5 feet from the receiver or the results from my sensor don't reach.

Kerri, I'm so happy you're on the Dexcom! I loved my one week trial...I agree with you about the "intrusive" feeling - and honestly the inserter and the long sensor wire gave me the heeby-jeebies (especially when I pulled it out to change my sensor and there appeared to be...well...some sort of human tissue attached to it. GULP.)

There are many inherent PITAs with these CGMSs but on the whole they are so, so awesome. I'll be looking into the MM cos the extra pain of wearing Dex receiver was just a bit too much for me. At work I actually kept the thing in my purse...but I kept forgetting about it and walking off. Oh, and the buzzing in the middle of the night due to phantom "lows" - oi vey!!!

This is so cool. Thanks for posting on Twitter. Its fun to sort of be there with you as you stroll through this little experiment.

The Windex thing made me lol.

Hi Kerri -

Couple of more tips - I've been using the Dex for 2 months & love it.

- You can wear it on the upper thigh but for me the first days readings can be more erratic than on the stomach. I typically wear mine on the outer, upper portion of the thigh and find that the comfort is worth the sometimes erratic readings the first day.

- If the shower covers irritate your skin - try Glad Press & Seal. I know it sounds strange but...it works (Credit to Rick of the Yahoo CGMS Users group - a fabulous resourse for all things CGMS http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/diabetescgms/)

- The three day sensor life is an FDA imposed estimate YMMV (I typically get between 9 and 12 days on mine)

- Lastly Kudos to you for showing your stomach on the web you brave brave girl!

Good luck!
Michele

DO NOT USE THE MINIMED! I tried it and it does not detect rapidly dropping lows, in fact it read 78 while I was in the low 30's with a flat line and no arrows. This kind of thing happened twice and I no longer trust the Minimed. If the MM had a better sensor it would be closer to a perfect system, the integration sure was nice. Other folks have had the same problems with the MM if you read someof their blogs.

Other folks have had the same problems with the MM if you read someof their blogs.

I wear the Minimed (since October). I personally think it's pretty accurate between 100 and about 160/170. Outside of that range, you really need to test on your own to make sure. If you are trying to consistently stay below 100, then it's a really poor investment. If you are like me and just trying to get a handle on stability, then it works pretty well.

Is there any online literature about the accuracy differences between the DexCom & Minimed?

Congratulations on getting up and running Kerri!

I think that much like everything where diabetes is concerned Your Mileage May Vary. I will have been using the Medtronic CGM systems for a year in around a weeks time. I started with the Guardian RT and moved on to the Paradigm Real-Time in September. The fact that I'm still devoted to it a year on says something about how useful and accurate I (just me personally) find it. Sadly not everyone finds the same for the Medtronic devices and whilst some people love the Dexcom, it isn't right for others.

Much as different pumps suit different people according to their insulin needs and lifestyles, different CGM systems will suit different people, possibly for reasons we don't even yet understand.

This is why I still feel the biggest enemy to any of us where CGM is concerned is our own expectations. Expect to much and you will surely be disappointed. Treat it like a friendly prompt to carry out a fingerstick, and forgive it the occasional error while you bask in all the trend data you have.

Most of all, see how it helps you - I really hope it does, and look forward to hearing all about it.

Good Luck!

I am excited to see how it goes for you! Good luck with the sensor.....I hope it is as helpful to you as the technology has been for me!!


My first post here!! I am so glad I found your blog...
I just started the MM CGMS with the 522. I like it alot and already feel so much better since BG has been more stable and I have had NO lows since putting it on and no BIG highs...so for that it is worth it. I have not figured out how I will afford the sensors!! I am hoping to get more than 3 days out of them.

*looks down to own tummy*


*runs off to do situps until i puke*


thanks a LOT. :P

That is soo cool..i have always wanted a CGM considering i already check my sugar like 15 times a day..lol how is it..do u like it??
-jenna

Hey Kerri,
I think that James needs a sensor like that! Might make him sit up and take notice of all the highs he has been getting lately!!

I was reading your Diabetes terms of endearment and we have one to add (my dad coined the phrase)... Insulate - the act of injecting insulin.

Liz

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