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Why I Wanted a CGM.

On my soapbox again.  Hello!I'm often asked about why I chose the Dexcom CGM over the Minimed, and I have plenty of posts here on SUM that talk about my experiences with the two devices:

And then fighting for insurance:

And after I had won insurance approval, Dexcom and I joined forces:

Phew!  But part of even starting this process was wanting to go on a CGM to begin with.  I'm often asked about the different continuos glucose devices and pros and cons of each, I get just as many questions as simple as this:  "What made you ready to go on a CGM in the first place?" 

I know that for going from injections to pump therapy, I was frustrated with the lows that were happening three times a week, and how my ex-boyfriend was constantly finding me motionless in the bed at 4 am, covered with sweat.  After 17 years of injections and after two years of an A1C that wouldn't budge, I made the decision to use an insulin pump.

After deciding to wear one medical device, it was easier to try another one.  A few years of pumping made me feel comfortable with the 24/7 attachment of a diabetes device, so when the continuous glucose monitors became more prevalent on the scene, my interest was piqued.  At the time, I was in a serious relationship, thinking about having children in the future, and realizing how my blood sugars still weren't running better, despite my increased education and effort.  It was time to try something a bit different.

With a CGM of any kind, there's a certain security that comes with it.  I feel more confident speaking at events when I can look at the graph on my CGM and see that I'm holding steady.  Same for getting in the car for long drives, or on a plane for a few hours.  After twenty plus years of only having snapshots of what my numbers were like, I now have access to the streaming video, so to speak, of continuous monitoring.

Yes, there's also the "Hey, you're a robot" component to this.  I can't lie.  When I look at my body and I see all these things stuck to me, in addition to the red dots of diabetes devices past, I feel a little overwhelmed.  But it's part of living with this disease. (Most of the time, I'm able to shake off the robot feeling and just let Chris call me Rosie.  Whoops - there's the digression.)  I actually feel okay with wearing two medical devices.  It's sometimes cumbersome and inconvenient, but for me, the pros outweight any cons.  I hear a lot of bad news about diabetes, about how this many years with type 1 can really cause a landslide of issues, about how life can be compromised.  And I don't want that. 

Regardless of what happens in my future, I want to make every effort to be as healthy as I can, both mentally and physically.  And I'm ready to keep trying.  That's why I blog.  That's why I raise awareness.  That's why I pump. 

And that's why I wanted a CGM.

Comments

woohoo CGM! i can't wait until my dexcom trial next month. it's been pushed back so many times =(

robots unite!

That's why we love ya.

Woo hoo! Go you!
Good stuff.

Keep on keeping on Rosie! ;-)

That's pretty much where I'm at with wearing the two devices. People have asked why I don't consolidate and get a MM pump since I wear the MM CGM, but just like you chose Dexcom because you liked it better, I stayed with Animas because I like it better. I didn't have a choice with CGM devices though. I had actually fought to get a Dexcom, but my insurance co. would only approve the MM, and after fighting with them for almost a year, I just took what I could get. That was almost two years ago, and I still want a Dexcom, so at this point, I'm waiting for the integrated Animas/Dexcom. I still get decent data from the MM, but it's failed me at the worst times - those overnight hypos that keep kicking my arse - so I'm anxiously awaiting the opportunity to switch. Knowing that you and others have had really positive experiences with Dexcom definitely confirms my desire to get one.

A CGM was a great learning tool for me. It completely changed the way I approached my management. I don't wear it too often anymore, mainly because it taught me how to be stable.

Great post.

Thank you, Kerri.

And this is why we all tune in everyday to read what you have to say because it inspires. My new endo said to me, if you have access to CGM and you can tell what your sugars are every 5 minutes, why the heck would you not want to??

@Chris,
My endo said "You are doing so well without a CGMS. Do you really want to what your sugar are doing every 5 minutes?". I agreed with him at first and because of a few scary lows (can you say 32) I've limited my travel to anything I can do in under 2 hours. I am tired of being limited. On my next visit I intend to insist on having that CGMS.

Hi! RE: MiniMed CGMS. It sounds to me as though you weren't properly trained. In order for your CGM to catch lows, you need to set your targets much higher. Mine is set to alarm for a low when my BG is 100. I set it to alarm for a high when my BG is 150. It has not yet failed to awaken me when my BG is 80 or below, during the night. Also, you should have been instructed to set the alarm to VIBRATE. My MiniMed trainer told me their alarm is too soft. The vibrating always awakens me during the night. I had terrible times with my DexCom 7 trial, and thought their trainer was very poor.

Even though I have found trends and such with CGMS, I wear it as much as I can afford to, because I don't feel lows like I used to.

I work at an electronics store and so I rather enjoy being 'Cyborg'. I get to teach and show off my geek-ness without a computer degree :-D... But it is something I can also appreciate, not having to syringe up at the dinner table or so on using a pump.

Now, if only I did not have sites go bad, r have some of the inconvenient low battery and such, I'd have it made. LOL!

June - I was properly trained (I think, at least. Who's to say?) on the Minimed system, but I found it to be more painful than accurate. And even if it was spot-on, it still hurt to wear. That was the deal-breaker for me. But I'm really glad yours works for you. Customized diabetes! :)

Lee Ann - It's not all "awesome," but the Dexcom does work much better for me than the Minimed one did. I think the CGM preferences are so much like the pump ones - your diabetes may vary. :)

I've also given thought to switching to Animas because of the Dexcom integration, but I'll believe it when I see it. (I hope I see it soon.)

T1 for 29 years now.
Minimed for 1+ years now.
A1C over the last 2 years has gone from 7.1 to 6.4.
Testing 7-10 times a day.
I don't have a problem with nighttime lows or low BG unawareness. But as Chris says above, if you can know what your number is every 5 minutes, why not?
Why I am still on the fence though...

I got used to the Minimed CGM for a couple months, improved my A1C and then when I tried to order more sensors ran into a huge snafu with CIGNA. A month later, I'm still trying to get it straightened out while being completely frustrated that I now have to be sensor-less - luckily, not senseless. :-) I didn't find it caught all my lows and highs (if I set the numbers differently, I felt like I got constant alarms), but I liked seeing the trends. Plus, the arrows showing I was going high or low fast I found to be helpful. Let's hope I can get more sensors soon!

Amen! I got a CGM, but only approved by insurance during my pregnancy 2 years ago. I have REALLY missed it, and I can't wait to constantly know my BG again! (maybe that's why my doctor told me his team "kind of noticed I'm type A")

I chose to not fight my insurance, so I paid out of pocket for my DEXCOM and I love it! I have worn it every single day, and hopefully, crossing my fingers, my A1C will go down from 10! Kerri, you are the reason why I chose to get one. :D Thanks for all your posts. I am a everyday reader.

You guys give me hope! Out here in Kenya where am from our insurance companies do not offer ANY kind of medical / health insurance to Type 1 diabetics...aparently it isn't worth it....so everything comes out of pocket...at the moment most of the insurance companies claim that they are providing insurance to us but there is a catch (always is with these people) firstly we have to pay for a year and not claim ANYTHING then after that they will evaluate us and see if they will provide cover....????? I was puzzled. I asked the rep why and he said that as a type 1 we have too many complications that it just doesn't make sense. I had been under a cover with my family then when I went to renew it I was sent back my cheque... These people have no souls! But from what I hear from you guys am encouraged because I know that we must all start somewhere and the health insurance discrimination is alive and well everywhere so am just going to keep fighting on just like you have Kerri!

RE: your comment to me - below:
If your MiniMed CGM hurt, then you might have tried wearing it wear I do - on the upper buttocks. I never feel it at all!!!
June S.

June - I was properly trained (I think, at least. Who's to say?) on the Minimed system, but I found it to be more painful than accurate. And even if it was spot-on, it still hurt to wear. That was the deal-breaker for me. But I'm really glad yours works for you. Customized diabetes! :)

I was a participant in clinical trials for the Dexcom. I think the technology is heading in the right direction, but we're not there yet. Why would anyone want to me awakened in the wee hours of the morning when their blood sugar drops? And, is there really anything we can do about the varying glucose reading?

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