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Trying Again.

I have missed my CGM.

Over the last few weeks, I've pulled back considerably on my Dexcom use, solely because of the crazy rash that was cropping up underneath the sensor sites.  (And a quick Google search confirmed that I was not the only one who has gone through this issue - Lorraine at This is Caleb had a very informative post about Caleb's similar reaction, and also had some tips on mitigating the issue.)  This rash has been an issue since I was in San Diego at the end of August, and after trying different skin locations, application methods, etc. to the max (to the max, yo), I ended up taking the sensors off completely a week and a half ago.

I did a removal/long break because my skin needed a "full heal" first.  My preferred sensor spots, on my outer thigh, were red and scaly from repeated pockets of itchy rash, and they needed to mend entirely before I felt comfortable slapping another sensor on there.  (And yes, I have tried other locations for my sensors, but have had the same reaction.)  But, thanks to time off from the adhesive/transmitter and the rapid-healing baby lotion that we use for Birdy's sensitive skin, my sites were soon back to normal. 

The first few days of the Dexcom "forced vacation" were particularly crummy, because I have been so used to the steady stream of data over the last five years.  I didn't like not being able to check the receiver before I did certain things, like after breakfast or getting behind the wheel.  Even though I could always check my blood sugar using my glucose meter, it wasn't the same kind of reassurance as when I could see the number plotted within the graph of "where the hell it's been and where it's going." 

Using this photo again because I love, love, love this graph.  "Makes me feel potent."  Which is a great line from "Dead Poet's Society."  Which is a great movie.  Holy digression.

But there are two moments when the Dexcom means most to me:  during exercise, and before bedtime.

The Dexcom during workouts helps me figure out how to best stay active as safely as possible.  I feel confident jumping onto the treadmill for a run if I'm 119 mg/dL with an upward-sloping arrow, but I'll drink some Gartorade if I'm 119 mg/dL with a downward-pointing arrow.  And if I have a 119 mg/dL with two double-down arrows, I'll delay the workout and hit some glucose tabs.  It's not about the number, for me, but the context.  

And before bedtime has been dodgy, for the same reason.  I hate not seeing the mg/dL "breadcrumb trail" before going to sleep.  I didn't realize how reliant I was on the graph until I didn't have access to it.  This is uncomfortable for me in my own home, but when I'm traveling, it's reason enough for a 3 am wake up call to test my blood sugar.  The past few weeks, with excessive amounts of travel and a variance of time zones, have made me miss, and appreciate, the Dexcom even more.

Today, I'm giving it another go.  I'm hoping that the sensor, applied to healed skin, will not cause the itchy, hive-like rash I've been experiencing since late August.  (Because nothing says "hey, I'm healthy!" quite like aggressive, weeping rashes.)  I'm hoping I can return to regular Dexcom use, without this weird reaction.  I'm hoping to return to normal, with the sensor hanging on for as long as it can, instead of me ripping it off so I can rake my nails across the skin in relief.  As you might be able to guess, I'm wicked hopeful.

I have missed my CGM.  

Let's hope it missed me.  :)

Comments

Both girls had a break up with Dexie over summer swimming and experienced initial relationship withdrawl and then, complete joy at not having another relationship to deal with. Back on since September and I noticed that both girls are checking Dexie for reassurance quite often, cementing that relationship even more than before. T1D is so darn sneaky that you really need a Dexie in your life, even if she is high maintenance!

I experience the same thing, but not constantly. For some reason the thick Aquaphor around and over the top of the adhesive offers some relief.

I would like readers to take away two things from this post (especially anyone who is not a T1). First, T1 is data intensive on a scale that is almost hard to comprehend. There is so much data and so much to respond to that it can be overwhelming at times. Second, as wonderful as CGMs and pumps are, they are NOT cures. Not in the least. They are tools that some of us are fortunate to have access to, but even with access, they are not perfect. Plenty of people develop allergies to adhesives or the plastics used in these devices (which are inserted under your skin) that are so severe they cannot utilize these technologies. Also, these technologies offer improved care, but not anywhere near perfect care. Too many people erroneously think that because we have these technologies, living with T1 is "easy." Not in the least.

33% of diabetics suffer from some kind of sensitive skin condition.
I am in that percentage.
I use all hypoallegenic/ fragrance free skin care products.
The fabric of bedsheets has to be Very soft, or the grain of the cloth against my skin will also cause a flare up.
In the winter, when the air is dryer, I have to use a special lotion on my legs so that I don't develop a rash.
This is reason enough for me to be cautious about getting a CGM or pump ,
, because once a rash develops, it seems to take forever to heal, ( not to mention I go insane from the itching) and I am left with scars that stick around for months.
I am such a whimp.
okay, I'm done


Kerri, do you know if the new Dexcom G4 sensors are made of the same materials? I hope you resolve this issue, can't imagine living w/o Dex. Gotta go knock on wood!

I'm doing a clinical trial with the European Dex4. I haven't had issues with the Seven, nor with this newer one. One thing for your rashes - have you tried Baird Barrier Wipes? They helped me when I was on the Navigator. Good luck. We do get dependent on that data!

I love the picture and especially the alt text. I'd use that picture on any post, whether or not you even mention the Dexcom!

That is one potent CGM graph! :-)

I almost always spend 3 weeks on and 1 weeks off. Whatever compels me to do this, is satisfies me!

My daughter developed the itchy, bumpy rash as well and it wasn't until after several months of using the dexcom without a problem. We tried several methods and the only one which has helped significantly is using a duoderm as a barrier under the tape. We just cut out a hole for the wire.

My daughter has recently had the same issue. We discontinued using skin tac, alcohol wipes, and she only puts a new sensor in after a shower. We only started using skin tac during field hockey season because of needing to keep the site in. Hopefully resuming to our previous regimen will help. The CGMS data is so important.

The cost may very well be (far) higher.Posted by: Rhysa | Nov 15, 2012 5:30:36 PM | 22Hamas says it fired 527 rockets at Israel in last two days (Haaretz)

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