Dexcom Real Estate: Lower Back Edition.
For the better part of the last seven years, I’ve been wearing my continuous glucose monitor sensor on my outer thigh. I rotate this site in terms of not placing the next sensor right on top of where the old one was, but for the most part, my legs dominated CGM real estate choices, and I liked it that way.
I don’t mind wearing devices, but I keep them off my torso.
Except that it’s way past time for the skin on my legs to have a moment to heal. Normally, the only two hours I go without sensor data is when the new sensor is queuing up, and taking breaks from Dexcom makes me uneasy because it pulls my glucose meter readings out context. (“180 mg/dL? Yeah, but is that going up or going down or holding steady?”) But there’s a long history of use, and even the short history of adhesive rash has taken its toll on the integrity of my skin.
My legs needed a freaking break. Another part of my body needed to step up.
I’ve worn my sensor on my back in the past, and it wasn’t horrible. Chris would help me stick the sensor on, and daily wear wasn’t awkward as I working in an office and didn’t have anything climbing me on a regular basis. Fast-forward to now and I work at home where there is a very lively four year old who wants to climb and hug and be silly and occasionally use the Dexcom transmitter as a ladder rung leading towards a mom hug, and that makes for a lot of “WHOA” and then “OW” moments. For me, it’s tough to keep sensors stuck on, and wearing them on my arms and torso causes adhesive peeling on day two or three, instead of day six or seven with the thigh-placed sensors. (And I hate pulling a sensor off before the seven day mark.)
But a leg break is a leg break, so when the sensor on my leg quit yesterday morning, I installed a new one on my lower back (left hand side towards the back, in that place where you’d put your hands if you were admonishing someone for painting the wall with hard-boiled eggs, for example). It was the first non-thigh Dexcom sensor placement in at least four years … perhaps more.
This new placement hurt like a [descriptive gif here]. Even though the sensor installation is designed to be done in one, fluid motion, I always do it really slowly (like I did my injections as a kid) in this effort to control the sting. So the insertion needle hit my skin and it had a bite, and once the whole sensor was installed, I was standing at a weird angle and nervous to straighten my spine because it felt like the sensor would grab all of my internal organs and take a bite. (Exaggeration. I straightened up a few seconds later and even though the site was tender, no internal organs were nibbled upon.) It took about three hours for the placement to feel “settled,” in that it didn’t bother me to sit on the couch or brush up against the sensor.
Thankfully, this morning the site feels completely comfortable, and my over-used legs have a week or two to heal. Expanding my real estate options is a definite diabetes plus. I just need to keep reminding Birdzone not to use it as a stirrup.