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Straight Dex'ing It.

It's official:  I'm applying to have my Dexcom 7 covered by insurance.  I'm choosing to make the Dex part of my management plan.  Over the next week or so, I'll be battling my insurance company to cover my sensors.  Yes, I'm taking the leap.  I don't plan to wear it every single day, but I know I will be sporting it several times a month, more so when I'm closer to planning a pregnancy.

"How's the accuracy?"

It's as accurate as can be expected for new technology - and by accurate, I mean that the Dex7 says I'm 143 mg/dl, my meter says I'm 154 mg/dl.  Those it's higher than I'd like to be (more on that in a minute), those numbers are close enough for me to trust both the trends and the snapshots of Dex.  If I'm going to bother wearing a second device, I want it to be worth it.  And for the last four days, these numbers have been close to one another, so long as my blood sugars are under 260 mg/dl.  Above 260 mg/dl and the gap starts to widen, but I'm not shocked by that considering how my MiniLink trial played out.

"How about comfort?  Is it comfortable to wear?"

I have to be completely honest - comfort is the other deal-breaker for me.  My criteria for a CGM is a. be accurate and b. be comfortable.  Accuracy is reasonable (as stated above).  The only other CGM I've used is the MiniLink, but the Dexcom is far more comfortable.  And I know exactly why.  The MiniLink sensor is not completely adhered to the skin, leaving the "shell" part flopping about a bit.  Even when I taped it down, the sensor still had mobility and the needle shrugged around uncomfortably in my skin.  It made the site ache something awful, regardless of whether I wore it on my arm, my thigh, or my abdomen.  The benefit to the Dexcom sensor is that it's all one piece that is backed by an adhesive, leaving every part of the sensor stuck to my skin and holding steady. Therefore, it didn't hurt me at all and once it was installed, it didn't feel much different than a pump infusion set (only it's slightly bigger). 

I realized this crucial difference in the sensors this afternoon.  For the last three days, my Dex sensor has been securely stuck to me.  But I shower every morning before work and go to the gym every night (then shower again), and the combination of shower, intense workouts, and snug clothing rubbed the sensor a bit the wrong way.  Even though it's meant to last for seven days, it peeled away from my abdomen and came loose a few minutes ago.  Blast.  And for the last 12 hours, it's been floppy and felt sore, leading me to believe that it's the steady adhesive of the Dex that makes it way more comfortable than the MiniLink.  It makes sense - who wants a wire scraping haphazardly around in their skin for hours on end?  Not me. I want that wire to sit still and behave itself.

The Dexcom 7 sensor after it leapt from my body.

"I heard software comes with this one?" 

I loaded up the Dexcom software this morning for the first time.  It's remedial-looking (much like the OneTouch software I have at home), but it serves its purpose of downloading and organizing blood glucose results.  This is a definite upgrade from the old Dexcom software, which was nonexistent. ;) And thanks to my ridiculously awful blood sugars all week long, I've been able to really see all the pretty colors that the Dex software has to offer. 

Screenshot of Dexcom software

"So what now?"

Now I'll make use of the sensors I've received (taking a few days off and reinstalling another one on Sunday morning, post-bachelorette party) and move forward on the insurance verification and approval.  I'll be sure to document my progress with the insurance approval, because I know that's a concern for many people considering a CGM.   

"You mentioned a rough week of numbers.  What's going on?"

Dude, I have no idea.  My numbers have been grossly high all week long, highs in the "Hey, I'm a newly diagnosed diabetic" range like 409 mg/dl, 363 mg/dl, and my favorite, the stubborn 212 mg/dl that visits me without calling first.  I'm changing out my infusion set tonight after work, in hopes that a dodgy set may have been the problem.  Or maybe it was a busted bottle of insulin.  Either way, these blood sugars are reflecting a botched set, or raggedy old insulin, or work/wedding stress, or just plain Blech.  Or maybe all of these things.  One way or the other, I know I need to get things under control FAST because I feel like garbage.  My days with Dex showed me just how bouncy my numbers have been. 

Time to buckle down and focus on what matters most - not deadlines or scheduling or planning, but getting these numbers back under control.  It all starts here.


Thank you for the update. I love reading about the Dex or any CGMS for that matter.

It's so much more valuable than the info on the mfg sites.

Thank you so much for the great info on the Dex. I've been reluctant to consider getting a CGMS until I know the technology (accuracy) is worth forking over big bucks for. I tested a MiniLink but found it to be rather uncomfortable plus it fell out on day 4 of 7. It's nice to know there is another (perhaps even better!) option out there.

Taking the CGMS plunge, I wish you luck and a fast insurance approval. I also hope you can whip those numbers back into shape, I feel like wonky control is floating around the OC.

Hi, thanks for reading my blog over at Diabetes Daily. I have a new blog that I am starting that is my personal blog, while I will keep the diabetes blog for diabetes related posts. I want to separate some of the personal or emotional things I write about from the diabetes blog, especially since my family reads it and I don’t really want to be more vulnerable than I have to be to their judgments. I will still blog at DD, but please join me at my new blog, Awakening Grace, over at http://www.awakening-grace.com.

I love my Dexcom 7.... and pretty much agree on all your comments. Good luck with the insurance. Mine is still pending and I'm hoping for good news soon!

HA! I've been waiting for you to do this so I can pester you with questions! I too, have been gathering data and literature to make an insurance case for CGMS. I'm not pumping yet, and have been thinking I might like to do the CGMS before the pump.... still not sure.... the technology is maybe still a little too young. Anyway, I'm sure many will be watching your experience closely and waiting for you to post all the juicy details. I guess now that I have my daily "six fix" I'll head home from work. Good Luck!

Ugh, when the numbers go wacky like that it's such a drag. But you are tough and you are going to get those blood sugars behaving and show them who is boss!! Your decision to give the Dexcom another try and now to fight the insurance company for approval for it shows that. Hang in there - you can do it!

Glad to hear you're happy with the Dex!

About that floppy Minimed transmitter - did you use IV3000 tape over the top of your sites? Minimed sends it with my sensors, and it really holds everything in place. Without it I don't think I could get my sensors to last a day!

we had a bad bottle of insulin...it was just "SLOW" and when i tired of fighting it...i tossed it. new bottle is a dream. so many factors!


Are you using the new Dexcom that allows you to key in numbers from any meter. I assume that's the case.

Thanks for reminding me that I never posted any type of review for the latest Dexcom software. It's a big improvement on the old software and provides a lot of very useful statistics.

Good luck on getting the adhesive to stick longer. I generally shower once a day, so I've been able to get 10 days out of a sensor without adhesion problems. I wonder how that will work as we head into summer.

Hope you like the Dex and you are able to get good stretches from each sensor (especially if your insurance balks at coverage). We have found that cutting an IV3000 into strips and putting them around the 4 sides of the Dex sensor's adhesive pad when it starts to loosen helps IMMENSELY in keeping it attached. My daughter tends to be "non-sticky" - pump and CGM sites will fall right off her, even with IV Prep and Skin Tac. I was ready to try duct tape, but IV3000 seems to be working so far. ;) We don't put it on until the edges are starting to peel, 3 or 4 days after insertion. Hoping this helps with swimming season coming up...good luck with the insurance fight!

This is exciting. Best of luck with the insurance battle. They better realize who they're dealing with and give in pretty quick. ;-)

I use the Minilink and I too was troubled by the discordancy between the meter and sensor numbers until my doctor told me that a calibrated sensor is more accurate than a meter. Indeed, if you decide to burn through three test strips you likely get three results and if you use two different test strip batches the results are quite uncomfortably dissimilar -- but they are all within the rather wide tolerance of the apparatus. For me, I have learned to trust the sensor after calibration until it starts to fade at the end of its life. I write to share the liberation I felt when I stopped "chasing the meter."

Maybe it was planetary alignment - I had a rough week battling highs, too.

Ha! 212 is my favorite. Sucker.Why does he always gotta be so angry!

I am just beginning the fight for a DexCom through my insurance company. I did a trial run on both the Minimed and the DexCom and I chose the DexCom hands down. Hey, did you all see the new case for the DexCom receiver? I found it on www.uniquestuffonline.com
It is awesome and you can wear it three different ways. Love it!

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