It’s been over a month (by a bit) of using the Dexcom G6, and I have second impressions. (First impressions are here.)
It doesn’t hurt to go in. I know I mentioned that the first time around but it’s a really big change from all of the other iterations of the Dexcom CGM product. The updated G6 insertion device is way better than the harpoon thing that the G5 and earlier sensors used. I have G5 sensors in my supply closet that I still need to use up and part of what makes me reluctant to go back is the application device. It’s barbaric by comparison.
And re: the giant insertion device, I am frustrated by how much waste it produces. I’ve taken to using pliers to pull the insertion needle out and then I put the plastic housing into the recycling bin. This may not actually be possible, but I’m still doing it. (And pulling out the needle is oddly calming. I’m here for it.)
Weirdly, though, in the five G6 sensors I’ve applied so far, I’ve bled into every single one. For the first day or two, I end up with blood on the adhesive patch around the transmitter and when I take the transmitter out of the sensor, there’s dried blood caked up on that, too. I’ve gotten very good at cleaning dried blood off the underside of the G6 transmitter, which is weird for me because I didn’t have a tendency to bleed due to a CGM prior to the G6. This is not a game changer for me by any stretch, but it is different from my previous experiences.
The G6 sensor stays stuck well enough and I don’t have any issues with the adhesive (thank God – that was a pain in the ass, dealing with the Dexcom rash for multiple years). I keep the sensor as-is for a few days and then around the five or six day mark I have to add a StayPut patch to the set up in order to make it the full 10 days of wear. I’ve tried the overlay tape that Dexcom makes (they sent me a few when I had to call in about a sensor weeping off my skin) and while it’s good, it’s not great. It buckled for me after two days and two showers. The StayPut tape, or Opsite Flexifix, is my preference at the moment.
I did have another sensor leap off my body after only a day, though. That happened earlier this week, and it was the result of my son gently brushing against the transmitter. (Seriously. He barely grazed the thing.) It seems like the transmitter is secured to the adhesive tape in a different way than the G5 and from my experiences, it’s not as strong a bond. It comes off too easily.
I gave up on this, and my skin is the main reason why. Even though I don’t seem to have an allergic reaction to the Dexcom adhesive anymore, my skin does get scaly, itchy, and entirely compromised from frequent use of overlay tapes, etc. Getting 10 days out of the sensor is average for me with the previous iterations of Dexcom, so “only 10 days” now doesn’t matter, because if I go longer than that, I get a welty rash. Breaking the transmitter out of the sensor housing and having to tape it down in order to restart is a no-go for me because my body won’t accept use of that much tape. So I’m done trying to restart it.
On the whole, the G6 seems accurate. And here’s where I can’t pretend to check the accuracy with any regularity because I am LOVING NOT PRICKING MY DAMN FINGER. Even though I didn’t do much finger pricking with the G5 (calibrating as needed), I always dragged my meter everywhere with me. I don’t do that anymore. The results from the G6 feel accurate (it says I’m low, I feel low, and a few times I’ve cross-checked my BG to confirm the low) and they also are close to what I’m seeing on my meter, in the times when I’m on the ball with double-checking. There was one time when the G6 said I was 200 mg/dL and my meter said I was 250 mg/dL and then 264 mg/dL, and that wasn’t nice. But it was the exception, not the rule, from what I’ve seen. These results are consistent with my 10+ years of experience with Dexcom, as well, because my CGM numbers have historically been in line with my glucose meter results.
I also really like the predictive low blood sugar thing that pops up. When my blood sugar is tumbling and the Dexcom knows “an urgent low” is imminent, an alarm goes off for that. I really like that because not only am I able to head off a low that’s coming on too quickly, but I can see if it’s predicted to be a Nasty Low. This means I can treat the hypo with a little more precision, which I appreciate.
This non-scientist thinks the G6 is accurate. And I will also never, ever have to order lancets again because I have a box of 200 in my supply closet and that will last me the next 21,432 years. (<– not true. Change your lancet. Don’t be a grost post.)
My insurance covers my CGM after I meet my deductible, so I haven’t perceived a cost change yet. I also am not able to really extend the life of my G5 sensors, so my cost remains similar there, too. If Dexcom replaces the sensors that get wonky with their stickiness, that’ll make cost less of an issue, too. (But everyone’s experiences/insurances are different so don’t let my personal take on this deter or inspire you. I remain thankful for good insurance.)
The updated Dexcom Clarity app is nice, and I’m paying more attention to it these days as I’m tuned into the G6 and also working on some blood sugar goals. At the moment, I like getting the emails and notifications from Clarity that my BGs have been in range for 87% or the time, or if that range goes down, the app emails me and tells me that my time in range has decreased. While A1C has been the standard of care for many of my decades with diabetes, the whole “time in range” thing is WAY more useful for me. I don’t want my standard of care to potentially be an average of shitty highs and crummy lows. I want my blood sugar to have smaller bounces between a tighter range. Clarity is helping raise awareness of my time in range and inspiring me to raise that “in the green” percentage.
VISITING THE RECEIVER.
I don’t use it. I only use the iPhone app. I’m sorry; I’m lazy.
It feels smaller. Because it is smaller. I wear my sensors on my thigh, so it’s not a high traffic area (unlike my abdomen, which is under constant assault by my waistband, my children, and the hula hoop I bring everywhere with me and shimmy around in <– also a lie), but for the most part, the sensor feels more discreet than any previous version. I like how low the profile is. And the new shape kind of reminds me of a comma, so I feel like I’m confidently , all the time.
As I mentioned earlier, I have G5 sensors to use up and I will use them up because PWD don’t squander no sensors. But I’m honestly not looking forward to it, because I feel like I’m in a groove with my G6. I dig it. It fits into my world in a way that doesn’t feel cumbersome or intrusive.
And if you missed the Like a G6 parody, NO YOU DIDN’T IT’S RIGHT HERE.