Welcome back to the long overdue Part #2 of our Dexcom trial. Because, life. Somehow it seems to keep getting in the way of the things I want to do.  After being apart now from this sweet little sensor for 2 weeks, and after negotiating an adult grazing-style afternoon party with confusing carb-unknown food where Lauren kept wandering away out of reach through throngs of people, the pros of a sensor are a no-brainer. I want to see her numbers. I didn’t relax at this party. I had a glimpse, for a week, of what relaxing used to feel like.

CONS:

  • It’s over. I miss it. I want it back.
  • Info every 5 minutes –  it can be a distraction having the trace to watch all the time on the receiver. SO much information, on SUCH a pretty screen (in colour). I handed it over to the teacher after the second day so Lauren could go back to listening in class.
  • Lauren not feeling hypos because of becoming more relaxed (but this is also a pro, emotionally).
  • The receiver not being waterproof. Because kids are kids, and receivers can be slippery little suckers. There is a case with a clip, which I made sure was clipped on to everything Lauren wore after the ‘toilet incident’.
  • The cost. No sugar-coating this one. It’s not covered by Private Health Insurance, not on the PBS, and not subsidised in any way. Despite much campaigning, it’s still a cost to be 100% borne by the patient.

PROS:

  • Peace of mind, for Lauren and for us as parents in the night. Low alarms to wake us, low alarms to stop her hyper-vigilance about feeling her symptoms at school. The closest I can compare this sense of relative ‘ease’ I feel with the CGM is to having a kid without diabetes. I honestly didn’t realise I’d feel so different. Now it’s gone, the old me is back. The TENSE one.
  • It’s small, and stuck on for 10 days with the help of some Op site tape. The inserter looks scary, but after removal we saw how fine the sensor needle is. Lauren said it feels better than a site change for her pump.
Can you see the teeny weeny needle? Just.

Can you see the teeny weeny needle? Just.

 

  • Glucose level delivered every 5 minutes or so which is great when Lauren is playing sport. We stood on the side of the netball court and instead of wondering about her level, we could see she was spiking high, quickly. We corrected her during the game. No wonder she often feels terrible after netball with a bad headache.
  • Her teacher loves it. She stopped many school hypos by using the downward arrows as advance warning, and giving a snack and bolus before Lauren went low.
  • Having a separate receiver with a colour screen. You can leave it in another room if you’re sick of all the information, or keep it on the desk in plain sight of the arrows instead of fumbling for your pump. At night, we kept the receiver outside the bedroom so we could see what was happening while Lauren slept.
  • Lauren being relaxed enough at school about her diabetes to not feel some hypos, but knowing the alarm will pick them up anyway. Lows were alerted when Lauren didn’t feel them. I REALLY loved the low alarms in the middle of the night.
  • We found it to be very accurate, often within 0.3 points of her finger prick readings.

I love the Dexcom. We started this just to see what a sensor could tell us about Lauren’s levels and how a CGM works – and now I’m feeling lost without it. Obviously the cost means nobody would be taking this decision lightly – but to feel safer, and for greater peace of mind? I don’t really mind how much I have to work to pay for this little device. It won’t be for everyone, but it looks like a good option for us.

I’m the kind of person who needs to know what everyone else is ordering before I can choose my entree and main, and somehow manage to turn restaurants into cellar doors, usually tasting a couple of different wines before I settle on a bottle. Indecisive or thorough? Either way, it’s a big commitment, and will ultimately be Lauren’s choice. We’re giving the Medtronic sensor a try next week, because we need to know all there is to know before we decide. I’ll keep you posted!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on CGM sensors and pros/cons, and how useful they are for you.