Monday, March 31, 2014

Dexcom G4 CGM for Type 1 Diabetes Review

I love the Dexcom G4 CGM! But I also am not the one with type 1 diabetes, or the one wearing it. It's my 9 year old daughter who is testing it and we've had some not so great moments with it. But the pros are outweighing the cons.

My daughters Dexcom is pink.

Madison was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago with type 1 diabetes. Within 8 weeks we had her on an insulin pump, which made our lives easier (not great, but easier), with managing her type 1 diabetes. Last summer, I started to suggest that she try a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). She wasn't excited for several reasons:
  1. It's another attachment. My daughter is an insulin pump user, which requires an inset to be attached to her body so insulin can flow from the insulin pump into her body. The CGM sensor attaches to your body and then wirelessly sends your blood sugar readings to a device that interprets and shows them in graph format.
  2. With the Dexcom G4 CGM, you have another device to be responsible for. And they are pretty pricey to replace!
The reason I was pushing her to try it was because she started to experience loss of hypoglycemia sensitivity. She wasn't feeling her lows. A month ago, after having quite a few blood sugar lows of 60 and then one at 41 where she didn't feel the lows very well, she decided to give the Dexcom G4 Pediatric CGM a try.

Why we chose Dexcom G4 CGM:
I chose the Dexcom because it was a smaller and a less bulky attachment compared to the Medtronic CGM. It also had a separate receiver, allowing my husband and I to quickly see Madison's blood sugar readings. And from the reviews I had read, it was more accurate.

It arrived in three boxes. One box was the receiver. Another was the transmitter. And the third was four sensors.

Our positive and not so positive experience the first week:
  • The CGM sensor/transmitter attachment was a lot bigger and bulkier on my daughter than it was on the adult we saw it on. 
  • Having another attachment really was a downer for my daughter and I. She already had her insulin inset attached to her. This one took up so much space on her belly and made me sad that her baby skin was being pricked again.
  • First day blood sugar readings weren't accurate at all. I learned why. The CGM is reading bodily fluids and not blood sugar. As such, we have to teach it that what it reads for a bodily fluid number equals the blood sugar reading. It really is cool. In fact, on day two, the results were amazingly accurate and have been since.
  • On day two, my daughters sensor came off. We had it attached to an area just above her butt. It wasn't the best location, because I had attached it right where the top of her pants was. When she went to the bathroom, her pants got hooked on the sensor and ripped half of it off. The company replaced the sensor for us, which we were so happy about!
  • The 2nd sensor lasted us seven days! I loved it! But my daughter didn't.
    • First, why I loved it. It gave me accurate readings of her blood sugar, allowing me to prepare for her highs and lows. It also allowed us to not prick her fingers so much.
    • She loved the fact that it gave her more accurate blood sugar readings, but hated that she had another attachment. The spot on her belly bothered her. It got in the way when she was sitting and felt awkward. We also had to put another piece of adhesive on it to make sure it didn't come off this time. She said it really itched. When we took off the CGM sensor on day seven, she had a rash that looked like it was irritated.
  • It ended without allowing a grace period. I was so pissed! So, on day seven, the CGM sensor had reached it's life at 8:15 am - 45 minutes before we had to head to an all day fastpitch tournament. Later, I found out that it does give you an advance warning, which must have happened when we were all sleeping. Going back to 8:15 am.  I heard this beep coming from the CGM and then saw an image that looked like a red light / stop light. I pressed the button and it turned off. I was so pissed. We were heading out of the house to a softball tournament and the stupid thing ended. I called Dexcom. 45 minutes later they called me back. By that time, I had already changed my daughters sensor. Not without tears though. She shed a few tears because she needs a little more time than a few minutes to plan for stuff like this. She hates needles. She hates doing this. And removing the sensor attachment and putting another one one just wasn't something she was excited to do. But she did it at 8:55 am. Then we had to wait two hours before we got a blood sugar reading. Timing sucked. Exactly when her game started, the CGM receiver beeped asking us to enter two blood sugar readings. Thank heavens she was 5th at bat. We hurried and pricked her finger twice and then entered the blood sugar readings. From that moment on, the CGM was such a benefit. It gave us the most accurate blood sugar readings and we didn't have to prick her fingers during the tournament, except for lunch.
So, we are still in the testing period. As a mom, I love it because I don't have to prick her fingers as much and when she is running around, I get a quick snapshot if her blood sugar is starting to go down. But as a mom, I also hate it, because it covers a large part of her belly and she has to lug around a device so she can get a glimpse of her blood sugar results. She said this sensor attachment doesn't bother her as much. We put it higher so it doesn't interfere with her insulin pump fanny pack type bag. She also likes knowing her blood sugar more often.

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