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Dexcom Discard.

Holy December - I can't believe it's the end of the year already!  Holiday chaos reigns supreme, starting with this past weekend's Thanksgiving holiday and stemming straight into New Year's.  Since I've been wearing the Dexcom pretty regularly (approximately five or six days in a row, then a day or two off), I realized how awesome it is to have that little thing attached during holidays like Thanksgiving. 

I slapped on the new sensor last week and it stayed pretty solid until last night, when the adhesive was peeling too much for me to handle.  (It gets itchy once it starts to peel, and that makes me craaaazy.)  

Dexcom sensor before I pulled it off.  All tattered.

This is the sensor after six days of changing clothes, working out, spending hours in the car, wool sweaters, multiple showers, and the general wear and tear that I put my body through in the course of a week.  The sensor is still attached, but the gauze around it isn't in good shape.  So I decided to pull the site and reapply it this afternoon.  Dexcom discard.  I'm freewheeling without the Dexcom at the moment.

The graphic on the Dexcom receiver that indicates ending a sensor run makes me laugh every time.  The little guy tosses off his sensor with reckless abandon into the garbage can.  Then it asks me, "Okay?"  Okay, let's throw the whole thing out.  (Note:  You don't throw the whole thing out.  You remove the EXPENSIVE transmitter first, then throw out the sensor housing.)

Bye bye, Dexcom sensor!

This past sensor was a bit of a needy one - it didn't want me to shower, apparently, because it kept throwing the "???" at me (meaning it's "confused" and needs a few minutes to catch up) every time I was in the shower.  It also wasn't as tolerant as usual when it came to distance, so instead of keeping it on my bedside table or on the back of the headboard, I had to tuck it under my pillow.   Maybe wearing the site on my lower back instead of my arm caused the difference in transmission - I'll have to see if it happens next time.

Watching my numbers closely for the holiday really helped out a lot.  I saw that a glass of white wine on an empty stomach actually made my blood sugar spike almost instantly.  I also saw that lemon meringue pie (de-li-cious) didn't do much after 15 minutes, but the 40 minute mark showed a real intense spike.  Insulin?  Yeah, it takes at least 35 minutes to impact my blood sugars, but knowing that made me more precise in when I bolused.  The result?  Elevated blood sugars during Thanksgiving (avg. about 195 mg/dl) but I didn't hit the wicked highs, and once I was high, I wasn't stuck there for hours.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I'm thankful to have another effective tool in dealing with diabetes.  Now it's time to get to the damn gym and work off that pie. 


so jealous. My blood sugars we double O C! (that's Out Of Control in my Ninja world)

Glad you had a good holiday.

This was especially helpful since I've been wearing mine just over 2 weeks now. Several questions/comments:
-why only 5-6 days?
-so glad to hear you get itchy too, mine is unbelieveable (I mean sorry you itch, but glad it's not just me!)
-I can't believe how AMAZING yours looks after 6 days, I wish I could post a pic here to show you mine, it's literally hanging on by almost only the wire itself, and now some random tape around it. It's a HUGE mess, what do you use to keep it there? I used a sample of Skintac (but it was it's 2nd useage).
-I hate those ??? I want to say, "yea, me too, so work won't you?"
-In just over 2 weeks I've had 2 sensors stop working short "??? X" and several WAY off numbers- like it's buzzing below 55 when I'm 298. I keep reminding myself Learning Curve.
-I'd love to know how long it takes for my insulin to kick in. Not there yet.

This was my first Thanksgiving with my CGMS (Medtronic user - not trying to start a diabetic holy war) and I have to say, it was AMAZING. I had two turkey days of binging on food (my family and my wife's family) and the BG's were overall really good. I knew where I was going into the meal, could bolus accordingly, and after the meal, I could watch my BG like a hawk.

The only downside was it made me a little overconfident, at my wife's T-day, I was 115 30-min post meal and dropping (wasn't shaky, but didn't want to get there) so I ate a piece of cake (yes, frosting and all). The alarm was going off 20 min later that I was 220. Ended up at 270 before coming down a couple hours later. Having the CGMS also made the return to sane BG levels nice. Had a "soft landing" at 140 without going low.
It's a nice technology, now if only there is a way to get rid of the 20 min delay in BG readings....

I don't know whether or not you want to approve people from outside the US commenting here Kerri; I have been reading some of your blogs for a while now; it can be interesting and sometimes enlightening; anyway I'm from southern Australia.

I wanted to ask was there any significant reason why you chose the Dexcom 7 CGM over say the Abbots Navigator or Medtronic paradigm system, I see that you are using the Medtronic pump. The Medtronic Tx is more compact and integral with the pump, from what papers I have read the Navigator is however the most accurate CGM system especially in the hypo region.

I know that the Dexcom can be used for around 10 days if it stays on that long and the Medtronic CGM is only approved for 3 days but can be used for 6 days or so. Both the Dexcom and the Navigator are not yet available in Australia, but are expected here next year; the Medtronic CGM is available but very costly. I tried the Medtronic CGM via the local diabetic clinic and my DE 6 months ago, but havn’t used it since, obviously due to the ongoing cost that would be reqd. It costs about $725 for a pack of 10 sensors, and the transmitter is approx $1250.

I would really like to use the CGM; I did put a submission into my health insurance company some months ago, but have had no support so far. As far as I know it’s going to be a long time before insurance companies and the government acknowledges the potential benefits of the system as a preventative measure and provide funding for it.

The real benefits I think are going to be over the next few years, I understand Medtronic is going to release a first generation partial closed loop pump in 2009, (albeit probably very limited functionality) and following that up over the next few years with the 5th generation sensor and a new generation pump. Always seems to me everything is go’in to happen but never actually gets here, but at least some progress is being made.

Anyway it would be useful if you can provide me with any feedback on the Dexcom CGM.


There must be something in the air! I've also had the same problems with my last sensor. For one, I had the sensor on my left flank (almost exactly where you have it), and when it was in my right pocket it would give me the dreaded "Y" (which I always found awkward...Y usually means yes which means good, not "why won't you freakin' register, you're 18 inches away). When in my left pocket it worked, but not without almost constant "???"'s and waaaaay off numbers. This lasted for about three days before I called Dexcom and they promptly agreed to send me out a new sensor. Sounds like similar issues. I wonder if Christmas Spirit interferes with the Dexcom frequency?

Hi Kerri,
I have been wearing the Dexcom since it came out & can tell you that the adhesive for the sensors wears down by day 6 or 7 for most people. There are 2 ways around it: shower much less frequently (obviously not the best option) or use something to prevent water exposure to the adhesive.

Dexcom's previous system's (STS) sensors were not waterproof and so they came with these little oval patches called shower covers. Its basically a plastic oval-shaped film with super-strength adhesive around the perimeter that you place over the sensor. It keeps it completely watertight and you can then wear the sensor for as many days as you like (I usually get 14 out of mine). Occasionally you have to change the shower cover but its not that big of an issue. Look for them on Dexcom's website under the STS system. I have rarely worn a sensor without one since I discovered the problem with the adhesive breakdown.

Feel free to email me if you have other questions. I have a ton of tips for Dexcom users. And based on your bio - it did get me through a pregnancy with an A1c consistently

Hello, I've got a question as to how good are the readings all of you are getting off your Dexcom 7? I've had mine for about three days now and hae had it off by up to 81 points from my glucose meter. Any suggestions on how to get better readings from the Dexcom 7?

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