Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I wanted to share that I'm currently wearing and using the DexCom system. For those who don't know, it's a sensor that "reads" my interstitial body fluid and transmits a reading to a receiver. Basically, I can see what my blood sugar is doing, every 5 minutes if I want... Today, my first day on it, I've been checking it A LOT to see how my blood sugar is behaving (or should I say, misbehaving) and it's truly amazing to be able to check my readings at any given moment by just pressing a button. Technology is awesome :).

I probably would have never tried this if it hadn't been for a surprise call from B., who is a CDE/nurse practitioner at a Diabetes practice in my old town. Now, normally I do not use this practice, but they were the ones who offered to help me when I wanted to try CGMS. At that time, the doctor and practice I usually see couldn't offer me use of the system, mainly due to insurance issues. So I was left to me own devices, and on a suggestion from a rep from my health insurance, I found B and the practice she currently works at. And I very much lucked out.

Anyway, B. called me and informed me that they were going to participate in a "field trial" with DexCom and she wanted to see if I had any interest in trying it out. According to B., I would be able to try out this system for a week, for free, and at the end of the week, I would meet up with B. and the DexCom rep and download the readings. Also, I would then be given the opportunity to purchase the system at a discounted price. I thought, what do I have to lose? It could be a great experience & it could be a great experience, so I agreed.

Today, I went in for the training and informational session & got hooked up! I was a little nervous when the rep was going over how to use it, but I guess that's a normal reaction when learning anything new. It feels a bit like information overload. But as the session continued, I was getting more and more comfortable & it seemed pretty straight forward and, relatively easy to use. The rep was very nice and took the time to go over everything and answer questions, which helped a lot. And I knew, once I was up and running, I wouldn't have any trouble with knowing what to do...

At the end of the instructional session, we were taken back to actually be put on the sensor- the fun part. Now, even though I have been injecting myself and using insertion sets and devices for over 4 years, I still am not comfortable with anything regarding needles. And the way the rep described the insertion of the sensor frightened me, quite frankly. So of course I was hesitant to try this out!

I watched as B. helped one of the other trial participants insert hers. To see how this patient reacted didn't help matters- she said "ow" more than a couple times... Looking back, I probably shouldn't have watched, but of course, at the same time, it's hard not to. Before long, it was my turn. I knew that I had to put on a brave face and just do it, but I was really not feeling all the brave and I guess I didn't look it either. The other woman was like, "hon, it's not that bad" , & "it doesn't really hurt". Okay, if that's the case, then why did you say "ow"?

I didn't realize that I looked pretty nervous until B. stated that I was really shaking... which was something else I wasn't fully aware of. I then realized that I was shaking quite a lot. Having to inject something under your skin doesn't stir up a good emotional response from me & then having all eyes on me while I do this, made me even more anxious. Finally, I knew there was no avoiding it, I just went for it. And I was really surprised- it didn't really hurt at all- much less than my insertion sets, in fact. What a HUGE relief :).

From there, things wrapped up and we all went on our way to try this new system out on our own. Despite how excited and amazed I am at seeing and knowing what my blood sugar is at any given moment, I have been a little frustrated. The readings I have received on my meter and the readings collected from this sensor haven't been all that close... Both things have a 20% +/- degree of error so if my reading on my meter is 20 % lower than my actual reading & my sensor reading is 20 % higher, this can make a huge difference! And I've been seeing a lot of differences, to my dismay.

Today, at work, I experienced a situation where my two reading weren't matching... my blood sugars were reading in the high 200s/low 300s on the sensor, but somehow that didn't seem right. For one, I wasn't feeling as if I was high, so I opted to test my sugar with my meter. My meter rang in at 116- which definitely is a large drop from what I was seeing on the receiver. As instructed, I plugged in my meter to my sensor, to see if that would help readjust the readings taken in by the sensor, and soon things were closer in range. However, the difference between the two have continued on as the day has gone by.

I know this has the possibility of driving me crazy, b/c, yes, I do want every reading to match. However, I know that this is, most likely, not going to happen with this system and I shouldn't expect that. It may help to identify highs and lows, but the main purpose of DexCom is to identify trends in my blood sugar or patterns. And, as a whole, that's probably more important.
I'm sure this could very well try my patience, but I think if it shows me things that I don't know about and helps me with adjusting my regimen to improve my control, it will definitely be worth using.

I think it's a very cool system and, yes, I probably would purchase it if money wasn't an issue. But considering my financial status right now, I can't afford the cost of the sensors, replacing the transmitter or receiver, and any other costs involved, unfortunately. It's going to be another test for my patience, because I am going to have to wait until insurance provides coverage, which according to the rep shouldn't be too long from now. So as much as it will pain me to give it up, I'm going to have to think of my bank account and be strong...


Blogger julia said...

The people at Joslin are telling me a year for insurance coverage. So don't get too excited yet. But how cool that you can do this trial!! Did you read Wil's blog about the guardian (I think that's what it was?) And someone else has a blog about their experiences with the DexCom, too. Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Low.

I do know of one woman who took her son off the DexCom because of wild variables like you're describing. So obviously it doesn't work for everyone. Don't give up too quickly, though. Contact the company about it - sometimes these machines just don't work right, for whatever reason.

9:04 PM  

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