Thursday, 11 February 2010

In Control

If you have discovered my blog from the article in Abbott's In Control Magazine - Welcome. I hope you enjoy what you see. Please leave me a comment to say hello. Also check out some of the blogs I have listed down the right hand side, mostly American but some really good ones there, especially SixUntilMe.

Friday, 5 February 2010

An up and down month

You'll be wanting an update on my experiences with the Dexcom 7+ CGMS. I can only describe it as a rollercoaster, technologically and emotionally.

In my last post, two days in, I loved it. It was the answer to all my prayers, working perfectly and giving me confidence.

On Day 5, we were going to visit friends (it was 2 days after Christmas Day) and I was happy that I would not be worried about my blood sugars because I could see what they were doing at the touch of a button. Yeah, THAT worked!! On the drive over, the display on the Dex started to show ??? which means that the receiver is not interpreting the results sent by the transmitter. In the manual it said this can sometimes happen and to leave it alone and it will come back.

I had ??? for a total of 10 HOURS!!! It totally ruined my day because my anxiety levels went through the roof. We had a pub lunch, never a good idea for me, and I had to do finger pricks all day as per usual.

I rang the support guys and neither of them could explain it. The Dex came back to life overnight and was fine, but the next morning ??? came back again as soon as I got up. Another disruptive day, more phone calls, still no idea. I left the sensor in but by day 7 it was just silly. I changed it.

I had the same start up problems as the first sensor, with a 10-ish hour delay before it started reading properly, but then it was ok. On Day 7 ??? started again. The adhesive had peeled up and none of the tapes I tried would stick it down.

I have concluded after 3-4 sensors that the problem is that once the adhesive starts to give up, the sensor wire moves about under my skin and cannot get readings. I think it has to stay perfectly still to be able to get an electrical signal from the interstitial fluid. After asking lots of questions on TuDiabetes I got some suggestions for adhesives to use on the skin. However these did not prove easy to find here in the UK. I did manage to find Skin Tac wipes on the internet from a company who appears to sell them for the purpose of sticking false boobs on!! Anyway, those appear to help if I use them on the skin before putting in a new sensor. I also got Tegaderm patches from ebay which I cut a hole in so as not to cover the transmitter, and then put over the whole thing. They are large but mostly invisible and very sticky. And thin so they fit the contours of the skin. My 4th sensor lasted 11 days, which was great.

The 5th sensor which is in at the moment is not so great. I put it in on Sunday so that it would be settled and working well for an overnight trip to London on Wednesday. I used Skin Tac and Tegaderm to secure it so there was no chance of movement. Ok, it didn't move. But its not right either. On Wednesday morning it gave me a reading of 6.5 mmol/l but my meter said 11.9. The trend arrows kept disappearing and the results were all a bit wierd. I was going to an award ceremony and was anxious all night because I didn't feel I could trust the Dex.

It is now Friday morning and I still have the same sensor in as it is working. The readings are about 1-2 mmol/l off constantly but I can live with that until I change it.

When it is working well, I am happy and feel more confident at lowering blood sugars. As soon as it doesn't play fair, my anxiety goes up and my mood crashes.

At the moment I still want it to work for me. I am going to keep using it and see how things go. On December 18th my HbA1c was 10.3, and on January 27th it was 10.2. Hmmm, no big difference but hopefully by the next one in March, I can have improved on that.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Dexcom Day 2

I took these photos this morning in the dark as I was just so gobsmacked!! My bloodsugar had been steady at around 6 to 6.5mmol/l for SIX hours!!! I usually hover around 10-12.

Having the Dex has given me confidence to take correction boluses and get lower bgs - ALREADY!! I am so pleased. When I went to bed my bg was 11 and I didn't correct because I know it usually drops overnight but I didn't know when. Seems it happens around 12am-2am then levels out. I'm not sure if the "dawn phenomenon" I saw yesterday morning was genuine now, it could have been the Dex still settling in, but after tonight I'll have a better picture.

(I won't show you further back because I did have cake yesterday at a leaving do and the graph went way up!! But I corrected and brought it back down.)

So far, I love my new best friend!!!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Teething troubles

Phew what a frustrating evening I had yesterday!

So I inserted the sensor for the Dex at about 4.20pm and left it for the 2 hours specified in the manual. It appeared to be doing what it was supposed to and hopefully the end of the 2 hour warm-up period would coincide with my pre-dinner bg testing so I could calibrate the Dex. Hmmm, good plan but Dexter (as I have now called him - yes he is a man!) had other ideas.

Two hours had passed and dinner was ready. It was 6.45pm and all I had on the screen was "???". I called the support guy at Advanced Therapeutics and he wasn't sure so he called the other support guy then called me back. He said it can take longer than 2 hours in some people (typical that it looks like I am one of them!). So I waited..........

We had already arranged to pop round to see a friend so off we went with me grumbling about my "dud" new machine.

Sitting chatting, at 8.50pm (four and a half hours after sensor insertion!!!) it asked me for 2 calibration bg tests, so I entered them and it registered them and put the value on the screen. "Yippee" I thought, "it works", at which point "???" appeared again. At 10pm it started working again and I got almost a full half hour of readings until - you guessed it - "???".

I went to bed at 11pm with "???" still showing. I woke about 6am and looked at Dexter. He had been working continuously since approx 2 or 3am. And is still going. I'll say that quietly, I don't want to jinx him.

I've put in another bg result to bring him up to speed and hopefully I am now on my way. At least when I change the sensor I'll know that this can happen and will be prepared, rather than having a newbie panic!!

I know it is only one night's readings but it appears that my dawn phenomenon starts at 6am and my bg goes up about 3mmol, then it falls again half an hour later. I'll see what happens tonight.

So as long as Dexter stays on best behaviour I think we will be best friends.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

First sensor is in!!

Well, I'm all plugged in. Just waiting for the 2 hour start up period. My bg is currently 14 so I took a bolus to bring it down for when I calibrate the Dex - don't want the "high bg" alarm (set at 12.2) to go off straight away!!

Its going to be an interesting evening and night, and following few days, wish me luck!!

Starting Dexcom

My Dexcom 7 plus arrived an hour ago and is charging up. I'm going to start using it later today. (I think!)
I'm excited but also nervous. I think the alarms are going to go off a lot, especially the high alert as I have been frightened of hypos for 20 years and always run high. Hope it doesn't drive me bananas.
Never used a CGMS before.
We are going out to visit a friend this evening, I hope I don;t keep beeping and vibrating all evening!! Hahahaha.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Very excited

I ordered my continuous glucose monitor at lunchtime. After a few false starts, and non-returned phonecalls, I have now paid for it and it is hopefully on its way.

I am getting a Dexcom 7 plus.

Things are hopefully really going to change for my diabetes control now. I'll be able to see what my blood sugars are doing without sticking my finger all the time (you still have to do 2 sticks a day to calibrate). Hopefully this will give me much more confidence when I'm out and about.

I'll keep you posted!