(First of all, shout out to the Dexcom employee who is currently reading this. HI!).
So I’ve been using my continuous glucose monitor for about a year now. In fact, just four days short of a year. Well, that’s kind of a lie. Because, see, I have not actually used the thing for the last couple months. I actually had a few reasons for this, as follows:
1. When I first got to Utah, I was spending a lot of time on a hiking trail giving tours. It was hot. I was sweaty. Sweaty Sarah significantly shortens sensor life. (Say that five times fast).
2. I had a bad batch of sensors right when I came out here. One didn’t work from the start and one ???’d on day 3. Dexcom shipped me a replacement for the former, but, even though I gave the guy my new address, they shipped it to my parent’s house.
3. Something was up with my payment. The credit card I usually use wasn’t working. My parents are trying to get out of debt, so this didn’t surprise me. And because of how expensive the darn things are, even with insurance, I felt bad about asking my parents for money for them when I owe them money. Besides, my dad’s opinion of continuous glucose monitoring is “it’s just another piece of technology that is going to fail.” Well, not quite, he kind of understands, but that was a line he fed me during a heated debate with my two younger brothers present, and now they quote it every time I am having issues with my pump or cgm.
4. I am beginning to detest the scarring that happens when I wear the sensors. After seven days, not only is the insertion site scarred but all the tissue around it is red and puffy and leaves scars. I have enough issues with scar tissue as it is, and after ten months of straight sensor usage I was pretty fed up with the way my stomach was looking. Not only that, but my abdomen is still the best place for infusion sites. Lower back, rear, thighs, and arms work sometimes but usually cause absorption problems. Arms are the best alternate site, but sometimes I do have problems with them. The sensors work OK on my arms but I usually wind up bumping them. Any other site for sensors doesn’t work very well. The sensors are too big and just don’t sit right on my skin. So upper abdomen real estate is highly coveted. Finally I just gave up.
But now I’ve been having this little issue. It doesn’t matter what my sugar is when I go to bed. It could be 300, 150, or 80. When I wake up, I’m somewhere between 200 and 300. It’s been constant for weeks no matter what I do. Which brings me to my first conclusion: I’m dealing with Dawn Phenomenon here, something I thought I had taken care of (cue background music and accent a la The Godfather). Sometime between 1am and 7am, my blood sugar is making a huge jump. Maybe it’s antsy. Maybe it is getting pushed by it’s little brother. Maybe it wants me to wake up and play (Hi Mommy!). But I need to figure it out, Stat, because already I am not a morning person and waking up with a 250 blood sugar only does bad things to my mood. I call it “Morning Grrrr Syndrome.”
I have a beef with overnight basal testing for lots of reasons. One, Sleepy Sarah (more alliteration, did you like that?) can’t seem to actually wake up and test, she just turns off the alarm and goes back to sleep. Two, I don’t think waking yourself up every hour or two gives an accurate picture of the way your blood sugar functions when you get a solid 8 hours of sleep and actually experience sleep cycles. But I’m not a scientist or a doctor, so that’s just my opinion. I just don’t like it.
This brings me to my second conclusion: Needz Dexcomz Again (in LolSpeak). I at least need to wear the thing for a few days to figure out what’s going on in the mornings. My blood sugar was always much better when I wore it, which means I probably need to wear it all the time. I should probably place my November order. And also my December order. I mean, I only have two months left before I have to re-deductible it up. Which means 3 months of paying full price for the darned things.
I guess I can’t wait until CGMS technology becomes cheaper and less invasive. It will make every single diabetic’s life a whole lot easier. CGM already does, but it would be nice if the small bugs could be worked out.