Today I inserted my sweet girl's third Dexcom sensor. So we have had 2 full weeks working with her new (and first) CGM system. The verdict? We love, Love, LOVE it. Why in the world are these things not included in the "your child has diabetes...here are the supplies you need" motherload received when children/families leave the hospital after diagnosis? It is SO (repeat SO, SO) helpful to be able to see where she has been and where she is going. I feel like her a1c has surely improved just in these 2 weeks...and we have had some highs (another issue to be mentioned shortly) but correcting is so much easier when it is definitely noticed faster than waiting for the "I don't feel good" that I used to hear a couple hours after she ate or being able to realize that a pump infusion set surely has gone bad when she is not responding to the insulin that I "gave" her. And catching and treating lows is even better. To see 5 minutes later or 10 minutes later that she is no longer dropping...to be able to catch the low before she GETS low in the first place is FANTASTIC.
So...my take on how easy it is to use, etc..: Well, there is no "training session" as there was with her pump. We received her Dexcom on our doorstep via FedEx on New Year's Eve...coincidentally her one year diabetes-iversary...quite a gift:)...and got it out of the box...found the "tutorial CD" to insert in the computer and got started. We watched the CD completely through, then re-watched the insertion steps as I inserted her first sensor. Very good tutorial and we had no trouble following the instructions. The only issue I had was not knowing how hard to push on the transmitter when attaching it to the sensor. Have to be a little more firm with it than I would think and it is hard trying to do this on a 7-year-old's belly when I don't know how it is supposed to feel yet and I don't want to hurt her and she's a bit nervous about the unfamiliar procedure...and (unbeknownst to her) so am I. But we managed. I think it would be easier and no problem for an adult doing this on themselves for the first time. It really is THAT easy. And...the trick that I learned (thanks to my husband's suggestion after he watched me do the insertion) is for me to stand behind her and insert as I am looking down over her shoulder as someone inserting into their own belly would do. It is much less awkward that way. Also...have been doing some reading of others who use the system and they say that they get the best sensor readings on the back of their arm. The tutorial says to only insert on the abdomen. SO...will do more research to figure out what is up with that. Real estate on the abdomen is going to get hard-to-come-by between a sensor every week and pump site changes every 3 days.
So..the aforementioned highs...she was diagnosed as having hypothyroidism after the blood work done at her check-up at the end of December. Whatever attacked her beta cells in her pancreas is now going after her thyroid. Nice, right? Not. So, she has started taking thyroid hormone via a pill each morning. I have read and her doctor told me that having hypothyroidism can make blood sugars hard to control. Well, yeah, we have experienced that. And the too-often-stated "I don't feel good" that has left me wondering how in the world am I ever going to send this child to school...maybe I can attribute some of that to a dying thyroid and hope that her new meds will improve how she feels on a daily basis. BUT...a few days after starting the med (levo-thyroxine) we had some wacky highs. WACKY. I mean so bad that I changed out her infusion set a day early thinking it must be that...surely she was not getting any insulin. But it didn't help. So I changed basal rates a pretty good bit and that helped. A lot. So....she needs more insulin while on this med? I don't really understand it, but if it works, I don't guess I have to. Besides, who REALLY understands diabetes? There really is no rhyme or reason to some of the numbers that show up on that meter or CGM receiver. Just have to take the number and use it to get her where she needs to be.