Thursday, August 23, 2007

Minimed CGM Update: I've Got a Secret

So summer has been busy and posting fell way off my radar, but I do have a few things to share. First, the CGM makes my life much easier, however it also can drive me nuts. Sometimes I wish I could go back to ignoring my diabetes; "feeling" my way through. I knew I wasn't high and I knew I wasn't low, but I tended to hang in the 150-220 range and that isn't good for anyone all the time.

So here I am, enlightened and technologically hooked up.

For the second time, I tried to insert the Minimed sensor in my upper rear; I love it (day one). It wasn't uncomfortable when I slept, but I was extra cautious when I turned over last night. I really don't prefer to do infusion sets there either, I am a stomach inserter. My daughter is a butt cheek inserter and to show her that the sensor didn't hurt, I had to do it myself.

I have to say, that reaching around to hold the sensor in place with two hands was challenging, but I managed. Next time, I will get my husband to help. The first time I tried to do the sensor in my rear, it went poorly. I did it too high on my hip and it hurt, a lot, so I pulled it out. $35 down the toilet.

So now for my not so secret, secret: I now insert the sensor at night, attach the Minilink transmitter and go to bed. I do not turn it on; I just let it be until morning. When I wake up and my blood sugars are stable, I start the new sensor and within seconds, I get the BG Meter Now calibration request. This lets me skip the first two hour calibration and that is a life/schedule saver for me.

One of the biggest irritations for me is the constant alarms over something or other (which is because the CGM is doing its job), but the calibration alarms have always felt inconvenient. Before, when I would decide to put the sensor on, I would have to think hard about where I was going to be when the first two hour calibration would be required. Usually, I would be in a meeting. Being beeped at, while talking business, then stopping to either snooze the blessed alarm or calibrate, drove me nuts. That is fixed with the evening insertion.

I still have to contend with the six hour calibration, but that is mostly no big deal.

Accuracy is mostly good; within 10mg/dl. I've contended with a few situations that threw me for a loop, but this thing isn't perfect.

Oh! One shocker. My A1C did not come down. It was the same as last time. I have not been vigilantly tweaking my numbers, I have just been preventing lows and highs. After all, I spend most my diabetes vigilance managing my kids diabetes and tend to just ride mine out, but I was shocked that it wasn't lower. I have read all over the place that the CGM isn't necessarily going to lower A1C's, but for me it has reduced the serious fluctuations in sugars. Rather than being high then low, I am more in the middle. I tightened my High alarm from 275 (yes, silly me) to 200. That should help.

I also decided to give Symlin a try again. Haven' t ordered it yet, but will post when I do. I have been gaining weight and increasing my insulin rates with no changes in my diet. I guess age and insulin resistance is the culprit. Not pleased about either, but at least there are options to help with both!


Chrissie in Belgium said...

Wendy, I always read your blog, but we have been in Sweden for SO long! You don't know how lucky you are to live in the States! CGMS are really hard to come by in Europe - sigh! Or Belgium at least. I am going to tell a woman who has a 2 year old T1 about your blog. Ii met her and her husband and their child this weekend. I will be asking her if she will let me put a pic of Rohan - he is so cute- on my blog. Like me, she was born in the US, married to a Swede AND lives in Belgium! She has her child in a day care center so maybe she will comment on your next entry too!

Anonymous said...

I recently got the minimed 772 pump and CGM. Having been on needles for 6 years, I started sweating when I had to insert the pump infusion set. But I literally thought it was a joke when I had to put the CGM set in... this needle is huge!!!!!! it's almost an inch long and about as fat as you can imagine. When I first put it in I hit a vein and blood was everywhere, I literally thought I was going to have a heart attack. I wanted to try it once in my life so I didnt let it stop me, I said I don't care if I have to cut a pound of flesh out of my stomach I'm going to try this at least once. The contraption they give you to insert the thing is also ridiculous. i would give the pump 7.5/10 and the CGM 4/10.

Wendy Morgan said...

I have had those gushers and you know that, they usually last me the longest and give me the most accurate readings. You didn't hit a vein, but sometimes you hit a capillary that gushes like Yellow Stone geysers.

I always have gauze on hand and if you just hold it for several minutes, it will stop. Then hook up the transmitter.

I hear Minimed is working on smaller sensor needles and some other cool new technology to work with the CGM, so don't give up hope. It really is helping me better manage my diabetes (life).

Unknown said...

If you have problems with "gushers" or bleeding at the site of sensor insertion I recommend 2-min of ice at the location you plan to insert the sensor. Ice is a vasoconstrictor (so is pressure) and will shrink the cappilaries in the skin. Be sure to dry off the skin after the ice, alcohol or a chlorhexadine/alcohol wipe will get any moisture to evaporate off the skin and clense prior to insertion. I find that works well for me. I don't like wasting $>35 for a sensor.
Dr. R