Friday, 24 January 2014

CGM: Clinging on

At £50 a pop (for a week's use sensor) Continuous Glucose Monitoring is an expensive habit.  But being one which improves my control, gives me a Safetynet to tell me when my sugars are dropping, rising or stable, and moreover gives me a sense of empowerment and superwoman-style 'I have the power' confidence, I have deemed it worth it.  

So the last thing you might want to do with a brand new sensor is have a vigorous shower (?) and knock the sensor.  Why might you not want to do this?  Well, my (apparently very) aggressive showering style meant that on day 2 (F*$@!) of my new sensor life, I found myself facing a rather disabled looking sensor.  Hanging by a thread and only still clinging on for dear life by a small section of tape and the sensor itself, the days appeared numbered.

In the hope I might be able to squeeze even one week out of this one, accepting that I might have to deal with my first less-than-seven-day sensor in a year of CGMing, reminding myself of all the 20-something dayers, I slapped on a Kinesiotape in my very best patch-up attempt

But much to my joy and delight, with a further layer of Tegaderm to keep out the damp and add another layer of sticky, this little bad boy has made 9 days and is still going strong!  Dexcom sensors never fail to impress me; with its accuracy; with its bomb-proofness (bom-proofability?!); with its robustness.  And this one has failed me not.

I'm not sure how much longer I will be able to squeeze out of this one but here's hoping!



  1. Have you done a post on 'how to keep it stuck'? I have just got mine, and got some me fix on the recommendation of the provider, but the me fix isn't working that well - it peels off the plastery bit of the sensor - almost like you can't have 2 layers of tape on each other, however the sensor is still looking pretty well stuck as I start my 2 week….I have been really careful and it hasn't got wet for very long - but I need tips for when I want to swim in and and when the base layer starts to peel….any advice appreciated :)

    1. Hey Katherine, I haven't actually done one yet but I've been meaning to and this might just give me the kick up the backside I need. Stand by!

      I use Skin Tac when it first goes on, just on the sticky side of the plaster, let it dry and go a bit sticky, the secure down. Then above that I use Kinesiotape which I cut into a shape that covers the plaster and protects it. I'll do a video!

  2. Well rescued Anna! I'm onto day 17 on my first sensor! As yet, I haven't had to add any extra securing but I have had to re-smooth the sensor sticky bits down. Am simply amazed at the accuracy, causing a rapid change in my earlier thoughts about the system back in those early days. I have now begun to wait until it asks me to calibrate rather than adding every (or every other,etc) reading I do on my BG before eating, etc, and the readings have either been spot on or with 0.5 of the BG. Amazed - yes I am. It's just brill being able to see a nice plateau line over the last hour or two and just as brilliant when you see it creeping up and can then boost insulin via the pump and repeat a little later if more needed something I could never do with MDI without giving too much insulin! If I can get away with two sensors a month then brill as I think I'd be loathe to not have it now!

    Have you found that certain parts of the body are best for the sensor? I've only tried back of my arm so far purely because that's what I saw on the insertion video you advised me to watch and also because, with the sensor being as big as it is, I'd be a bit concerned about having it on my (washboard - LOL - NOT!) stomach and being prised off by seat belt or something?

    1. Hey Jonathan,

      I'm so pleased that you are getting on with it better! Was worried when I got your email and you seemed to be struggling. It takes a little while to find your feet and learn the foibles of the system. I find mine can be slow to catch up in the morning and sometimes needs a second calibration to get it synced. I've no idea why?! And it can be slow to recover after a hypo but I guess that is a better feature than it recovering before I've come up.

      Before you know it you'll be happy to go to bed at 5mmol!

      I tend to use my arm as it seems to get the least battering there. Comparable to that is top outer thigh although it always feels a bit more vulnerable there. However results are the same. My least favourite is the stomach as I sport the anti-washboard so it just got a lot more wear and tear there. Your stomach twists, stretches and moves a lot so it feels like the tape, and sensor, get more wear.

      I only ever buy 2 a month maximum, but generally get 18-21 days out of them so 2 often last me 6 weeks. Often the tape gives up the ghost long before the sensor readings do!

      Keep me posted! :)

  3. Oh, and having reviewed data on Dexcom Studio I'm even more happy to see my average glucose reading at 7.4 which going on what consultant has said previously would be about 1.0 lower for A1c average so fingers crossed that's what happens and I see a 6. something at next review!

  4. Hi there. Thanks for your post. Much appreciated. I have a quick question: I'm new to the CGM and my first sensor is in my stomach now after only 2 days, it's started coming away from the tape. IE the tape is stuck to my skin but the sensor is coming away from the tape. When you used the pink tape directly on top of the transmitter, does it restrict comms to the receiver and/or leave the transmitter sticky?

    1. Hi Dave, it did leave it temporarily sticky, but a wipe down with a damp cloth was all it needed. Like when you take a plaster off and have the sticky goop left. It didn't appear to interfere with signal or readings at all. Good luck with the rescue operation! Hope it lasts. Anna