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CGMS...the good, the bad, the ugly

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Beach bum, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Beach bum

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    Tell it all. What do you like, dislike about the particular one you are using?
     
  2. kimmcannally

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    I wish the Dex had a longer range. Sometimes it reads out of range when it's right beside DS. Other than that, I love it. His latest sensor is in week 2 and very accurate :)
    Oh, I also wish it could be set for "daytime alarms" and "night-time alarms" so I could have it go off every two hours during the day if he is high and three hours at night to let me get more sleep. I know I can change it before bed, but I usually forget.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  3. Michelle'sMom

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    I wish the Dex had a longer range & louder, more customizable alarms. It would be nice if we could go back & see the actual BG on the graph.

    I love the accuracy, especially the 2nd week on a sensor.
     
  4. Ali

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    The good. Most of the time any CGMS will tell you if you are going up, down or holding steady. The number is not important the trend from the last finger stick is. I have used the Dex and MM and found both fairly accurate after you learn where they work on your body. You do need to figure out how long they are accurate for you, for me 6 days. You also need to learn how to figure out when they are not working. I love my CGMS, but it was a learning curve. My suggestions, read, read, read all the posts here about them and all the stickies under the CGMS heading. Work with someone who has experience with them, use them as a learning tool the first few months till you figure it out how they work for your body. The bad, on more thing hooked to you, I use my arms for the sensors so someone has to insert for me, if you lie on the sensor at night not so accurate, more beeps going off during the day and night, they do hurt a bit when you put in, pricey if your insurance does not cover (mine does not), time spent putting in, taping, monitoring. But...I need to test with fingersticks so much less, I know if corrections are working, I know if carb counts are accurate, I know if a site is going bad. I love, love the knowledge it gives me, the peace to sleep at night!!!, the peace to drive, the reduced number of finger checks. ali
     
  5. ecs1516

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    I wish the Dexcom had silence 'snooze' alarms that you set on the fly. Minimed's has this. I love Dexcom's 14 days of wear and its accuracy. I love the insertion process (we use no numbing cream and it doesn't bleed) and the lack of taping needed(the first week) with the Dexcom. I like how Minimed's CGM allows you to look through data easily on the screen. I like that Minimed has alarms set by time of day. I dislike the insertion process of the Minimed with the large needle(we use numbing cream), sometimes bleeding and short sensor life. We get maybe 6 days if we are lucky. Sometimes 7.
    We use both.
     
  6. Lovemyboys

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    We love our cgm and don't know how we got along without it. There are several improvements I would make though.

    1) be able to adjust the alarm volume (so we could have a really loud night time LOW volume)
    2) be able to adjust the graph. We rarely reach 300s and we certainly, for the most part don't need to go to 400 so I wish we could adjust the range of the graph, just like adjusting the graph time frame.
    3) shorter startup time frame (it's currently 2 hours with the dex, which isn't bad, but as long as I'm wishing...)
    4) better range. Currently our little guy is still sleeping in bed with us (18 months old) and he's in the middle of our king size bed and the dex doesn't even have the range to put the receiver on our bed side table. We installed a couple of hooks above the bed, in the middle so the receiver goes in that at night.
    5) smaller receiver. I think they could really work on the size of the receiver - it's pretty big for my little guy


    Those are things I would change, but I'm so glad we have it. These are really just nit-picky things that I've thought of if I were to redesign it. It's really made a difference in keeping his blood sugars in range.
     
  7. TheFormerLantusFiend

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    I have used the Guardian and the Dexcom.

    Both were most of the time accurate for me, with an occasional unexpected problem and both have sent me high treating lows that didn't exist.
    Both have had poor ranges and too quiet alarms.
    Both have sensors that lasted mostly one to three weeks for me, with an average of just over two weeks.

    Minimed had better customer service, but really bad billing.
    Minimed has way better bells and whistles on the monitor- I like being able to scroll through the past day's readings, and do data crunching on the monitor, and change it from mg/dl to mmol if I feel like it, and run it in different languages, and set my alarms at whatever numbers I want (say, a high alarm at 155) and turn off alarms for set periods or tell it I'm in a meeting, or beep only. I like the data recovery feature. I liked that it had a backlight I could turn on or leave off and that I could leave the monitor on all the time.
    Predictive alarms I liked especially.

    Unfortunately, wearing the minimed sensors hurt me. A lot. All the time. the entire time I wore the sensors, I was in pain. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Mostly more. It would hurt to move the arm the sensor was in, and sometimes it woke me in pain at night.

    Also, if you didn't calibrate within twelve hours, it stopped giving data.

    Dexcom doesn't hurt me.
    It keeps displaying numbers even if you don't calibrate on time. It doesn't have a lot of features. It shows you a number, and it shows you a (nice, good) graph. It has a few options for highs and low settings, but not many. It alarms with a vibrate only when you're out of range, and if you ignore the vibrate it will beep if you've set it up that way. It has an alarm you can't turn off for lows under 55. If you have an alarm threshhold for lows above 55, say at 80, and your number is 76, it alarms, you silence the alarm but keep falling it alarms at 55, but then it alarms again when you come up over 55 and under 80. It can be annoying.

    Dexcom and minimed both have data upload features that only work with Windows. I like Dexcom's better.

    Dexcom has to be recharged, while Minimed needs battery changes. Neither system is great but I like Dexcom's a bit better.

    Minimed has a better system for water; the whole thing is water proof plus it has data recovery so you can leave the receiver away from the water, swim back to it after twenty minutes and wait, and it will show the last twenty minutes of data.
    Dexcom's receiver is not waterproof and it has no data recovery feature.

    Both supposedly have ranges of 5 feet. Neither always gives a signal within 5 feet. I think Dexcom is much better about giving a signal within 5 feet, but if you're out of range with Dexcom, you've missed that number and you'll never know what it was; with Minimed, once you're back in range, you get the numbers you missed (within 40 minutes).

    Current generation minimed sensors tend to need extra adhesive, and Dexcom ones don't. The next generation minimed sensors look improved in that regard.

    Dexcom has a smaller needle for inserting the sensor. My pain issues were probably allergy related and atypical, but still most people find it less painful.
     
  8. Beach bum

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    Jonah my man, thank you so much for your detailed list, it's great! Skin allergies may be an issue for us too.

    Everyone else, I really appreciate your input. We are currently in the exploring/deciding phase, A seems to be on board, so that's a good.
     
  9. hawkeyegirl

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    Jonah's description of the MM reflects our experience, except that Jack has never had any pain from the sensor (we use EMLA for insertion) and that we get much better range than he did.

    Personally, I think you should get the Dexcom. Abby is old enough the she is going to be dealing with a lot of the CGM stuff herself, and the Dex is just more user-friendly in some ways. Jonah is right that it doesn't have a lot of the MM's "bells and whistles", but it's the sort of thing that you won't miss if you've never had. In your situation it comes down to the fact that she's old enough that you need her to "buy in" to the CGM, and I think your chances are better with Dex. I'm also slightly influenced by the fact that you are an Animas pumper.

    The one reservation I have is that you say that skin allergies may be an issue. My feeling is that more kids with sensitive skin react to the Dex tape than the MM's. (Probably mostly because there is more tape that comes on the Dex than on the MM.)
     
  10. Flutterby

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    We've been using MM cgms for 4 years. We did have skin issues, but have found tape that has stopped that. We use EMLA for putting in sites. Love all the extra alarms and the fact that the reciever is water proof (to a point, if it has a crack in it, its no longer water proof).. Dexcom isn't waterproof at all. There is definitely a learning curve to any cgms. I also love carelink where you download the info to for MM.

    Good luck!
     
  11. Jacob'sDad

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    Right now the skin rash is all that matters with the Dexcom. Every other issue is very minor by comparison. If we can't solve the allergy problem, then no more Dexcom. Right now I am trying a belly site which I haven't done in I don't remember when. I'm trying to see if maybe his arms are just very sensitive and maybe his belly won't break out. So he has a Dex site on his belly with nothing under it or over it.
     
  12. PatriciaMidwest

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    Dave -- I'm not sure what all you've tried but wanted to pass this link on to you about how another mom fixed their allergy issues.

    http://thisiscaleb.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/dexcom-adhesive-irritation-allergy/

    I know how much we love our Dex and would hate for you to have to give it up if something could be done!

    Sorry if you've already seen/tried this.


     
  13. Lorraine

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    Patricia -Thanks so much for sharing the post.

    Dave - one of the comments to the post suggested eliminating alcohol from the process. I've since heard others make the same recommendation. I've added (or removed) that step since getting the suggestion. It's still too early to know for sure, but I think it's helping.

    Good luck. I appreciate how maddening this can be.
     
  14. selketine

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    As a Navigator user, I don't think it is helpful to tell you about it since you can't buy it except overseas - right now. And who knows if it will go back on sale in the USA.

    I think our Nav will probably break some time in the next few months (at best). MM seems to have a very interesting sensor coming out (Enlite) that reminds me a lot of the Nav - and I think Dex has something new coming out also. If I had to pick one today I'd end up with Dexcom because William is interested in the Dex. However that MM sensor really has my attention and I wish it would be out before we had to choose.

    You just can't know about the taping issues until you use it for awhile - even a 30 day trial may not be enough time for the tape problem to show up. Insurance will pay for a new cgms for us every 2 years so I am nervous about getting stuck with something that he ends up being so allergic to that we can't use it. I have to use an under bandage under the Nav - but for some people that is not enough.
     
  15. Beach bum

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    Right, she's going to be working with this about 7hrs a day on her own, so I'm personally leaning towards user friendly for her.
    Hoping the tape isn't a problem, especially since she would be wearing it longer than a set. I guess only time would tell in this case.

    Thanks everyone for your honest opinions.
     
  16. Jacob'sDad

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    Thank you so much for sharing all you have gone through with Caleb. Your method is quite close to something I have already tried but enough different that it might be worth a try. I'm pretty sure Jacob breaks out from Skin-Tac though.

    Right now he has a Dex site with nothing else on his stomach and he has not complained. I think it's day three. But I think it may be loosening. I forgot to look this morning. It might be just his arms that break out for some crazy reason.
     
  17. Jacob'sDad

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    Thank you for sharing this!
     
  18. saxmaniac

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    I'll add a few thing that other people didn't say:

    1. The Dex range can be really great, but inconsistent. It will read through walls, but not your body. Alex will often be upstairs sleeping, and I can get a reading downstairs. But sometimes he'll be positioned in way where it won't read at all, and I have to put the receiver upstairs. I handle this by setting a no-reading alarm to 30 minutes or so. That's enough to not lse the trend, if you're getting spotty readings.

    2. Under normal circumstances, we lost *lots* of readings on the MM due to the demanding calibration schedules and shorter range. The MM would frequently disconnect even when it was on him, I don't know why.

    3. The one place where the MM shines is sports and swimming. He could go swim or play for 30 minutes, come back to the receiver, and then you'd "catch up" on the last 30 minutes. With the Dex, the receiver is either on him (not possible for swimming), or you lose the readings. He doesn't do either to make up for #2, though.
     
  19. Lorraine

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    I've got my fingers crossed for you!
     
  20. Beach bum

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    One thing my husband and I discussed was the possibility of her obsessing about the numbers. She has that type of personality (hmmm wonder where she gets it from:p).

    Anyone have a problem with this?
     

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