FreeStyle Libre & Insecurities


#1

Hi All :slight_smile:

This might sound incredibly shallow, so please do not leave horrible comments, i’m just being 100% honest.

I have been invited by my hospital to attend a workshop to then go on a FreeStyle Libre list. I have heard of all the benefits of the meter, and hope to get pregnant within 2.5 years and know it will help.

BUT… I am worried about how I will feel. I have low self confidence and removed my pump after 11 months when I was 15 as I got severely bullied and called ‘a robot’. My long-term partner says he WANTS me to get this to help me, and he ‘could not give a f**k if I have a Libre or a mechanical leg’.

Does any one else / did any one else feel like this? Am I making it worse than it really is? For example, are you able to take out the Libre when you want and return to standard testing?

I am just worried I will receive it then feel depressed/low about walking around with something sticking out my arm.

ANY tips or stories would help me. Just want to know if anyone can relate :frowning:

Have a beautiful day/night wherever you are!


#2

Well here is how I feel when I see/feel my pump clipped to the right side of my waistband, and my G5 receiver clipped on the left. I’m not thrilled that I NEED to have equipment to best manage my disease, but am very very appreciative that Medicare covers the CGM that I couldn’t afford to pay for OOP, and that insurance has covered my pump and supplies for decades now with little to no cost to me. SO bottom line: not thrilled I have to have this stuff, but darn appreciative of what it can do. The CGM, especially, KEEPS ME SAFE! (at night, when sleeping, the alarms protect me. The Libre can’t do that, BTW, but that’s another thread)


#3

IMO the pump is a lot more visible than cgms. Most pumps come with tubing and always seem to be in the way (IMO).

I don’t currently use a pump either. My reasons for not using one are mostly different than yours, but one reason was because it felt like I was constantly attached to my diabetes. It felt omnipresent.

I don’t feel this way with the cgm. I currently use a Dexcom G5, but I believe the size isn’t that dissimilar to the Libre. I wear the Dexcom on the back of my arms exclusively. It’s so incredibly helpful that I can’t imagine not using it for a week. However, if you were to need a break, you could certainly take a break from the Libre for a week. You don’t have to use it continuously.


#4

Who cares what people think? The Libre is no bigger then a quarter - you will forget it’s even there

those people you think are wondering about your arm are full of insecurities themselves

it goes on the back of your arm - I double 1 person out of 500 would even notice it

Please Please - never concern yourself what other people think

I dress like a bum - clean, but like a bum - helps to sort out the real from fake people


#5

I use the Libre and I do get asked about it pretty frequently but I live in a small town where many people know me and these are really the only people who ask about it. I actually enjoy educating those who are curious about diabetes so I always use this opportunity to give a little lesson on diabetes tech.

On another note those kids were mean and immature about something you couldn’t help having and was probably helping you a lot to control your diabetes and now that you are an adult you most likely wont be treated that way. I was treated the same way for actually testing my BG or having a low when I was a kid but as an adult it hasn’t ever happened.


#6

A sock and a lock takes care of bullies


#7

HI,
I don’t think you are shallow. Wearing a device can “out” you, and if you are a private person, that can be a real concern. If you place the sensor high enough up on your arm, short sleeves will cover it. No one will see it.

I can relate to your concerns. I am public middle school music teacher. The first time I wore the sensor, I placed it too low on my arm. One of my 100 chorus kids noticed during class. I had to think fast - just said it was a large bandaid from medical testing and that I was fine. I teach some sweet kids. Some adults noticed (like I said, I put it way too low the first time), but no one said anything unless they were my friend and concerned that I was hurt.

Second time, I was far smarter about the placement. No one saw a thing. With your partner and/or a good mirror, test out some locations with a marker on your arm or a piece of paper taped on your arm roughly the same size. Then, try on your shirts to see how it looks (or doesn’t look!). That might make you feel more in control.

Checking your sensor is really discreet as well. You can palm the reader, reach over like you are stretching, and get your number. You can chose to keep the meter silent, or you can set alarms to remind you to check at certain times of day or at 1 and/or 2 hour intervals after meals.

To help keep it secure, I use two things:

  1. a simplepatch (from amazon) over the sensor, which if far larger than the device itself. The simplepatch is much more noticeable than the sensor.

  2. a skin tac product or something similar, which is extra skin friendly glue to help it stay on. Good if you are active. The skin tac will be invisible and help keep the reader even more secure.

The sensor lasts for 10 days. You don’t have to wear the sensors continuously, but, you might get hooked on having the data in the palm of your hand instead of painfully on your fingertips! I know I am seriously addicted to seeing what’s happening 24 hours a day!

Knowledge is power over the diabetes for me. I have made great gains by using the freestyle libre.

Good luck and thank you for sharing how you are feeling.

Laurel


#8

The only visible part of Libre is just a quarter size piece of plastic attached to the upper part of your arm. It is very small and completely concealed under any short sleeve. If you want to go sleeveless - put an elastic band around it, similar to those used to hold smartphones on your hand while working out. That little bump underneath would be unnoticeable. Finally, when you will decide to go bare (I think you will, eventually) check out e-bay, there are some cool stickers that you can attach to the sensor and make it look less official. In any case give it a try, it is a real game changer over a glucose meter.


#9

Actually I believe the OP is in the UK or Canada because she uses mmol so sensors would last her for 14 days.


#10

Good catch. :grinning:


#11

What other people think is unimportant. You are doing something to improve your life.

In six months of using Libre I have only been asked by my 6 year old grandaughter about the thing on my arm. She always watched when I was getting blood from my finger. :zipper_mouth_face:

You donot need to remove Libre to do a finger poke blood test. You can use either whenever you want. Just remember the numbers will likely be different. BUT…It is the trend and the trend line for the past 8 hours that make the Libre a life changing device.

Also keep in mind that there are many Libre haters on the internet. PLEASE make your own decision about Libre.

Personally I am a big supporter. Partially because ALL THE FUN went out of finger poke after 50 000 blood lettings. :grin:

But the trend data and ease of use at 2am are also huge positive points.

Go to the session. They can’t force you to try it but they just might talk you into a trial.
I
GOOD luck with the expanding family.


#12

This is exactly why I tend to think that T1 is a very different disease if you get it as a kid or adolescent–basically if you get it while you’re still in elementary or high school–where being different looms so much larger and fitting in has such overwhelming importance. I got it in my 20s, so I never had to go through this crap, but what strikes me so consistently even talking to other adult T1s is how different their attitudes are about everything related to the disease depending on whether they were dx’d at those ages.

Which I guess is by way of saying, no, it doesn’t sound “incredibly shallow,” it sounds entirely consistent with having experiences burned into you at a young age that are so formative it’s hard to get past them. But it’s also liberating! You might find that acknowledging this stuff and being able to consciously let it go is also one of the most life-altering–but profoundly positive—experiences you can have. Hope you can find your way to that place with it.

And BTW, your partner sounds like a keeper.


#13

I have been wearing the Libre since for over 5 months and never had a single person seems to even notice it. I wear mine on the top of my arm, but more to the inside than the back so it really is not even visible to anyone. I wear a Simpatch over it and it is barely visible with some short sleeve shirts, but not much. The beige Simpatch just blends right in on my arm and only a small part of it is ever visible with the placement of my sensor. My mom is one who notices everything about me and is very quick to point out everything she notices about me, but even with me wearing a short sleeve shirt with shorter sleeves than most of my short sleeve shirts, even she did not notice it. If it is on the back of the arm, it is a bit more noticeable, but if one is wearing sleeves that cover it, no way would anyone ever know it is there, regardless of placement of it. Most short sleeve shirts cover it. It can’t be worn, removed and put back on, but It only stays on for a couple of weeks, so if one doesn’t want to wear it for some reason, after two weeks they just don’t need to put the next one on. It really is discreet though, and makes testing so much easier that I just love it. Know that if you don’t get good results using the reader, there are options for still using Libre but getting your readings from another source. I use an app for Android phones called Glimp for it because the reader just reads too low for me when my level is under 100, which it usually is. Glimp can be calibrated if it is not giving readings as close to the meter as one would like, but even without calibrating it, it gives me readings very close to the readings I get from my meter. It also has an interactive graph, which lets one get the reading for the level they were at any time in the past, just by touching the screen for that time. It won’t work for iPhones, but for most Android phones that have NFC capabilities, it works great. There are a few Android phones that will break the sensors, so anyone wanting to use it should check the list of unsupported devices on Glimps site before using it. The phone should also give a warning if it is one of the phones known to break sensors when the app is installed. There are other Android phone apps for it that I haven’t tried, and there is also an official Libre app for those outside of the US, which I also haven’t used, and that works for iPhones, but it probably uses the same algorithm that the reader does, which is what causes it to read too low for me, so it probably gives the same reading as the reader gives. Many people have the reader be quite accurate though, but if it isn’t for you, give one of the apps a try and see if that doesn’t help, there are several of them. Good luck to you, I bet you will love using it and will find most people will never notice your sensor.


#14

Honestly, having people notice was never even a thought for me. I wear a pump quite happily though, and have done for 19 years.
I never, ever voluntarily show my arms though. They are huge for a smallish woman, and have been since I was a toddler. As a skinny 3yo, my kindy photo shows rather larger than average arms.
My love of gymnastics and now martial arts has not helped in the slightest. So I have a phobia about showing my arms, but not my Libre🙄. Occasionally people notice the kinesiotape I cover it with when I wear my work uniform, as my sleeves are a bit shorter than I normally wear. I don’t care, and just say it’s my glucose sensor. People wear heart rate monitors and fitbits even if perfectly healthy, so it really isn’t a huge deal.
I was so keen to ditch fingersticking that I’d probably have accepted a flashing red light worn as a hat in order to use Libre, but if you are not ready, don’t use it. I’ve hated and resented self glucose testing since 1980, when I got my first testing kit, the beige brick (Ames Glucometer). It hurt, and the number was always awful.
Diabetes is so personal and invasive, being forced or coerced into using devices one is not ready for is not acceptable. It’s your body. I think Libre is fabulous, but it isn’t for everyone.


#15

I am the exact opposite - I think the Libre is neat. Measure/know your sugar with a simple wave. Like magic! I am a geek, so might even be a little proud of my Libre! It’s sleek, it’s cool, I wear it with pride!

There’s someone who sells stickers for it. You might like rhose


#16

My son uses the libre and it’s not really apparent that he has it on. I think only if you are sleeveless would someone be able to see it. I have only come across one other person who was wearing one and was thrilled in a weird sort of way. He was probably in his late 20’s. His sleeves were kind of high and it was in plain view. I mentioned it and he said he forgot it was even there. It was a great way to strike up a conversation.


#17

I saw a photo tonight of the British Prime Minister greeting President Trump. There she was, dressed for a formal dinner in a chic, sleeveless red dress. And there was a Libre on the back of her arm! (She was diagnosed with T1 a couple of years ago.)


#18

(warning: technical discussion ahead)
I use the Libre along with a MiaoMiao (say MeowMeow) to translate the near field communication (NFC) to Bluetooth, which interacts with my iPhone which runs Spike, a program similar to Glimp or XDrip+ for Android. Spike is currently in beta test and under active development. I tried both of the Android programs, too, and used a Sony Smartwatch to translate the NFC to Bluetooth in that case. I also wear a FitBit Versa smartwatch, and my spouse has written a watch face that interfaces with NightScout and shows me my sugar level and trend arrow at a glance, with graphs available at a touch, as well as supporting trend alarms and absolute alarms (high and low) in addition to those on the phone. Simple CGM or Orbits NS are some of his watch faces. This means I don’t need to pull out my phone to know what my sugars are doing, and this has been really convenient for both of us.

Like others, I cover the Libre/MiaoMiao with a Simpatch bandage for several reasons, concealment not being one of them. I am quite active and have sweated off my Omnipods, and several Libres as well, even with additional adhesives. The Simpatch holds the combination together and secures it to me even through active movement. I find, though, that it doesn’t last as long as the sensor, so I replace it around day 7. The MiaoMiao lasts about a month for me before needing to be recharged. Actually it would last longer than that, but I choose to recharge it during the startup time on the 3rd LIbre.

Now, I know that this discussion started about perceptions of medical equipment and the whole cyborg thing. I get that. I also very much understand not wanting to be singled out as being different. Everyone must do what makes them feel most comfortable. I was hesitant to add yet another thing to my body, and carry even more equipment around.

That said, I have found it to be a really positive experience. My current batch of Simpatches are purple, and I also wear my Omnipod on my arm. I have used them as an educational experience when people notice and comment on them. Nearly everyone with whom I have spoken has been impressed, and wanted to tell a friend or relative about such technologies.

I do want to say, though, that I haven’t regretted trying the LIbre. I am astounded at the amount of information I have gathered. I was having both highs and lows that simply weren’t apparent testing “only” 4x daily. Now my spouse can also peek at my sugar levels, and check up on me at night without waking me up to see if I’m still alive. :-/ I can also easily see the mismatch between carb absorption time and insulin effectiveness. Note that these are features of an integrated CGM, and are not specific to Libre. However, I went with Libre because of the longer sensor life and discreet appearance. The phone and watch support came later, and yes, it really helps to have a software engineer in the house. :slight_smile:

I hope some of this helps, and at the very least, lets you know what some options are. This is such a tough disease, and all of use can use some assistance to make the burden a little lighter.


#19

I saw that too! I doubt if she has a pump. She always looks so great and she doesn’t have any “bumps” like my pump makes!!


#20

Hey Softype1, I understand (a bit)how you feel. I have been using the Libre for about 8 months now. As someone else mentioned I am not yet thrilled that I have to have a small device stuck on my arm and have been a bit self conscious of it.

Two thoughts. Because it is quite small I have noticed that when I have it on no-one actually seems to notice it and two it is easy to make it fairly less visible by putting it further up the arm (under my shirt sleeve) or by putting it on the back of the arm where it is less visible (mainly by me!).

I terms of benefit, it’s worth it! It’s easier to use than finger pricking and gives you data throughout the day (and night) of how things are tracking. I say … go for it!