HELP! I want to love my CGM but I'm learning to hate it!

I put on a Dexcom 7 CGM almost a week ago. It’s the first time I’ve worn a CGM. I’ve toyed with the idea for a year. I don’t wear an insulin pump - never have - but I thought a CGM could be a real help. I don’t wear a pump because I’m very disciplined, and with frequent testing and injections my A1c stays in the high 5s. Of course that also means I have my fair share of lows: that’s where the CGM comes in. All I want it to do (am still wearing it, till the sensor stops) was catch the lows before they happen, and the highs too, although I don’t have many of those.

But my CGM is catching nothing. I’ve had 4 lows, none of which it caught. While I was in the 50s, it was 123, 94, 88 and something else I’m too disgusted to remember. And before you think I’m not doing something right, I’m calibrating it at least 3x/day and it never leaves my body or bed, including the times it tells me I’m out of range! Sometimes, admittedly, it’s within 5 points of my meter, then I love it, and worse yet begin to trust it, because more often it’s 20 points, 30 points, 40 points away. Then there’s the lag time. Even if I’m going up or down quickly it’s on 20 minute time delay.

So, after my 6 day experience I’m pretty sure this is not for me - not until they make the CGM parrot my meter in real time. That said, I’m dying to know whether you also hated your experience with the CGM, and why, or are one of its diehard fans, and why???

Maybe the CGM doesn’t work for you. But it may also be true that it gets better with practice. What I really mean is that over time you may become more effective at using the CGM. You perhaps get better at the whole sensor thing, insertion and placement. Perhaps you get better at knowing when and how often to calibrate.

I know I have a pretty thick head. Sometimes it can take me a while to really get things and realize their potential. Maybe you should just soldier on and give it every ounce of chance to work. After all, it would really be a shame to find that you went through all this trouble, then gave it up as not working only to find out after that that you made some little mistake with the sensor or something. And when you weigh the potential benefits of reducing lows against the mild ongoing hassle of the CGM, it does see like it makes sense to let the experiment run longer.

When I started my CGM (Medtronic… and from what I’ve read on here, Dexcom is so much better!) my CDE asked me to make one promise: be willing to try it for 30 days – through one box of sensors – before making the decision to give up. Many people give up too soon because of bad results, “nuisance alarms”, insertion difficulties or other reasons. It really takes a bit of skill, talent, and patience to use it.

My advice to you is this: be careful about the timing of your calibrations (when BG is relatively flat), and give it 30 days. (Also, since lows from long-acting insulin may occur faster than lows from pumping rapid-acting, set your alarm-rates a bit more conservatively. Usually a ‘Low predicted’ means you’re already low)

I don’t wear a CGM partly because of the cost, but also because I don’t like wearing medical equipment on my body. However, I feel like I can relate to your situation. I was talked into trying the pump ten years ago and gave up after 3 days because I was frustrated with its complexity, but also because I wasn’t ready. Two years ago I was ready and wore the omnipod for a period of time until it became too expensive. It was a love/hate relationship, but I stuck with it because I was ready.

Maybe you’re just not ready?

I think I’m ready, I’ve pondered this for about a year. I also think either the spread of numbers between my meter and the CGM is too often too big to be of much use. Since I’m only doing a trial with one sensor, unfortunately, I can’t tell whether this sensor just isn’t reading the intestinal fluid as well as another might, so I understand when people say try it for a month, but I don’t have that option with this trial.