I've run out of room on my abdomen to put on my sensor

i am a devout pumper for 14+ years. love my MM. i wear the child size which works well for my very lean body type. almost a year ago, i began trying out the dexcom cgm sensor. immediately i fell in love. most importantly to me was the knowledge i learned about my BG trends and how i responded to different foods, as well as how well my pump basal rates were working. i was able to make some changes in my basal rates almost immediately and my BGs improved very well. my A1c went from 8.9 down to 6.5.

my problem is this: i am very skinny and have virtually no body fat. w/ the sensor, i have to find some extra flesh to insert it. this is always a great challenge for me. i am able to pinch up enough skin to put on the sensor, but i have problems w/ regard to my sensor shifting into and out of fatty tissue and into muscle; and then i get inaccurate readings and all sorts of annoying problems. i am constantly having to change my sensor before the 7 day guarantee is up. i rotate and rotate, back and forth from side to side and try to coordinate my sites w/ my pump insertion site. UGH. does anyone else have this issue? does anyone have a suggestion? are there other cgm out there that are smaller and easier to use? are there any of you that are very lean and share this problem? are there any of you that are tiny like me who simply run out of places to insert w/out dealing w/ scar tissue? SOS

I put the sensor on the back of my arm. I like to save my abdomen for infusion sets. Some people use their thighs and some other areas. Check out some of the videos on you tube.

don’t you find that you have even more muscle on your arm than on your abdomen?
i have even less “fat” on my thighs. UGH. thanks, though; i will give it a try.

The arm is the only location a sensor works well for me and my wife. My arms have little fat; the sensors work great!

do you find that you bump your sensor when its on your arm? and, where on your arm do you put it? please get back to me, as i am very very curious. i have heard about others who use their arms as well.

I used to bump it a lot when on the outside of my arm, but now I put it on the front of my arm where it is safer and the results are SPECTACULAR. This morning, I got up, checked my bg’s on meter. 97. Sensor also read 97. can’t get any better than that. :slight_smile:

i am interested in this, too, because I am planning to talk to my doctor at my upcoming appointment about a CGM. I am already using my thighs for mealtime boluses because I don’t have a lot of abdominal “real estate” available.

That’s really encouraging, @phoenixbound!

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correction: it’s not totally at the front of my arm–it’s MORE towards the front than the side like I used to wear them, so when I brush against a wall, it’s unlikely to be dislodged.

do you put it between your elbow and your shoulder? and, don’t you run out of space due to scar tissue?

Daisy_Mae,
I use the front of my arm and insert it vertically with the plastic inserter ‘syringe’ pointing downward, not up. It is about 1/3 way down from shoulder top between the armpit and outer arm, not outside where you would lay on it when sleeping.
Mine lasts 2 weeks, with a restart on day 7, but then I don’t have your lack of fat issue!
Not near the elbow, higher up.
With inserter pointed down, after it is ready to take out, I squeeze the sides and the inserter falls off. Then I use the plastic tab to set the sensor and then put my chin on the sensor to hold it securely & snap off the plastic tab with opposite hand! Works well. Then, I add Flexifilm tape all around.
The skin is all healed in two weeks. I alternate arms q 2 weeks. And, there are several ‘spots’ you can use.

i am trying

this next week and i’ll let you know how this works out for me. i think i will hire my husband to help me to pinch up some skin.

thanks

As I read this I was wondering if you had ever asked your husband for suggestions of possible insertion sites?

I think I recall from some show on the topic of breast cancer how a woman often did not discover a suspicious lump on her own, but her husband did. It just seems that … how to put this … your husband is possibly more familiar with your body in some ways than you might be. Or at least in a different way than you would be.

It never hurts to get a second opinion from a different perspective, no?

If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you find and watch YouTube and other videos where someone demonstrates this. You don’t have to use or even like their approach. But just seeing how someone else approached inserting in their arm might prompt your own ideas.

For me, it seemed to be more of a problem at the very beginning. It took a few days for me to “remember” that the sensor was on my arm, but I did.

As for sleeping on it, even if you do so long as the only thing pressing on the sensor is your arm and not your upper body, then I think it has a lot less of an impact. Also, in my case, since I insert and tape my Enlite sensor on my own, the sensor is always closer to the side of my arm than the back since I just can’t reach the back of my arm. As others have said, when the sensor is offset from back of the arm I would expect there is even less pressure on it in most sleeping positions.

As far as rotating the sensor is concerned I do not believe it has to be rotated as much as an infusion site. The reason that an infusion site needs to be moved around every 2-3 days is because the insulin that it injects is constantly seen as foreign to the body, and therefore the body tries to build up tissue and fat around that area. Since the cgm sensor is a lot less ‘traumatic’ to the body you can use the same sites more frequently as you would an infusion site. This is one reason that the Dexcom can stay in for the approved 7 days (but we all know you can keep it in much much longer w/o any issues).

With that said, I use only 2 spots for my Dexcom and rotate it every 7 days. (I only use a sensor for 7 days because I am very fortunate to have 100% insurance coverage).

Hope that helps :smile:

Anthony, this helps me sooo much. and it definitely eases my anxiety. i am lucky enough too to be able to change my sensors every 7 days; i have full medical which covers 100% of my sensors, etc.

last night i tried to “re-boot” my sensor after having been on for 6 days. it didn’t make it through the night before i started getting the ??? and the misdirection arrows. i left it on until 5 minutes ago after too many erroneous BG readings.

i don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but i found some good flesh on the top of my left thigh,
so i put the new one there. (i sleep on my right side, so i didn’t want to end up accidentally rolling over on it during the night). i’ve read a bit about people placing it there, but i wonder if my pants will pull it off. i use Tegaderm over the sensor/ transmitter, and that has always held things in place; so much so that i have trouble taking them off. but my thigh moves around more than the other parts of my body. just curious.

please help w/ any other suggestions.

The two spots I use are my love handles. Even thin people have a good amount of fat and skin in that area. And I find that I rarely bump into the sensors there. When my elbow is bent the sensor is just below my elbow so I never rub against it, etc. I have found that the less you bump and rub and snag the sensor the better it performs and adheres. I even sleep on my sides sometimes and I do not notice it there since that area of your body is very pliable.

As far as the ??? goes. A really helpful user here (Parrformance) once advised me to drink a tall glass of water if I ever get a ???. I don’t get the ??? often, but when I do its usually because I am dehydrated. It has worked almost every time.

Cheers.

for an irrational John, you certainly sound very rational…

thank you for your suggestion about watching some UTube videos of people putting the sensors on their arms. one of the young women showed how she leaned herself against a chair w/ her arm so that the skin would come up and she could just attach her sensor. i still think, though, that i will need my husbands assistance for this location. i am very curious as it seems to be a favorite spot for so many others. today i put it on my left upper thigh and pulled my pants right over it. i put the Tegaderm over it to hold it down. i hope that my pants won’t put too much pressure on it so that i get “false” BG readings. i’ll let you know how it goes. thanks again for all your helpful suggestions. it really puts my mind at ease to know that i am not stuck trying to put the sensor on my abdomen. i use that area for my pump and there is just so much rotating one can do!!!

Yeah, that’s how I do it. It’s a tad trickier with an Enlite though as after you get the sensor in place you then have to put tape over it to help hold it in place. I’ve found this can be done with one hand, but I’ve also turned the overtape into a useless self-stuck ball on occasion. The Dexcom looks like it would be easier.

the dexcom isn’t very hard to insert, but that Tegaderm tape can be a real bit**. it sticks to anything, including itself, and its very $$$ so you don’t want to screw it up. it takes practice or my husband to do it just right. also, w/ the Tegaderm, you need to cut out an opening for the sensor’s transmitter to send messages to the receiver. its no easy job cutting that little space open; can’t be too small, can’t be too big. what i do, and i think it was a genius stroke of luck, is i saved the plastic part from an old sensor, and i trace around it on top of the tegaderm tape package. then i bend the package in half, and cut around it to make the little hole. and when you open it up from the package, voila, a perfect sized opening.