Hi, my son is 12 and has had the Dexcom since he was 9. It is my favorite diabetes management tool and I can't imagine life without it. I feel like we are blind if he doesn't have it on because I can't see what's happening to him.
The two "drawbacks" to me aren't really drawbacks. No - it's not always accurate with the number it has on the screen (although surprisingly more accurate than I expected.) But that's not why he wears it. I want the trends - they are so much more important to me than the numbers. If my son is 100 and headed straight down, it's not that different than 120 headed straight down or 80 headed straight down. He's going down and I need to stop it. However, those three numbers without knowledge of a trend don't give me enough information! If he's 100, 120 or 80 headed straight up I'm going to react differently. If I check his bg and it's 100 - and I don't know which way he's going, I don't know what to do. And as far as trends go - it is VERY accurate. Which is so helpful for sports and school situations.
So then for the A1c - I didn't get the Dexcom to make his A1c better. He's been in the 7's since diagnosis, and although in my dream world he would be in the 6's, it's not worth the risk for us right now. I got the Dexcom so he could have more freedom at school, more freedom for sports, and so that I could see trends and make adjustments to better manage him overall - not on a daily basis. THAT is worth a lot to me, and to him.
Endos seem to forget that it's not all about the A1c - that's only one number in my son's diabetes management. I do the best I can but I ALSO want him to live as normal as a life as possible and tools that help to enable that are worth it to me and him.
Yes, his teachers like that he has it on. Yes we can see that cheerios are evil. Yes, when my son had the stomach flu it was SO helpful. Yes, it alarms in the night and I can sleep better (we had to put the baby monitor next to it though because it's not that loud.)
The needle isn't so bad - I did it myself to try it. We use EMLA cream to put it on my son, but I think that's mostly psychological. And it's once every week (or two weeks, but I didn't say that) instead of every 2-3 days for the pump.
We did have to fight the insurance because they said under age ? it wasn't any benefit. But there is at least one good study by JDRF proving that there is value in it. I could dig it up if you needed it.