Restarting Dexcom

I have been trying the restart where you put a test strip into the sensor.
I have had good and bad and the meter is definitely being used again.
Once it was all over the place and I pulled the plug pretty early. I mean it was off by over 100 points and it was off way too high and than off way too low, so it,didn’t last long.
One I got 5 more days but with a lot of drops a lot of lost signals.
I did another yesterday due to a MRI test tonight and I was due to start a new sensor yesterday and just couldn’t see starting and than pulling a new sensor.
Will I do this all the time? Probably not. I have good coverage. I never have delivery problems. I sometimes get them through clinical trials. But it is working for this MRI test situation and I have used it when I’m at work and forgot to pack a new sensor.
So having this work around is nice to have in a pinch. I don’t see myself using this often due to the iffy results. But so far it is working fine.

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Back when the sensors lasted consistently longer for me, I was doing restarts in order to control which day of the week I would start a new sensor. I have busy days and evenings on Sunday Monday and Thursday most weeks that make it inconvenient to have a “Day 1” sensor on those days. So looking ahead whenever Day 10 fell on a Sunday Monday or Thursday I would try to do a restart a few days before in order to control which day of the week I was starting new sensors. Those “convenience restart” days are gone for me though, I rarely get 10 total days out of a sensor even if I restart at Day 7 or 8.

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It seems to vary per person how long people get from a restart. But I can say I used to average 26 days and about half of them only last about 12-16 days now. I used to have quite a few go past 30 days and I haven’t had one go that long for a while now.

I have good coverage, I don’t pay for my sensors or transmitters. I originally did it to build a back up supply but I found out I like restarts better. They take less calibrating for me. I am picky, I like to calibrate them within 5 points of accuracy. My new sensors I have to calibrate more and I have a few days I have to adjust them. And on top of it I’m lazy, it’s less work to restart one lol.

Usually they let me know they are going by a day of it keep reading lower or losing the transmitter signal a lot.

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As you said, it varies from person to person, and based on my experience I’m shocked anyone would extend their session at all. I usually have 7-8 good days before I get multiple drops or inaccuracies of 50-150 mg/dL. If I’m low on sensors I just do a product support request—they’ve never denied it, and I have probably done it 6-8 times this year. I use abdomen only by the way. I’d rather have 7-8 accurate days over restarting an already failing sensor since it’s essentially useless to me at the 9-10 day mark. I know others have had different luck so more power to them. I will, however, keep a sensor in the full 10 days if it’s giving me numbers I like, even if I know they’re too good to be true.

So, the MRI went well and the results were great news!! And the diabetes side was no problem because as always, we just roll with whatever is thrown at us.
I restarted a sensor so I wouldn’t have to waste a sensor. I pulled the infusion set and than just put it back in and taped it down until it was time to change it the next day. The joys of metal infusion sets.
And I was also fascinated that my test was at 7:30 pm! So darn cool that these tests are offered at times for people who work! And I was not the last person going through!

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Happy for you great MRI results, Sally.

I have been using Dexcom for 10 years and have restarted virtually every sensor except for those rare occasions where the sensor failed in some way. The accuracy falls a little bit on the second restart but it still falls within the 20% margin of error as compared to my meter. Reality is meters are also allowed to be 20% off and still be considered accurate. I use a DIY closed loop system with Omnipod and Dexcom and it has allowed me so much more brain space. It has also allowed me to let diabetes be on the back burner. I have also worn the sensor cradle during 3 MRI’s. I just popped the transmitter out before the procedure. The cradle and the inserted wire do not contain any magnetic metal.

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I have a lot of problems with Dexcom, mainly bad insertions (every so often I get one that fountains blood) and also am severely allergic to the adhesive, so setting up a new one is a major pain. Here’s the routine I follow to consistently restart mine:

  1. At the end of the sensor life, I pop the transmitter out of the cradle using a thin guitar pick. (See: Restart Dexcom G6 Sensor | 2 Ways That Work in 2022 - YouTube for technique)
  2. I set it aside and run a timer for 30 minutes. This breaks the connection between the transmitter and the sensor.
  3. I alcohol swab the sensor metal connector circles & also the transmitter’s. I’ll also swab lightly around the cradle and the entire transmitter.
  4. I then run the Dexcom “insert new sensor” thing & use the code from the old sensor.
  5. Pop the transmitter back in, start the sensor.
  6. Switch CONTROL-IQ off on the Tandem and wait the warm-up period out.
  7. Warm-up ends. My sensor will tell me I’m HIGH all evening. I use my meter to figure out insulin needs, and set alarms at night.
  8. In the morning, I calibrate the sensor. Then I calibrate again after a while (like 30 mins-1 hour) and watch to see how close the CGM is to my actual reading. Once it’s pretty close (20ish points off at most), I switch CONTROL-IQ on again and enjoy another 10 days of use.

If anyone is curious how I manage the allergies:

  1. I do my alcohol swabbing prep
  2. Spray 2-3x with generic Flonase from Costco, and let it dry. (Dexcom says 2 minutes, it takes about 10 minutes for a good coat).
  3. Then I do the sensor, which always takes me an agonizing 10-15 minutes of trying to will myself to push the button (I’ve grown afraid of the blood and pain. Another tip here–I’ve learned to pull the applicator away from my body as I press the button, it helps minimize the occurrences a bit).
  4. Once my sensor is in, I alcohol swab the connectors to clear off any guck from the applicator, and also thoroughly swab the transmitter.
  5. Pop in the transmitter, then warm up.
  6. Apply 2 of the Dexcom overlay patches. This is necessary to hold it on after the Flonase. I cut the patches in half to allow for the most contoured fit possible (I’ve had the sensor fabric start pulling up through the overlay hole).

Another note on allergies: I’ve noted that even with Flonase, the patch gets itchy if it’s wet. Also, loose/easy to knock off, due to the Flonase. The overlay patches do a great job holding it on, but when I shower it gets wet underneath & doesn’t dry forever which can lead to itching. The best solution I have found yet is to use a waterproof bandage roll I found on Amazon and cut it to size for each shower. I cover the center (where the CGM is) with a square of Glad Clingwrap. This keeps it dry but the waterproof bandage also hurts my skin to pull off (once it got a bit bloody, yikes). I’ve been experimenting with Glad Clingwrap and this silicone tape I found on Amazon. This is super gentle on my skin, but keeps allowing a bit of water through (always in the same place, which is weird). I’m currently in the process of refining this, haha.

Anyways…hope my trials & tribulations are helpful to someone else! Really hoping the G7 will use different adhesive and have a better inserter. Or that those fancy CGM watches I’ve been watching finally come out and Tandem signs up with them…I can dream! :smiley:

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I have found that my best tool for removing the DexCom G6 transmitter from the sensor in order to do a restart is a thin guitar pick. I keep one in my BG test kit, one in my wallet, and several with my stash of CGM supplies. They are much more sturdy than a test strip, and are thinner, so it fits between the xmtr and sensor easier.

To paraphrase, I’m shocked that one commentor is shocked anyone would restart a Dexcom sensor. If everyone’s experience mirrored mine, I would not understand why anyone would not want to restart.

But sadly, it is obvious from reading posts here over several years, that different people have different experiences. And since most posters seem both intelligent and competent, I don’t think this disparity comes from some people not installing their sensors correctly.

In my case, I calibrate a new sensor as many times as I need to get the accuracy within 10%. Sometimes that is only 2 times, other times I need to calibrate up to 5 times. I only calibrate when I am in a good range and it is neither rising nor falling – this is because Dexcom is testing interstitial liquids, not the blood itself, and I have read there is some lag between a change in actual blood glucose and insterstitial liquids. Calibrating while BG is rising or falling means some level of intrinsic error.

I restart pretty much the way onelildustbunni does, though I use 2 test strips, one on either side, to remove the transmitter.

I do not need a CGM patch for the 1st 10 days, but upon restart, I then put on a patch. Dexcom’s sensor’s adhesive can withstand showers those 1st 10 days, but the thing will come loose without a patch after that. And before it falls off, it can begin to get inaccurate. But with the patch, the sensor stays on for the 2nd 10 days without problems.

I admit after restart, it can take more calibrations to get the sensor back to being accurate, usually 1-3 more calibrations than for new sensors. But once it is accurate, it stays accurate through Day 20.

I have never restarted after 20 days.

So I guess I am lucky that my body allows Dexcom sensors to be accurate, and for up to 20 days. Clearly this is not the case for some.

This whole subject will become a moot point once they convert us to G7. Apparently sensor and transmiter will be one disposable unit. Maybe not so good for the environment, but I am so grateful for how Dexcom has improved my life, I won’t be complaining.

With G7, I am not sure how to build up a cache in case of an earthquake or other event that could stop deliveries for a while. I will face that when I am switched to G7.

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Because they are switching to the G7 at some point. If we have a back up supply of G6’s we can use those while we are being sent the G7’s and be able to build a back up supply of the G7’s too.

I originally did the restarts to only build some back up supplies as I had a transmitter acting up and realized how much I had come to depend on wearing a CGM. Now, I don’t ever have to worry if a shipment were to get delayed, or a sensor going too soon and waiting for a replacement. I have back up’s. When I moved and had to transfer to a new doctor and a new distributor. I didn’t have to worry about how fast I did anything, because I had back-ups. It is a way to have a cushion for when things go wrong.

I love restarts and I will wear them as long as they keep working. I had one go 45 days and it stayed within my desired 5 points of accuracy. (with calibrations at each restart). Nowadays it seems to be more 12-26 days.

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You should have the same backup stock of G7s as you have of G6. Let’s say you have 15 G6 sensors in stock when your first shipment of G7s arrives. Just store the G7s as they arrive and keep ordering them monthly but keep using your G6s until they run out. Once your G6s have run out, you will have 15 G7s as backup stock.

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Depending on how big a G6 stash is, new transmitter(s) may be needed. Insurance will most likely object to paying for G6 transmitter(s) and G7 sensors at the same time. So one may need to pay for transmitter(s) out of pocket.

Unfortunately transmitters don’t last as long because of the battery. But from the beginning I had gotten 1 free as a back up, Then when one transmitter goes bad before it’s time you gain some extra time when they send you a replacement and I have ended up now with 2 complete back ups. (I use in rotation) They will last a little past their expiration but not by that much.

Any extra time on the overlap time you have gained from a replaced transmitter will allow you to cover some extra sensors for a back up supply. 30 “extra” days will cover 3 back up stash sensors. Do be watchful of the transmitter dates though. The battery does die.

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It seems that different peoples experiences vary considerably with these transmitters.

Transmitters certainly can be good out of the box well past their expiry date. And even then, I’ve been getting full >100 days of use with only rare signal losses (as in: almost never)

Possibly just luck?

This is because I had the good fortune of two transmitters die early on that were still within their “best before” so Tandem sent replacements and somehow I missed noticing the replacements at the back of the shelf while they aged gracefully. . .

They worked fine!

So wth occasional restarts and early sensor failures I’ve got about four months worth of backups. I’m careful now to always use the oldest supplies first.

My supplies arrive by UPS.SurePost and I never open them when they arrive. I put the date they arrive on the box and stack the boxes with the oldest received on top. Then I always take from the oldest box. If it is transmitter replacement time and the first box I take does not have a transmitter, I go to the next box down, rinse and repeat until I find a box with a transmitter.

Some may ask why I don’t discard the sensor boxes that had only sensors and no transmitter as I work down through the boxes, as the sensor to transmitter ratio is compromised, and the only reason is that from time to time I have received a spare transmitter and could use them on the initial boxes that did not have any.

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You don’t need to remove the transmitter. Someone on this forum pointed out that sliding a Contour Next test strip into the slit in the end of the sensor plastic breaks the electrical contact and you just wait the same amount of time before removing the test strip.

That’s how I transitioned from G5 to G6 and it worked well. One of the reasons it’s feasible to maintain a backup stock is the sensors have long shelf life before opening with expiration dates for G6 sensors being easy to deal with. Transmitters however actually do run out of battery when they expire on the shelf and (depending on the practices of your supplier) might only have a few months of life left on the day you receive them.

With the G7 transmitter integral with the sensor I am guessing shelf life will be pretty short which will complicate backup stockpiling.