I got pretty lucky in that I was able to get my new Dexcom in the first release round. I’ve been wearing it for about 10 days now, so I thought I’d share everything I can think of for those of you who are on the fence about upgrading or wondering about what awaits you in the next UPS shipment. Happy to answer other questions that you may have, too…
Appearance, Insertion and First Day Thoughts:
The receiver is really clear and easy to read, including in sunlight. There is a slight delay when you click on the center button to wake the display up - it’s annoying, but no more than a second. I hated the too clicky buttons of the 7+ receiver. It felt like they were louder than the alarms! The receiver feels like a nice piece of technology - it feels caught up to the rest of the world. It also fits nicely in a pocket, unlike the egg receiver, which stuck out something awful.
Insertion was exactly the same as the 7+ except the sensor wire and needle felt thinner. I’ve only ever felt a pinch of pain with insertion, and the pinch was definitely less with the new sensor. I’m happy with that. I am less happy with how thick the transmitter is. It’s twice as thick as the old one, and it sits pretty high in the sensor pod/platform. I’ve got this first sensor on my arm, and it’s definitely noticeable in all sweaters and shirts that I’ve worn. That said, no one has asked me “Are you smuggling drugs on your tricep?” so maybe it’s nothing to worry about. I’ll try an abdomen site next, and if it sticks out too much there, I’ll be pretty bummed.
The first day of readings was not so hot. Lots of false lows (readings of <55 when I was really in the 90’s and steady) and lots of microwaves (lots of little rolling hills within a 30 point range that probably aren’t accurate). These all occurred overnight, so I didn’t get much sleep, which may be a reason for the erratic readings. After that first day, though, the readings settled right into line.
I believe that the readings have been within 20% of about 90% of my fingersticks for the life of the sensor so far. The readings tend to be a little lower than my meter, but again, within a reasonable range. This is a good hypo warning me, so I’m ok with it, but I’ve fallen into the habit of disregarding the mild hypo warnings because I “know” I’m probably a little higher. This probably isn’t ideal…
This sensor has been really accurate with exercise, capturing my initial spike right away and then the quick fall that follows an hour afterwards. I feel like the arrows have been accurate overall, though I’m surprised by how long hypo treatments have taken to register on the Dex. We’re talking 45 minutes to single arrow sometimes. I’m not sure if that’s sensor placement, my diet, or the general craziness of diabetes, but it was surprising.
All that extra transmitter heft seems to be worth it in terms of signal strength. This thing beams data through walls, around corners, down the hallway. I can leave the receiver in my office, walk down the hall and have a 20 minute conversation, come back and all the dots are still there. It’s never lost signal overnight, which was a problem with the 7+ for me. It’s great. The only problem is that I lose the receiver in my home because I don’t need to pick it up and carry it with me anymore. This is a pretty great problem to have.
I can’t feel the sensor wire at all. It was a little achy the first two days, but that may be because I don’t often use arm sites. The adhesive seems as strong as the 7+. I’m on day 10, and it has come up about 80% on one side, but is mostly down on the other three sides. A little tape should fix it for a few more days. To prolong tape life, the only thing I do is make sure to dry it off really well after I get out of the shower - kind of “squeeze” the water off the tape with the towel - that’s it.
I don’t think I calibrated excessively. Whenever I noticed that it was 20% or more off, I entered a fingerstick. This usually brought it more in line. I think there was a day or two when it had to prompt me for calibrations because I hadn’t entered one in 12 hours, which I think is a good sign of accuracy.
I restarted the sensor when the original session ended. The past two days have been a little less spot on, but again, within reasonable range in my opinion - 90% within 20% of fingerstick.
I should mention that this sensor coincided with me cutting gluten and most processed foods out of my diet as an experiment, so my range has been much narrower than usual. I haven’t had a reading over 200 since I started this sensor, and no real double ups or double downs (law of small numbers, I guess). Because of this, I can’t attest to it’s high readings accuracy.
I downloaded Dexcom Studio onto my Mac running Windows using BootCamp. The download and installation was easy. I got a few errors that the program wasn’t verified by Windows, but they went away with a few easy clicks, and the machine is still running fine. When I first connected the receiver, it didn’t recognize it a few times and kept saying it needed to download the drivers. After the third driver download cycle, it worked. It’ll probably do that again the next time I connect.
The reports are the same one’s I’m used to. Scatter plots and box graphs and pie charts galore. I remember that the old software would project your A1c, but I didn’t find that option didn’t show up this time around.
Do I like it?
Yes, I do. I was not a faithful 7+ user. The buttons were too clicky. The data wasn’t reliable enough. My hypo unawareness didn’t always require a CGM. I didn’t like all the data all the time. I probably wore a sensor every 6-8 weeks or so, for pattern finding or extra precaution when travelling or working nuttily.
I like the G4 much more. The data is more reliable. It’s more fun to look at. It’s not constantly blaring a lost signal alarm at me. We are better friends.
I’m more confident in the information that it is giving me and my ability to make correction throughout the day and longer term based on that information. Also, it’s pink, and that makes me happier when I look at it.
That’s everything I can think to type right now. Please feel free to ask me any specific questions you may have. I’ll try to answer to the best of my ability/experience so far.