Time Without CGM? No Big Deal, Right?

I am a big fan of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). I’ve used CGM for a more than a decade. I think it’s a tremendously valuable layer of information, and I’d argue that continuous glucose monitoring has been the the biggest improvement in diabetes since blood sugar monitors became available in the mid 1980s. 

Aside from the high and low alerts, continuous monitoring brings so much awareness of blood sugar levels. It’s possible to actually see how food, exercise, insulin, stress, and more play games with our blood sugars – and we can see that in almost real-time. This is something many of us never thought would be possible, and now it’s an everyday reality for many people with diabetes. 

Not long ago, my Dexcom G5 transmitter reached the end of its 3-month life and died. It was the last one I had. Thankfully, I was already working with Dexcom and my new insurance to upgrade to the Dexcom G6 system, but it was taking a long time. Dexcom’s service was great. They did everything they could to expedite the order, but we encountered problem after problem.

It’s no surprise, right? These things often take longer than they should. I was in the middle of starting on new insurance, transitioning into a new endocrinology office, and setting up my new care team, so there were a lot of factors involved.

I had to face the reality of time without a CGM. I wasn’t happy about it. But how many years have I done diabetes without? I figured the time without would be a pain, but tolerable. To up the stakes even more, I’ve been using a DIY Loop system to automate my insulin delivery and adjustments. But with no CGM in play, my Loop system was also offline. 

No big deal, right? I got this.

The reality?

How did it feel taking a big step backward?

It sucked. Suuuuuuuuuucked. I hated every moment spent without the extra information that CGMs provide and the automation that Loop provides. I had many more highs and many more lows.

Doing the best I could, checking my blood sugar often, and applying all of the lessons learned over many years, my diabetes management was still awful.

To me, it’s clear that I want as much automation and help as I can get in managing my diabetes. I want CGM in my diabetes management toolkit, and I want automated insulin delivery in my diabetes management toolkit. No questions asked. 

Back online – what’s next?

Things got so much better once my Dexcom G6 system arrived and I got back online. With highly-accurate CGM information flowing into my DIY Loop system, my days and nights have been much better. Not perfect, but much better. And I’m so impressed with the Dexcom G6 system. The accuracy is amazing, and the automatic insertion is a thing of beauty. I love it.

CGM and automated insulin delivery is something I wish everyone could easily afford and use. 

There’s a lot happening around automated insulin delivery and it’s going to be an exciting time for us. One company moving things along is Tandem Diabetes Care. Their current t:slim X2 with Basal-IQ™ technology suspends basal insulin based on CGM readings when low blood sugars are predicted.

I’m wearing a trial t:slim X2 with Basal-IQ for about 90-days. I’m excited to share my experiences as time goes on. I’m also very excited about their Control-IQ™ technology which is currently in trials. Stay tuned!

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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