I hate pricks…. Of all kinds…. Particularly the ones that I need to endure every day. That is why I am so incredibly happy to have found the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). It is said by many people within the diabetes world that the CGM is the best invention for diabetics right behind insulin. That is saying a lot considering insulin literally keeps us alive.
Now, when I said I hate pricks of all kinds I meant it but in this particular case, I was talking about pricking my fingers. Unfortunately, this is the most common method for diabetics to test their blood glucose levels. This method can surely lead to madness after almost 5 years of, on average, 4 pricks per day. My fingerpads started to lose sensation and become calloused. At 31, heck at any age, there’s nothing sexy about that. Due to my new leather paws, multiple pricks were necessary for even the small amount of blood necessary for testing (I have wasted SO many test strips due to this but that is another story). It wasn’t until my friend with the American Diabetes Association mentioned the Freestyle Libre that I started paying more attention to this technology. When I first got diagnosed in 2013, I did a “blind study” where I wore a CGM for three days and then reviewed it with my nurse practitioner to analyze trends. To be honest, I don’t really remember much about wearing it or the data that it showed because I was dead set against having something attached to me. I do wish I still had the picture I took showing it on my ribs though!
Fast forward 5 years and I CANNOT rave about this technology enough. A continuous glucose monitor is placed right beneath the skin and takes blood glucose readings every 15 minutes. You can wear it multiple places on your body with some extra cushion (I wear mine on the back of my arm) and it typically gets changed every 10-14 days. Not only do I not have to prick my fingers anymore, the CGM is so fancy it tells me how quickly my blood glucose is rising or falling. Let’s say I took an old school finger stick reading and my bg is at 85 – I would think I was dominating my sugars for that day with no knowledge of where my numbers were headed. If I took that same reading with my CGM, either a down arrow is displayed showing I am dropping, an up arrow showing I am headed towards an increase, or simply a horizontal arrow showing I am, in fact, in total domination. With regular pricks, you just get a number (haha isn’t that the truth) but with the CGM you know exactly where you stand and where you are going (amen to that!).
There are many types of continuous glucose monitors out there and right now I use the Freestyle Libre. It comes with a handheld scanner that you swipe over the sensor and boom, there’s your reading. I call that the “right type of swipe”. Other models have features that include sending data straight to your cell phone and also high and low alerts. For right now I do not tend to drop too much below the “scary” point so I am happy with the Freestyle Libre but am fascinated and am in full support of any and all other types of CGM’s.
Again, I cannot speak HIGH enough about the continuous glucose monitor and how it helps manage diabetes. I test more, correct more, prevent highs and lows, and have so much more confidence when it comes to managing my blood glucose. So if you are feeling up to it jump on the bionic train I almost guarantee that you won’t regret it!