Technology for diabetes has not always been as accessible as it is today. And there are a lot of misconceptions shrouding things like insulin pumps and Continuous Glucose Meters (CGM's). But I feel like we're finally emerging from the fog and all these vital appliances are becoming available and better understood.
I'm on cloud nine to have received National Health Service (NHS) funding for a CGM. Here's my Dexcom kit below, which arrived this week.
A CGM is a small sensor, which sits beneath the skin, to give the user an indication of what their blood sugars are. I say indication because the technology is not always as accurate as a finger prick test. The Dexcom G5 is pretty damn spot on a lot of the time though. You are even allowed to make certain treatment decisions based solely on the data coming from a G5, as it has approval for this. Not for the G4 sadly.
The most important thing about a CGM? It's not just a snapshot of your blood sugar level RIGHT NOW. It shows you, with arrows, which direction you are headed. This is revolutionary, radical and profound.
It took patience, investment and a lot of chasing to get; but this piece of kit is truly life-changing.
In August last year, I was told to invest in a Dexcom myself and wear it for 3 months, to see if it suited me and to collect data. We made the leap and went for the top of the range G5, hoping it would be a short-term gig. These things are not cheap!
Three months on, I wrote a letter to my local Hospital with evidence of the improvements I'd achieved with the Dexcom. Hard facts. And the evidence was irrefutable.
To make funding possible, there's a list of specific reasons which The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will accept for funding approval. Your medical team will find out which one fits your situation. Fear of hypoglycemia (low blood sugars) is mine. It is not a fun thing to go to bed wondering if you will ever wake up again and a fear of 'lows' is completely justifiable and common in People with Diabetes (PWD).
I chased up my application for another 6 months, and then . . .
This baby arrived this week!
It seems a little strange to get excited about giant needles arriving in the post! But I roll with the punches nowadays.
I was given the G4, which has a few differences to the G5, but nothing I was too concerned about. Shortly after receiving my G4 I was told that G5 funding is likely to be approved for PWD very soon.
The G5 hooked up to my iPhone to give readings on a phone app, instead of (or as well as) a separate receiver. That's the black box in the image above. I fell out of love with this fast, as the alarms were harder to switch off and at a full-time day job, it simply wasn't practical. The alarms are deafening and we found them impossible to turn down or off.
Barry loved it though! He could access my data wherever he was on his phone too. So, up in London he was seeing my blood sugar results as they happened. I even managed to find a mobile phone app which hooks up to the Amazon Alexa, so I could ask Alexa what my blood sugars were. Crazy times!
It felt as though some of those 'we're only about another fifteen years away from.....' promises had finally come to fruition.
This is not part of the kit, below, but essential to keeping my CGM stuck on.
Skin Tac™ is the weirdest stuff. It is like a wet wipe of glue. When this stuff gets on your fingers, it's a real battle to get it off again! Barry has stuck his hands together a lot helping me put my Dexcom on.
That's where the Zoff™ comes in! This is the antidote to any glue like substance and it removes it in seconds. Together the two form a powerful toolkit for keeping strange looking diabetes appliances stuck onto chosen body parts.
These samples arrived this week too:
Mike Mangus, the founder and president of StayPut™ kindly agreed to send me these free samples, all the way from the United States. What a great Company.
These adhesive pads are essential for CGM wearers, as they keep them in place. Without them, a Dexcom sticky patch can last me as little as 1 day. With them, up to 1 month.
Full review to follow as soon as I place a new CGM and kindly ask my man to take some photos for me :-)
Happy weekends to you all.
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