My continuous glucose monitor (CGM) has taught me so many things since I’ve had it. (A little over a year.) I’ve had both the Metronic Guardian and the Dexcom G4. My Dexcom is definitely my preferred CGM for a boatload of reasons. Anyway, I’ve learned a great many things having a CGM, and I’ve never really talked about that in a post, so I thought I should. So here we go.
The main benefit of a CGM is being able to see what your blood sugar does in real time. Why is that important? Well, it gives you an idea of how fast or slow your blood sugar changes when you eat certain foods, or when you exercise, or when you take certain medications or supplements, and many other reasons.
For instance, since I’ve had my Dexcom, I’ve learned that when I eat cheese my blood sugar doesn’t rise immediately, but rises 2 hours later, and if I take a dual wave bolus, it helps with that rising blood sugar 2 hours later. Previously, this used to cause a roller coaster anytime I ate something with lots of cheese. Now I know how to deal with it because I could see the blood sugar in real time. I’ve also learned that when I exercise, my blood sugar drops ever so slowly over an 8 hour period, so my CDE helped me develop a good workout basal so I don’t drop in my sleep. I would not have noticed this without my CGM. Most importantly, it’s allowed me to realize that my insulin doesn’t behave the way my doctors always told me it did. I was always told that you check your blood sugar 2 hours after eating, and if it’s high, correct. WRONG!!! That’s why I’ve lived on a damn roller coaster most of my life. I’ve learned that the reason we program our pumps with a 4 hour active insulin timeframe, is because it really does keep working for 4 hours. If I correct after 2 hours, I go low. I have to wait a full 4 hours before issuing a correction. Without seeing my blood sugar in real time, this would not have happened. Things like this are why having a CGM can teach you things you might not ever notice without it.
A nice freedom I’ve discovered in having my Dexcom, is that when I’m out on the disc golf course, or at the renaissance faire (my 2 favorite summer pastimes), I no longer have to carry all of my supplies with me on the course or the at the faire. All I need is my Dex, and a tube of glucose tabs. As long as my needles, spare insulin, OneTouch, test strips, and poker are all nearby, I’ll be fine, but I don’t need to have them with me anymore. That’s an unexpected freedom of having a CGM that I never thought of until the first time I went out on the course this spring. It was totally freeing.
On a final note, there’s nothing more cool than going to my first diabetes conference/expo, and my first dinner party with type 1′s, and seeing everyone pull out their CGM’s all at once at the table. That was totally cool! My blood sugar was high that day, but I wasn’t alone, which made me feel like someone understood. It was a really hard feeling to explain. A feeling like I’m actually standing there, talking to people, that get it.