Category Archives: CGM

My Non-Diabetic Husband Wore My Continuous Glucose Monitor for 2 Weeks and This is What Happened

I recently upgraded my Dexcom system to the G5, which has allowed me to ditch the G4 receiver. However, I still had some juice left in my G4 transmitter, so I asked Allen if he would be willing to wear it for a week – Just for a fun comparison of his blood sugars versus mine.

If you know my husband AT ALL, then you know he’s completely squeamish when it’s his own blood, but mostly fine when it’s someone else’s. He inserts my sensors without fuss, and goes with me to my quarterly blood draws, but when he had to get his blood drawn for a physical at his work, he passed out. So I figured he would say no to my proposal, but I was thrilled when he agreed to be my pincushion for a week. He agreed knowing full well that he was committing to the initial insertion plus calibrations.

When he was finally ready to do the insertion, we got comfy on the bed, with a bucket in case he puked, and we got to work.

I don’t usually insert Dexcom sensors, but I know most of how it works, so I stuck it on, and prepped him for the actual insertion. Luckily he didn’t flinch, and I quickly pulled the inserter off. There was a little blood but not too bad. He let me know that it didn’t hurt and he was doing okay.

But then I had to insert the transmitter piece. There’s a little plastic arm on the sensor base that makes inserting the transmitter easier. However, that piece had fallen off as it sometimes does, which makes the transmitter insertion harder. So when I tried to insert the transmitter, I had to push really hard.

Allen freaked out. He laid down to try not to pass out, and ended up sitting back up and vomiting. I started crying because I felt so bad for what I felt was “making him do this.”

Thankfully, a few minutes later, he and I both calmed down. He pulled up a YouTube video to distract himself and I quickly jimmied the transmitter into the sensor base without any more fuss.

So the experience began!

The first day, Allen ran high for a non-diabetic, but I think the readings were not accurate. There was probably a bad initial calibration or something, and once we added a few more calibrations, it fell into range.

(Allen’s numbers are on the pink receiver, mine are the screenshots)

The most interesting part was how steady his lines usually were compared to mine. I expected that he’d hover in the 80-100 range all the time, but not that he’d stay so completely steady even when eating high carb meals.

Even his “dawn phenomenon” wasn’t actually that – he had eaten right before sending me this screenshot below.

I think the most amazing comparison was this one of a 24 hour time span near the end of our 2 week experiment:

A typical non-diabetic and a typical diabetic for 24 hours. The difference was amazing. I even found myself trying extra-hard to be in a “normal” range to compete with him. Of course, I failed miserably, but it was a great experience.

I am so thankful for my husband being willing to experience a snippet of my life for two weeks. Even through our anniversary, a trip to Wisconsin, and many days of work, he carried that pink receiver without fuss. He said the transmitter in his arm didn’t bother him much at all. His tegaderm looked WAY better at the end of two weeks than mine EVER does. And removal when he was done was a piece of cake. Overall, it was a great learning experience for us both! (And he’s said he’ll never do it again… but we’ll see.)

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As 2016 Closes Out

For many people, 2016 was a horrible, no good, very bad year. So many celebrities died. Brexit happened. A very strange US election happened. All among other things.

But for me? 2016 was honestly amazing.

It feels almost like a bad thing for me to be saying that because so many people around me had such a terrible year, but it’s true. 2016 was great in so many ways for me.

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Apple Watch vs Pebble Time vs …Softball??

I recently joined a softball league that my work is sponsoring. I am NOT sporty/athletic but I had played in middle school on a league and we were really good (we won the city championships both years, the first year as underdogs!) plus my best friend Katie is the one who started assembling the league. 


Of course, things were way different when I played in middle school. I was 12/13 years old – it was literally half my life ago. I was in better shape and I was not diabetic at that time. 

Today is our first game. I’ve been struggling with finding the perfect bg balance during practices. Most times I’m running ultra high even though it’s been 90 degrees and super humid, but one practice I did crash low and had to sit and smash a few rolls of smarties while everyone else kept practicing. That sucked. 


As much as I LOVE my Apple Watch for monitoring my bg during various activities, I have to do what’s best for me out on the field so I can perform at my best. That’s why I made this decision: I will be wearing my Pebble Time while playing softball. Here’s why!


1) Constant display! The Simple CGM Spark watchface updates every time my Dexcom does meaning I have live readings at a glance! 

1a) I have to sidebar and note that the WatchSugar app I have on my Apple Watch is great, but it only updates every 20 minutes or so. This is an issue on Apples side of not updating Complications. It will be changed in WatchOS3 coming out next week where we can have timely Dexcom updates on the watchface. 

1b) Also note, the native Dexcom app gives live updates but it is not ON the watchface. I have to navigate to it. And then wait for it to update. I can’t use that much time staring at my watch while on the ball field!

2) I will be a LOT less devastated if my Pebble gets destroyed by a line drive than if my Apple Watch did. 

2a) The Pebble is pretty rugged. It has a couple scratches on the face, sure, but overall it’s pretty tough! Sadly I feel like my Apple Watch wouldn’t take the abuse as well. 

3) Since I’m only using it for softball, I shut off all the extra stuff on my pebble. I don’t need my calendar, or text message notifications, etc while I’m on the field. That’s a lot easier to do than switching those settings on and off all the time on my Apple Watch!

4) Battery life. The Pebble lasts way longer than the Apple Watch. Plus it charges so fast, I could throw it on the charger 10 minutes before a game and probably have enough juice for the whole game. Not the case with my Apple Watch. 


One of the big Cons to this setup is that my Move goals on the Apple Watch won’t be accurate. Of course I’m gonna be moving during the games and since I’m not wearing my Apple Watch, my “rings” won’t catch that movement and I’ll look super lazy on those days 😉 But it’s a small trade for the benefits of using my Pebble on the field!

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Call it Magic

I can never say enough about how grateful I am for the Dexcom Share technology, which is a direct result of the Nightscout developers and the #WeAreNotWaiting movement. They made wizardry with diabetes supplies and pressured companies to make data more accessible. I don’t know how they did it, other than some kind of tech magic. 


I had an engagement session today and I watched my blood sugar on my Pebble watch throughout it. Nothing major happened at this shoot. My life wasn’t in danger due to a rapidly rising or falling blood sugar. 


However, simply HAVING the technology and KNOWING that I was fine the entire time? It’s so beyond the thanks I could ever say. The peace of mind is truly priceless, because when I’m not distracted by wondering what my BG is, I’m able to give 150% of myself into what I’m doing. And that’s when the magic happens. 

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I never realized I’d have to give insulin for…

Cold medicine! 

I’ve been sick for like, forever. (Okay, I’m exaggerating. Realistically, it’s been a week and a half. But that feels like forever!) And it seems like no matter how much Robitussin and Sudafed I take, I’ve yet to really start feeling better. 

Luckily, my blood sugar levels have been very normal throughout the entire sickness (which usually isn’t the case!). Instead I’ve faced a new quirk in diabetes-land: most cold medicines contain things like high fructose corn syrup, which is in other words, sugar! And I’ve seen noticeable blood sugar changes after having a dose of medicine. 


The black line above my graph shows my blood sugar before taking my nightly dose of Robitussin. The blue line is the peak of the increase after taking it, when I finally bolused for the rise. 

All is well now that I know this medicine causes a rise in my blood sugar, and I’ll be paying closer attention to the ingredient listings in the future!

Fellow diabetics, what is something you never even thought to give yourself insulin for?

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Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk – Unless You’re Low

I reached a new level of low blood sugar last night – not in terms of actual mg/dl number, but in the events that transpired. 

When I went to bed last night, my blood sugar was a little high but on its way down. I woke up twice to correct for the low in the night, eating a total of three rolls of smarties. 

Then at 3am, my husband rolled over and woke me up, complaining that both my Dexcom and my Enlite cgms were alarming (because I’m running both at the moment for a future blog post). In my low and half-asleep stupor, I yelled at him that I had already eaten a bunch of smarties, before I finally rolled out of bed to get a glass of milk. 

I made it to the kitchen, tested my blood sugar (72) and calibrated both cgms. I grabbed the chocolate milk and began pouring it into a glass. But I started to feel weird, like I was going to pass out. I raised the glass up to my lips and immediately it fell out of my hands and spilled all over the counter, the floor, my dexcom and myself. The room was spinning. I stumbled and sat down on the floor of the kitchen and mustered up enough strength to yell for my husband. 

Allen jumped out of bed and, seeing what had happened, quickly poured me a new glass of milk. He got a towel to clean up the mess, and also grabbed his phone to snap a picture of the mess, because he knew I’d want it for my blog. 

    
Meanwhile I sat in a ball on the floor, drinking my milk and trying not to cry. I was so embarrassed that I had lost control like that, especially when I wasn’t even all that low! But every low is different and diabetes is still unpredictable. I’m just thankful that the cgm technology I am lucky enough to have did its job and woke Allen up. 

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Frankensensor! 

It’s spooky. It’s weird. It’s gross. It’s the Frankensensor!

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A Mazda and a Maserati

The Enlite CGM system was the reason I ended up getting the Medtronic Minimed 530G as my first insulin pump in December 2013. I really liked the idea of only having to wear one device on me at all times. And the Dexcom wasn’t compatible with the pump I really wanted, the Tandem T-Slim. So I ended up trusting my endo and went with the 530G with Enlite.

A few months after receiving my pump, I heard about Nightscout for the first time. It was a Dexcom exclusive movement in the early days. I became a lurker on the CGM in the Cloud Facebook page, waiting anxiously for the day that Nightscout would work with my Enlite. And finally at the end of 2014, I was notified that Nightscout for Enlite had been born and was testing. It took me a few months to get the supplies, but eventually, I was in the Cloud with a rig of my own!

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002. Mud Run! 

This weekend I participated in a 5k mud run in my city to benefit the local gym/fitness center. Myself and several coworkers signed up to do it together, and I received permission for my husband to follow us through the course to monitor my blood sugar via my Dexcom.

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We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

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