Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wait, You Do That Yourself?

When I first started using a Dexcom, I exclusively utilized my stomach for sites. I was simultaneously placing insulin pump infusion sites on the belly region as well, so as you might guess, I started to run out of "good" real estate. There are only so many places you can put those things, and I was growing frustrated. And itchy.

It wasn't until I started finding other people with diabetes (and Dexcoms) online that I learned of other places those little gray suckers can go: hips, side-butts, lower back, legs and arms. I tried each new terrain and found success, but saved the arms for last. More honestly, I procrastinated trying them as long as I could self-justify, because the idea of wearing a sensor there freaked me out. What if I did it wrong? (I haven't, yet.) What if I kept knocking the transmitter on door frames? (That happens. The sensor still survives.) What if it was completely inaccurate, and I end up wasting a sensor? (Again, no. The arm sites actually seem more accurate to me than other sites.) What if the adhesive sticks to my shirt sleeve, and I rip it off while getting dressed in the morning? (Hasn't happened... yet.) What if some stranger comes up and starts fondling it? (Yep - it happened.)

A few months back, I finally summoned the courage needed to give an arm site the old college try. My heart raced. WHAT IF I HIT A NERVE AND RUIN THIS ARM? (I didn't. And I've never heard of it happening, either.)

Turns out arm sites are NBD. They are so much so that I'm wearing them more often than any other site, and enjoying that "out of the way" feeling they provide me. I've also discovered that I don't need to call in my husband reinforcements when jabbing a new sensor in - I can handle this myself, like a real grown-up lady, thankyouverymuch.

There may be some who wonder, "How?" And for you, I made this.


  1. I love the arms so much, that's been the only place we've been putting them on my little boy lately. But, unlike a womanly adult like myself, he doesn't have the fat stores there that would what make the whole process seem less intrusive; his arms are pretty much skin and bone. It's too bad, because the arms are pretty much the only place I can use the sensor to get the full 7 days. Before we were just using the tush. And we typically only made five days there...

  2. Dude! I just realized I have been making it harder on myself by inserting them upside-down. The hardest part for me is getting the inserter to release, so why don't I use gravity?! Duh! Thanks friend!!!

  3. "What up receiver!" CLASSIC! I had kinda figured that little trick out too before I switched over to MM. Now I gotta figure out THAT trick. ;-)

  4. I so need to switch over to a Dexcom. It looks so much easier and less masochistic than the Medtronic. (If only it could talk to the pump...)

  5. I have yet to try my CGM in my arm . . . . maybe I should make that a 2012 goal!! Like Scott E said, the MM CGM is a bit more difficult on insert so I'd probably need a hand (ha ha ha, get it!) but maybe I'll draft Pea one day when he's home on Sensor Day!!

  6. Echoing Sara! I've been doing them in the wrong direction this WHOLE time!

  7. Thanks for the YouTube clip -- can't wait to try this (oh, come to think of it, I'll wait till my present sensor is due to be changed...)
    William W. Quick, MD, FACP, FACE

    Coming in the Spring of 2012:
    A fabulous website for people with diabetes to learn and to share. By health professionals. For beginners, experts, and everyone in between!

  8. My dexcom arrives tomorrow and I can't wait!! I wear my Omnipod(yes, that big clunky white thing) on my arms and LOVE it but it's been a year and I'm running out of real estate. Worried about where to wear the Dexcom. Thinking about thighs and lower back. I've never been able to do the stomach, not even for 26 years of injections! So anymore site advice and suggestions would be much appreciated!

  9. Ummm, why didn't I ever think of taking that thing (you know the worthless thing?) out before sticking the other thing on???
    I just changed mine an hour ago... Rats!!!

  10. This is really helpful! I'm thinking about getting a Dexcom and the part that I've been worried about is where the heck to put another site!

  11. DUDE!!!!!

    Ok, I'm a HUGE fan of doing Dexcom sites in my arms. But I've NOT been able to one on my own. With gravity, a mirror (or webcam screen), this is so totally going to happen next time I need a switch!

    Thanks, Kim. You rule. And that receiver... needs to just calm the heck down and stop craving webcam attention.


  12. One, I'm impressed. I've already asked @mod4acure to come help when I finally muster the courage to try my arm. Two, can we make #likeaperm a new catch phrase?

  13. When installing the MM CGM sensor, make sure you know which way to slide the inserter off before you do the inserting. If you can remember that, it's not too difficult. But start with your left arm if you are right handed, or vice versa, for at least the first time. Why make it more difficult? :-)

  14. Of course I am the tool who completely failed at this. I walk out of my room, down the hall, and wake my son up to help me get the effing inserter off.

    Gravity is not my friend.

    I am a fan of arm sites but hadn't used one in a while. I'll try it again next time but man I was bummed.

    Gravity is cool most of the time but yesterday it sucked. LOL

  15. George - noooo! :( That totally sucks. I hope it goes more smoothly next time.

  16. Thanks for this great video. I've been thinking about trying my arm but.....
    When you use your abdomen your supposed to squeeze the area you are inserting in. I see you are not doing this on your arm. Just as a clarification your upper are looks mostly muscle. Is it? Thanks for you help

  17. Hi Hank! Thank you for the compliment, but no, my arm is mostly scar tissue and Strawberry Jell-O. :)

    You are correct, however, that I don't pinch up the skin when I insert a new sensor. I actually never do that - regardless of where I'm putting it (abdomen included).

  18. Thanks for the great tutorial...tried it for the first time and I may never go back!

  19. Hey!! Brand new to the site as of today!! Got your website from your cousin (I'm in Elkhorn!) Question: went to the Dexcom website to request more info-- they said "not FDA approved for pediatric use" ?? I saw many YouTube videos on your site with kids that had the Dexcom (??) I am also relatively new to dang diabetes (my son Sam- diagnosed March 5, 2012 --- I call it D-Day ) so I am not too sure about all this! Please advise ;) Julie/Sam

    1. Hi there! I'm actually not sure what the rules are right now with Dexcoms being approved for kids... I may refer some people here to answer your question, who know more about that than I do. :)

      I'm glad you found me, and it's nice to meet you! Email me anytime; I'm happy to help however I can.

    2. The DexCom is not FDA approved for use in pediatric patients. It's my understanding that they did not submit their system to the FDA for approval for kids, so it's more of a technicality.

      DexCom fully supports pediatric patients who are prescribed it by their doctor.

      Our 8 year old started using the DexCom this summer. We had to have a letter of medical necessity, plus all of the paper work that both DexCom and our insurance required (BG logs, number of lows, etc.).

      I have been writing about starting the DexCom and choosing a CGM the past couple of weeks on my site D-Mom Blog.

      Lots of kids use the CGM even though it isn't FDA approved for them.

      DexCom is currently conducting pediatric trials of their new G4 Platinum system so that it can be submitted to the FDA approval.

  20. Dexcom Gen 4 is now in pediatric trials. Many pediatric endos, however, will prescribe it anyway. We got ours right before the labeling changed. My daughter was 3 at the time. Still using- and still loving it 3 years later! Hope that helps?? I've got a few Dexcom posts on my blog. It is my most prized D gadget. For reals!

  21. Welcome Julie! Kim is a wonderful resource to the diabetes community, and her You Can Do This Project initiative is incredibly inspiring!

    There are many elements to diabetes care that do not receive pediatric approval prior to being used in the management of the pediatric population. Lantus is a good example -- to this day it still isn't approved for the use in children less than 6 years of age...even still, my daughter rec'd a daily Lantus injection for 18 months 7 years ago, starting at the age of 2.

    Part of the problem is that the FDA really doesn't have a set of guidelines in place so these companies CAN even submit for pediatric approval.

    The Dex Gen4 is in pediatric clinical trials right now. On the day the FDA approval was announced, the CEO of Dexcom also reported that they are expecting pediatric approval by the end of this year/beginning of next. You can listen to the G4 Platinum Conference Call here...


    Nice to "meet" you!

  22. Kim, thank you for sharing ur Dexcom arm insertion technique. It's because of u that I can now insert in my arm successfully and completely independently!! Woo Hoo!! No more being dependent on hubby being home to change my sensor!! And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE using my arms for Dex. It's out of the way and VERY accurate!! U rock, girl!!!

  23. I love reading about everyone that is using, and loving, the Dexcom CGM. Starting to write about diabetes too, and it is so encouraging to hear your entertaining voice on here. :)

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