On My Sleeve

Friday night I put a Dexcom sensor on my arm. Depending on who you talk to this is a big deal, or I’m merely joining the existing coalition of the willing. As of this paragraph, that was four days ago. Since then I’ve gone through a range of emotions and thoughts that have taken an unexpected amount of time to process. I’ll do what I can to gather my thoughts here, in case you were on the fence about throwing ‘bows at those FDA guidelines detailing Dexcom sensor placement.

My initial adjustment period to the arm sensor was likely shortened by living with Dayle. She was using an OmniPod for the first year and a half we were hanging out/living together so I had an idea of the restrictions and adjustments that have to be made when you put a medical device on your arm. Sure, the OmniPod is bigger than the Dexcom’s transmitter, but the same precautions have to be taken with respect to door frames, sleeping angles, putting on a shirt. Being exposed to that thought process, albeit indirectly, helped with some of the subconscious adjustments that take place.

I’ve been making a more deliberate effort to keep diabetes away from my stomach area lately. I’ve been injecting insulin into my thighs, despite the occasional inconvenience, for the past few months because the fear of never-healing scar tissue has been stuck in my brain. I can’t take a break from diabetes, but I can do my best to give parts of my body a break. Placing the Dexcom sensor on my arm is simply the next phase in acknowledged abdomen abandonment.

Despite the “advantages” previously mentioned, having the weekend to adjust to the sensor on my arm was a plus. Any initial worries I had about range of movement or likelihood of arm-bumpage was all but gone by the time I went to sleep Sunday night. While I was out and about during the weekend, there was a different mentality going in to Monday morning. I guess being around co-workers that I constantly interact with is different than the person browsing the broccoli selection at Wegmans. It’s not like a grocery shopper would take the time to comment on an Armed Dexcom.

While at work my mental state went from “no big deal” to “which way to the gun sho…oh, this? That’s a Dexcom sensor.” At times I wanted someone to ask about it because I thought the fact I managed to pull this off was really cool. Other times I didn’t make it a priority to be identified as having something different about me. I suppose this is what women sometimes go through when they get a haircut, right? Wrong? Eh, never mind. Anyway, I’m glad the “show off” phase of the Armed Dexcom passed. I’ve never been one to shy away from my diabetes – I’m not embarrassed by having to take shots in public. But I’m not the kind of person that makes it a priority to flaunt my diabetes to stir up conversation. Some people are more suited for that specific type of advocacy and education. Despite my many social media links on the sidebar of this blog, I’m not one to seek out attention. Especially like that.

Most of the time I don’t notice my Dexcom sensor when it’s placed on a more traditional location on my midsection. Having the sensor in a new spot like this makes me more aware of my surroundings, and my diabetes, but in a good way. I suppose I’m one step closer to understanding what it’s like to wear an insulin pump and managing the varying location of infusion sites. I know there’s still miles to go and obviously wearing a pump is the only way to really understand what that’s like, but I’m content with my setup thus far.

It’s only been four days so I can’t comment on any increased accuracy of the Dexcom’s readings. And even if the first seven days are spot-on, this should not be constituted as medical advice or endorsement of any kind. I took it upon myself to see what the fuss was about but that does not mean that an Armed Dexcom is necessary for you. So please don’t try this at home simply because that To Be Sugar Free guy did it. I’m no role model.

For those of you that have ventured into Alternative Dexcom Site Land, were there any major differences you noticed in Dexcom accuracy, comfort, or sensor life? Naturally this isn’t a scientific evaluation, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

4 thoughts on “On My Sleeve

  1. I pretty much ONLY wear my Dexcom on my arm. I find it to be the most accurate location for me. And the current one has been on there slightly longer than FDA suggestions (tomorrow will be day 19).

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  2. I’m with Sara – try to only use my arms for the CGM sites, and leave the pump infusion sets to my mid-section and legs. I’ve worried and had scar tissue before, and just feel more comfy having the two devices attached in different spots. Interesting perspective, on the weekend vs. weekday mental process- I’ve so had that same process, justing wanting someone to notice my triumph so I could talk about it. Hope the arm sites work for you, my friend. I’ll be interested to hear some future thoughts…

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  3. I haven’t noticed enough of a difference in accuracy based on where Dex is placed…but re understanding how a pump might feel- I was on MDI for 23ish years, started Dex 3ish years ago, and switched to a pump 8ish months ago. Having Dex helped me a ton with making the decision to switch to a pump- so I think your ‘understanding’ idea is a good and valid one.

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