Lines of the Bee

Getting stung by a bee isn't my idea of a good time. Actually, it terrifies the fructose out of me and I firmly believe that these stinging insects are, in fact, evil. The yellow and black stripes clearly mark the evil intent of these sinister insect aggressors, and I've written about this before.

But none of that really matters now, as I've resorted to getting stung on a regular basis, at least on a temporary trial run, and the stinger stays inside me 24-7 anywhere from three days to 2 weeks.

The bees, er... sensors that enjoy stinging me

Take a look, right over there ---->

See, doesn't this really sorta look like a BEE WITH A STINGER???? One that plunges into your body, sinks below the skin, settles in underneath that subcutaneous layer, and then lounges there for as long as possible.

Yes, as you may have guessed: I'm talking about a Minimed Continuous Glucose Monitor, of the Paradigm 523 Revel variety.

A fellow Type 1 my mom knows up in Michigan (previous guest-poster known as Vampire Girl) had a number of extra boxes of CGM sensors that she wasn't going to use by the time they expire, so she pawned them off on me in hopes I could make some use of them. While I did put out a message in the Diabetes Online Community about the availability of some extra supplies, but after not hearing anything made the conclusion that maybe I could get some use of these myself.

Previously trial testing two of the three CGMs (as it was in early 2010), I'd tested out the Abbott Freestyle Navigator courtesy of my mom's use in late 2009 and then later did a trial-run of the Dexcom 7 Plus. I hadn't heard positive news about the Minimed, but wanted to try it out myself before making any final decision. Especially since I use a 722 Paradigm myself and it'd be nice to have pump and CGM all in one unit, if accuracy and everything else was the same.

So, the chance came at me and it soon became clear I'd be able to trial-run the Revel, courtesy of a loaner from the local MM pump rep Ryan Seller who I met at D-Camp last year. He hooked me up with a colleague of his and the trial test began a week ago. My first observation about the sensor: it looks like a bee, with all those strips. The CGM trainer laughed in agreement, then we moved on to the basics and got it all started.

In the seven days, I've been initially impressed with the Revel 523 CGM, which I've decided to name Larry The Loaner (you know, since it's a loaner device)! Though it looks like a bee, the first sensor actually didn't hurt going in and I hadn't had any pain or uneasiness with it in me during the initial days.

Of course, the first hurdle I faced was not realizing that this new CGM-capable device was, in fact, a series model lower than what I currently use (didn't know my loaner would be a 523, versus a 723 that's a step up from what I use now). That meant I was expecting to be able to use the 300 unit reservoirs rather than the smaller 180 unit versions actually needed for the 523.


Luckily, my mom had left a bag with some unused 1.8 ml reservoirs.. and I also had a few leftoftver from a misorder from Minimed in the past. So, I've got enough for a few weeks of this trial run, it seems. So that's a bonus!

Then there's Accuracy... Well, it ain't perfect. But it's not expected to be.

The 3-hour straight line, prior to a taco meal!
 I've also found that Larry is most accurate when numbers are between 80 and 200, but lose the accuracy as they get very Low or go into the 200s. None of my numbers have hit 300 in the past week, in large part because I'm watching and aware of what is going on. Mostly, I'm watching for the trends and trying my best to not just chase the Highs or Lows. That's easier said than done, though.

The first week has shown some trends in morning "dawn phenom" highs, pre-lunch and late afternoon dips that I'd already suspected were happening. But having it presented in actual CGM line charts and data is like seeing documented proof of a long-suspected hypothesis. Sometimes, the glucoaster effect is present - particularly following meals, and it's certainly interesting to try and time the CGM and insulin delays with the food effect that are all combining to change the course of your BGs.

After day seven, my BG average for the past week was 157 mg/dL. Can't argue much with that, though I'm cognizant of the fact that it's likely because of the increase attention.

The sensor isn't flappy as I'd heard was the case from others, though I have had it taped down and that hasn't been an issue. On Sunday morning while still in bed before 6 a.m., I managed to turn over and felt the rip of the taped sensor from my stomach. An "Oh Eff" crossed my lips and my eyes opened. That debut sensor managed to stay on, though, and some extra tape strips helped secure it back on for the rest of the day. We'll see how long that lasts, but I'm hoping to get as much life out of this first sensor as possible.

So there we are. Overall, I am happy so far after Week One with Larry the Loaner. In the time we have left, I will be watching and trying to learn from whatever Lines the Bee may show me.

A video blog may be on tap soon, but I just haven't found the motivation or time to get that done (also have been putting it off until I can get a long-overdue haircut). So we'll see, but I'll keep everyone updated as the trial test continues for this unspecified period of time.

Larry is also looking forward to some guest-posts here, too, and word is at least one of his fellow CGMs may even be interested in stopping by and saying hello before long! So, stay tuned!


Judi said…
Another good thing about a CGMS unit is, when you change your site, you can see much faster when you have it in a bad place. It's much easier to catch the high and change out the bad site before you get really high from it.

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