Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)

I’ve been using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) for over a year now to help me keep type 2 diabetes at bay. I knew it was an amazing tool at the start, but a year of steady use and I can happily and without exaggeration say….

It is life changing.

Being able to contrast life trying to reverse type 2 diabetes 8 years ago using meds/insulin/finger-sticks/blood tests with staying healthy eating low carbohydrate and right now having a gadget to give me real-time feedback about my choices with the swipe of my phone…. More than a few times I’ve had deep, grateful moments of realizing I have instant info and can take action to make things different. Right now! HOLY SMOKES! That feedback and implementing those changes in the past would have taken MONTHS of waiting and follow-up blood tests and endless finger sticks to basically GUESS at a next best direction.

It’s a small ‘button’ I wear on the back of my arm for 2 weeks at a time. It collects data 24/7. When the two weeks are up, the app warns me – and I insert/attach a new one to the other arm… SMALL, tiny, flex-tubing inserts in my arm. DOES NOT hurt, I barely feel it or notice it at all. PROMISE.

I can instantly scan the ‘button’ with the app on my phone and get information 24/7 about what’s going on in my body.

Happy to see the entire line in the green bar… That’s my goal! STAY IN THE GREEN!

I can tell how stress, sleep, activity, food are all impacting my glucose. Hell – I can tell when I am starting to get sick or accidentally got some sugar in food.

ShingRx shot threw my body for a loop. Wasn’t just my imagination — we could SEE it….

It’s an awesome, unobtrusive ‘detective’ sitting passively on my arm and collecting data for me! It allows me to make the ‘next best choice’ and take action for my own health. Over short periods of time I can use the information it provides to figure out what works best for ME. {Obligatory reminder… This little gem of a tool is in addition to regular health care. It is NOT a replacement for regular visits and care.}

I am metabolically – pick your favorite word – deranged/damaged/fragile. I did years and years of ‘training’ my body to work and respond in a certain way. That’s the nice way to say my lifestyle and food choices did some hefty damage. Now I get to live a slightly different life than the normal person to stay my healthy best and off meds. I now have this great tool that gives me positive reinforcement and helps me answer questions in real time about me and my body and how it reacts to what I do/put in my body.

You want a concrete, personal example of what’s different for me? I aim to keep my glucose readings to stay from 80-120 mg/dL (The green stripe on the screen shot above). I work to keep it ‘between the lines’. It would be amazing if I could keep it at 80 mg/dL around the clock. But bodies, life and glucose don’t work that way. 🙂 I took insulin and meds for years. Now I don’t. I would love to never, ever have to take any of them again. So, given that Type 2 Diabetes is largely a lifestyle disease – the results rest in large part on me and my day-by-day choices and habits. I use food and activity to control my health and stay out of the diabetic range. So for me, I try to move 6 days a week with sweat and intention. I try to keep my net carbs at/below 50 grams a day. THAT seems to be the sweet spot my body works at and responds to the best. I now know all of this life-changing information because I have a year of working with a CGM. The combination mentioned above is what gives me consistently good readings. 🙂

I do pay out of pocket for this sucker. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for prevention. (Yes… I’m sitting here cussing about that like I do on the regular…) Yet I am lucky that I can find some creative ways to make it work because a year into using this device I KNOW I can take smart, educated, fast choices for my own best long-term health. I would encourage anyone who knows that they have a pre-diabetes/diabetes diagnosis or one they suspect a diagnosis is looming around the bend to think about asking your Doc to prescribe one of these. This could be the tool that helps you avoid that specific and dangerous footpath and puts you back on a health track. If you’re pondering it, wondering about it all – please reach out! I’m happy to talk about any/all of it. I was a skeptic. I wasn’t sure it could help me. I thought it would be a pain in the ass or wouldn’t be accurate or would hurt 24/7…. But a year into using it I have too much hard evidence that this thing is helping me make sustainable, healthy changes that work specifically (and maybe only!) for ME. It’s not a mass-market diet or silver bullet or cure-all; but it’s one hell of a tool to help you find your best long-term health.

Special thanks to Dr. Mark Cucuzzella and Christina van Hilst, DNP with the West Virginia University Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Health for the help and guidance in this whole year-long process. If you are interested in using this technology reach out to their center at 304-596-5038.

2 thoughts on “Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)

  1. if more people had a handle on their health strategies ( like you do), the world would be a different place!
    Congratulations, as always! Another inspiring episode.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post Betsy. Would be interested to know the deets on how you navigated getting the CGM on your own. Contact info, costs, etc. I struggle enough getting CGM covered for patients on medicaid/medicare insurance.

    Liked by 1 person

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