Reviewing the Medtronic Guardian® Link Sensor

Reviewing the Medtronic Guardian® Link Sensor

Reviewing the Medtronic Guardian® Link Sensor

On my last post, I mentioned to you all that I ordered the Medtronic MiniMed 630G with the Guardian® Link glucose sensor. I received my order on Wednesday of last week and had my training this past Sunday. Here is my review.

 

Getting Started

To begin, I have to say, the delivery was fast, although, there was a problem with the delivery. I asked for the delivery to be shipped to my office, but it was shipped to my house, I wasn’t home, so they left a note telling me I needed to drive 60km to the “nearest” FedEx to pick it up. I called Medtronic right away and they were extremely helpful. I ended up getting my box the next day at the office.

As you can see in the header image above, the box was full of sensor and insulin pump equipment – 11lbs worth, to be exact. It was a little overwhelming at first (still is a bit overwhelming), but at least I know what each item is at this point.

 

What’s in the Box

Inside this 11lb box, there were the following items:

• Guardian® Link Glucose Sensor Transmitter
• Extra ENLITE® Sensors (which work with the Guardian® Link transmitter)
• Contour® Next Link 2.4 meter (with lancets, test stripes, a carrying case, etc.)

• Medtronic MiniMed insulin pump
• Tubing
• Infusion Sets
• 7 Training books and 1 Contour® Next Link 2.4 quick guide book

I’m sure I’m missing some items, but these are the main items.

Training

The training process is great. The Medtronic certified trainer that I had was amazing. She took the time to explain everything to me, asked me if I had any questions or concerns and got me started on the Guardian® Link. We made an appointment to meet this Sunday to hook me up to the pump, which I may be cancelling, I’ll explain later. All in all, the training process was extremely helpful and educational.

 

The Guardian® Link

Now, let me tell you about the Guardian® Link, which was the whole reason I chose the Medtronic MiniMed over the Omnipod.

The first thing my certified trainer told me was that with this glucose sensor, you still need to check your blood glucose 4 times a day, in fact, the only way the Guardian® Link will work, is if you do so. Right after she told me this, I was confused and a little frustrated. As you may know, I currently use the Freestyle Libre, which is extremely accurate for a SG (sensor glucose). I rarely need to use a finger prick, unless I don’t feel low or high when the sensor is telling me that I am. 99% of the time, my freestyle is right, and I just didn’t feel it.

To go from 1-2 finger pricks a week, to have to go back to 4 times a day is unimaginable. Some of you may think I’m being dramatic, but once you understand the freedom of scanning your sensor without having to sit down, pull out test strips (drop half of them on the floor), making sure your hands are clean, pricking your finger and then hoping enough blood comes out for the test strip to be accepted. It’s like someone giving you a cell phone and telling you that the only way you can use it is if you keep it plugged into the outlet. What’s the point?!

It gets worse (from my perspective at least)

If you don’t check your BG when it tells you to, your sensor will stop working. Not only that, it will beep or vibrate (depending on your settings) until you do so. So, if you forget your Contour® Next Link 2.4 meter at work or at home, and you need to calibrate your sensor, too bad, it will not work. To me, it’s like giving you freedom and then taking it all away from you. As far as I know, if your sensor is still attached to your arm/ insertion spot, the alarm will keep ringing minimum every hour until you check your BG.

I learned this the hard way last night, when I realized I forgot the Contour® Next Link 2.4 meter at work. So I was woken up at 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am, etc. to tell me I need to calibrate the sensor. I was pretty close to ripping it out of my arm and throwing the insulin pump outside, but I didn’t.

 

If You’re Buying the MiniMed for the Predictive Highs and Lows

Don’t. Unless you absolutely need to be warned with alarms, go with the Freestyle Libre. Even if you need the alarms, I would suggest the Dexcom before suggesting this one. Don’t buy this for the sensor. Most people, which I just found out now, don’t use the Guardian® Link with the MiniMed 630G insulin pump, because of the above mentioned issues.

 

What’s Next

The reason I chose the Medtronic over the Omnipod, was because of the sensor that worked with the insulin pump. Now that I know I dislike the sensor, I think I’m going to switch to the tubeless Omnipod. I’ll write another post when or if I make the switch or if I end up staying with Medtronic. I’ll also let you know why.

 

 

Do you use an insulin pump, a CGM or both? Which one do use and why? What are your pros and cons?
Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER:
I am not a medical professional and should not be taken as such. I am only speaking from personal experience. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have regarding your diabetes.

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Freestyle Libre – Not So Fun on Your Belly

Freestyle Libre – Not So Fun on Your Belly

Freestyle Libre

Not so fun on your belly

FreeStyle Libre

I tried using the Freestyle Libre sensor on my belly, it didn’t work out too well. Here’s my feedback.

Reason #1 of why I hated it

There’s nothing worse that feeling the sensor. When it is on your stomach, at least where I placed mine, I could feel it constantly. When I sat down, when I turned to the side. Don’t let me begin with how uncomfortable it was in my Yoga and Pilates classes. Actually, let me tell you. It’s great when your laying flat on your back or standing straight, but as soon as you bend forward it’s there and you feel it! Think sit-ups, bending to tie your shoes, sitting down and your jeans come up a bit – OUCH! Never again will I wear my sensor on my belly, literally never.

Reason #2 of why I hated it

I started to notice on day 7 that my sensor wasn’t accurate – at all. There is an up to 20% discrepancy, but my Freestyle Libre results were way off! I checked my sugar one morning and the screen read LO (which means 2.2mmol/L or under). I didn’t feel low at all, so I checked with my regular glucose monitor, which read 6.5mmol/L! To me, this is a huge difference. It’s a matter of drinking a juice box pretty quickly versus going back to work without a worry. It didn’t stop there, my CGM readings were always much lower than my regular glucose monitor, so I decided to stop using it, since it wasn’t doing much for me.

Possibility of the Freestyle Libre Sensor not working – not the site

Before I go and tell you to never use your stomach as a sensor site, it is very possible that my sensor was defected and it had nothing to do with my stomach site. Which is definitely a possibility considering my new sensor (which I placed on my upper arm) is not working properly either. I’ve heard a lot of Freestylers who love to have their sensor on their stomachs or backs, it’s just not for me.

There you have it! This is my review of the Freestyle Libre on my belly and why I did not like it.

Let us know what your favourite sensor site is and why below in the comments 🙂

DISCLAIMER:
I am not a medical professional and should not be taken as such. I am only speaking from personal experience. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have regarding your diabetes.

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Freestyle Libre – My First Month

Freestyle Libre – My First Month

Freestyle Libre – My First Month

I have now been using my Freestyle Libre, for a little less than 1 month. I have a lot of insight as to what I like and what I dislike. As well as some great features I figured out.

 

My First Month

When it was time to switch up the sensors, I got a little nervous. The sensor is extremely sticky. Which is great when it comes to staying on your arm, but when it’s time to remove it, ouch! It’s like waxing, super easy to put on the wax, but when you have to pull it off, you may need someone’s help. My fiancé was the lucky person I selected to pull off my sensor. I made him watch videos with me so we knew the best way to do it. To be honest, watching the videos made me even more weary, it took one guy 7minutes (!!) to remove his sensor! In all honesty, I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to pulling off anything sticky (band-aids, wax [see above], etc.). By the time the sensor was off I realized I was being a bit dramatic, okay very dramatic. Let’s just say putting the sensor on is painless and taking it off is a little bit harder.

When I used my first sensor, I showered everyday. I walked the dog at a decent pace, but I didn’t get overly sweaty or bathe with it on. With my newer sensor, I did a bunch of heavy yard work with my fiancé and also went to a Nordic Spa with my sister. Although I tried my best to keep it out of the water, it was definitely wet for about half the day. Good news: it still works perfectly (I have one day left). The (not so) bad news: I needed to buy K-tape to keep the sensor from falling off.

 

What I love about having a CGM

Being able to check my blood sugars as much as I want or need is awesome. I feel a little less obsessive about checking every 2 minutes now. Although, I do like to try to check my sugars at least every hour. When I’m out for walks, it is great to be able to pull out the scanner, scan my arm and have a result within a second. The arrows (↗, ↑, ↓, →, ↘) are great as well. Especially when you get home from a walk and need to make supper. If I’m 4.5↘, this means my glucose is falling slowly, so I may want to have a small snack.

Freestyle Libre
Original image

Here’s what these arrows actually mean

Your glucose is:
↗  slowly increasing
↑     rapidly increasing
→   changing slowly
↘   falling slowly
↓    falling rapidly

 

Download the Software

I suggest downloading the Freestyle Libre software for your computer. This way you can store your readings, modify your target glucose range, the notes and the reminders. It’s a great way to overview your blood sugars over the past week or month. You can print your results or share them with your health care professional. There is also a printable meal plan that you can use and other great extras.

 

 

DISCLAIMER:
I am not a medical professional and should not be taken as such. I am only speaking from personal experience. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have regarding your diabetes.

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Freestyle Libre CGM –The First Two Weeks

Freestyle Libre CGM –The First Two Weeks

Living With T1 Diabetes

T1D Novopen

It has been a little less than 2 weeks (12 days to be exact), since I started using my Freestyle Libre CGM. Long story short: I love it!

 

Pros

 

The main reason I love my Abbott Freestyle Libre is the fact that I have only had to check my blood using a finger prick about 1-2 times per day. Normally, when I’m LO on the CGM, to see how low I really am (I haven’t gone below 2.1) and to check my blood sugar before bed for peace of mind.

The Sensor is pretty small when compared with the Dexcom. In fact, most people have no idea I have a needle stuck in my arm all day long. The sensor is also surprisingly comfortable. Other than the time my nephew tried pulling it out of my arm, I don’t notice it at all.

I love the fact that I can check my sugars as much as I want to, especially while I’m out walking my dog. It is super convenient when I go for dinner with friends. Instead of pulling out my glucose monitor and having old test strips fall over the floor, I just scan my arm.

It is also very interesting to see what your blood sugars are at while you are sleeping. Not that surprisingly, this is when my blood sugars are at the highest. I have fallen asleep before and woke up in the hospital, so for me, I prefer to be on the higher side throughout the night. It’s best to always have your blood sugars level, but as my doctor says, “When in doubt have a juice box. Better to wake up a little high than to not wake up at all.” Although, now that I can see what my blood sugars are doing I can be a little more confident with my evening snacks. I can cut my snacks down to only 15g instead of 24-30g.

The battery life on the monitor lasts a long time. I’m not even half way through my battery and I’m on day 12 of using it!

 

Cons

To be honest, there aren’t many. For me the only cons, aren’t really cons at all. A little obsessive, when checking my sugars now, is an understatement. I try to correct anything over 7.7mmol/L. I never really worried about high blood sugars in the morning, but now I never want to see anything over 7.9mmol/L at anytime during the day.

I’m also obsessed about my average glucose, which is why I’m trying to level out my overnight sugars, again, not a terrible habit.

You can’t set thresholds, but you can set alarms. Meaning, if your blood sugar is dropping the CGM won’t let you know. Once you scan your sensor, you can set alarm to re-check your sugars in 15 minutes.

I have noticed that the readings on the CGM differ to those on my OneTouch. Which, by the way, is completely normal. At first it bothered me, but in reality, they only differ by about 0.3-0.5mmol/L. When I’m low, I just double check with my glucose monitor.

Another con, is the fact that it is on your arm, so when you’re holding little ones, they’re curious. Like I mentioned before, my nephew tried pulling it off my arm. So just be careful and aware. I’m sure if I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, he wouldn’t have even noticed it.

Bra straps! When pulling up (or down) your bra straps (ladies), lift it over the sensor, otherwise you might pull it. Mine hasn’t fallen off, but it has been pulled at a few times.

Freestyle Libre CGM

Final Thoughts

All in all, I love this CGM. The Freestyle Libre is super easy to use. It is an awesome tool for those who are trying to level out their blood sugars. I have had pretty good A1Cs but I think my next one will be my best yet. I will start to use my BG app, to calculate carbohydrates again, so that I can get even better glucose numbers!

Stay tuned, I will be writing a follow-up post after 4 weeks using the Freestyle Libre!

 

 

DISCLAIMER:
I am not a medical professional and should not be taken as such. I am only speaking from personal experience. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have regarding your diabetes.

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TypeW1N

Buy Freestyle Libre Sensor Stickers, insulin pump stickers, Dexcom stickers, and other diabetic accessories from Type W1N. There are so many designs to choose from for men, women, and children!

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