Dexcom G5 – A Month Later

So, I’m finally getting to write some of my thoughts around the Dexcom G5 Mobile system. While I do see it as an upgrade to the G4, I don’t see it as a must-have.

Unlike when we went from the Seven+ to the G4, there wasn’t a huge hardware change other than the transmitter is now Bluetooth and can talk to a phone without the constant need of a receiver. However, notice I said “constant” need. There are times when the phone seems to not pick up signal very well for me, even when I’m holding my phone not even 2 feet away from the transmitter. Other times, it’s great at picking up signal. Mostly, I lose signal at night, so I keep my G5 receiver by my bed or in my bed with me. Otherwise, I will take it with me if we’re going on a long trip just so I know if my phone dies, I have a backup. I tend to stash it in my bra under my arm in the band so it has a comfy home. I’m used to storing my pump there when I wear a dress, so it’s no big deal to keep it there too.

On the side of whether or not the signal length is shorter or longer, technically, they both were rated to have signal for up to 20 feet – however, the G4 seemed to get much greater distance than that. I guess I got spoiled. Now it seems I have to almost always have my phone attached to my hand or butt (it stays in my back pocket mostly).

It is pretty nice to be able to have my Dexcom in my phone though when I have to make a quick trip somewhere – just grab the phone, ID and debit card and go.

And I like that when I calibrate on my phone, it carries over to the receiver when I get in range of it. No need to calibrate both devices, and both devices also show the same sensor glucose value. Now, with that being said, I wish that they synced missing data between the two when they were in range. So, if I’m out of range of my receiver for a while, it would fill in gaps from my phone.. and vice-versa.

I almost miss my G4 at times, simply because I don’t like having to use the Follow app to view the data on my Apple watch. I like that there is a separate app for the Share2 app. It seems they could make the Share2 app fill-in the gap like it used to do when the receiver was out of range and then brought back in range for the G4.

I ran both the G4 and the G5 side-by-side for a week as many were stating they felt they were getting better accuracy (Need a diabetes device guinea pig? Call me!). I even did myself. But, after watching it on both screens and calibrating with the same numbers, they were both relatively the same over time, so I don’t really feel one was more accurate than the other (unless you were going from the pediatric version of the G4, which did not have the 505 software, to the G5 which does – then, yes, I could see that being more accurate).

As far as the Clarity app, I still don’t like it. But, one thing I saw a lot of people having an issue with was the Estimated A1c and feeling that it could be off from their actual A1c. Two things come to mind with this – 1) they’re not really supposed to exactly match because what Clarity gives you is a rough estimate based on your sensor average… which leads me to…

2) (yes, I feel I need a separate paragraph for this one) Your estimated A1c and estimated sensor average are only going to be as accurate as your meter. I know, I know, a lot of people say that if the FDA approved it, it’s accurate enough. I call baloney. I’ve done my own testing of several meters on the market, as well as several other people, and I’ve read many different charts with statistics of different meters available, and I personally have chosen the Bayer Contour Next line of meters for my own peace of mind. Why? It’s not about testing them against each other with the same drop of blood for me, but how they test when ran two or three times back to back. If I have a meter that runs numbers of 136, 178 and 154 in succession, then I tend to raise an eyebrow. However, if I find one that runs 136, 131 and 138 in succession for three drops, it tends to make me feel more confident about the readings that meter is giving me when testing just one drop for a bolus. Out of all of the ones I’ve tried, the Contour Next brand worked better and had tighter deviations, so it’s what I’ve stuck with. But, as always, I’m not a medical doctor or medical scientist, so my own thoughts and testing are simply to appease me. Don’t take my word for it – if you’re curious, do your own testing and research.

And, back to Clarity and the A1c Estimation and the actual A1c correlation… here’s mine:

Clarity vs actual A1c

All in all, the G4 is still a good, solid, reliable product. The G5 is more a convenience system that gives you options. And options are good. 🙂

G5: Clarity’s Not So Clear

I have always been one who, when analyzing my diabetes data reports, I like to see everything. The overview, the snippets and the nitty-gritty of the matter. I don’t know about you, but my diabetes is not always crappy, nor is it sunshine and rainbows, so I need to be able to look at the whole picture together as well as be able to zoom in and identify the things I did right verses the things I did wrong.

dexcom clarityLooking back in my Dexcom G5 Mobile app, I started on the G5 on 12/10… 4 weeks ago today. I have many thoughts on my first month of the G5 but that will be in another post. This one is strictly to write on the companion app, Clarity. It is, in my opinion, the most irritating thing ever… and is not clear at all, maybe cloudy at best. It does give me an overview, I’ll give you that. But I don’t see everything in it.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a horrible time with my blood sugars going everywhere – even up to 400 at times and that is not like me. I tried to look at the reports, but it just made me frustrated because I no longer have all of the options that I do with Studio or even Diasend to mull over each day’s progression. And for a while, I was even logging everything in to my Dexcom G5 Mobile app thinking it would carry over into Clarity for when I did have time for my nitty-gritty day-by-day data munching, but it wasn’t there. So, I feel as though all of that effort is in vain. *edit: Apparently you can see the day-by-day if you access it from the web, but not from the report downloaded to the phone. Still not sold on it, though, because while you can see what you logged online, if you print it to take to your doctor, none of the facts of what was actually logged is printed.

And my biggest gripe that really gets me hot under the collar is knowing that there are two versions – one for home use and one for “professional” doctor use. This burns me up. The fact of the matter is, this is MY data. I should have access to all of it, in whatever manner I need it. If I had access to seeing it in all sorts of ways before in Studio, why cut me off now and give it only to my CDE or Endo? This mentality reminds me of a parent/child relationship and makes me feel as if they don’t believe we are responsible enough to handle our own data. The problem with that, though, is that if we are to be more informed, responsible patients, then give us the tools to do so, not cut them out. Dictating what you believe is too advanced for us is taking the power out of our hands to control OUR disease for those of us who choose to work our tails off to do so. *edit: From what I can gather, the Professional side has what you see, but with a bit more anonymity? I’m still confused on that point. Still, I don’t see the point of having two different ways of signing in. My endo needs to have my login for my Diasend account and needed it for my Medtronic account when I had it, so sharing my Dexcom user info would not be an issue. Generating a code would just make it more cumbersome than if they were able to have access at any time.

So, for now, I won’t be using Dexcom’s Clarity app or reports. I’ll continue to use Diasend for that (which means I have to go back to the G4 until Diasend at least gets the receiver to upload for now).

 

First Week With Dexcom G5 Mobile

G5 is here!After waiting 2.5 months, I finally received my upgrade transmitters for the Dexcom G5 Mobile system. To say that I was excited is an understatement. The thought of not having to carry around a receiver was pure bliss because honestly, I didn’t think I could lose my brain anymore than I did after my first kid and I was wrong – I literally could not find my nose if it weren’t attached. The balance of keeping order of all-things-diabetes in my life went out of the window, so I was leaving that receiver more places than ever. And if I kept it in my pocket, I would have that, phone and pump in various pockets and feel a bit tool-belt-ish.

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It’s true. Having my phone act as my receiver is liberating. I love only having to keep up with my phone. And my house is sort of small, so I can leave it in one central location most of the time and get signal most everywhere. But most of the time I have my phone with me for email, text, and baby-photo-op reasons, so that’s not an issue. The issue used to be that I was never near the receiver when the alarm sounded, and it would be at the most inconvenient of times, so it would get called all sorts of names and I would end up more frustrated than thankful most of the time. Now, it’s always with me since it’s built into the phone. Awesomeness.IMG_1169

The biggest thing I love about the app is now I can easily just tap in my BG calibration (NO SCROLLING – YAY!), and most of the time, I log my carbs and insulin now too. The app makes it easy to do, and seeing that blip helps. I also have used it to log my breast-pumping sessions so that I can figure out a better way to handle how it affects my BG by logging it as “light exercise”. I also like that the alert is shown with the actual BG number, not just “BG above ###”.

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I also love that my data is automatically stored into Dexcom Clarity, and accessing my report is as simple as opening the app, clicking a button, and viewing it. I can then email it to myself for in-depth review or just quick-glance over it when I have a couple of seconds free that I haven’t passed out from exhaustion.

Now, for the things that I don’t like or feel “meh” about:

The super private alert system. I think this is an area that should fall under “give us the ability and let us choose”. Personally, if I am being alerted of being high or low, I want to know what that alert number is WHEN I’m alerted, and not have to fumble with unlocking my phone first then opening the app. I want it to be an option that I can CHOOSE to turn on or off to see in that alert either “High Glucose Alert” or “High Glucose Alert – ###mg/dL”, and give us the option to open the app or dismiss the alert… which leads me to….

AW Alert

FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE PLEASE ALLOW US TO *ACTUALLY* DISMISS THE ALERT FROM WEARABLES OR EVEN THE LOCK SCREEN WITHOUT OPENING THE APP! This is my biggest pet peeve. If the above issue is solved where I choose to see my BG number and arrow within the alert, then also actually let me dismiss the alert when notified without having to open the app. I like the alert that comes up when you open the app, but it’s sort of pointless to me because I’m opening the app BECAUSE I’ve been notified, and I’m sure I’ll see the number once it’s open – no need to show a splash screen of sorts with it on there. I needed that BEFORE opening the app.

And along that same line – if I dismiss the alert from my watch, I shouldn’t still be notified every few minutes still from my phone. Especially since I’m required to have both the G5 mobile app and the Follow app to see it on my watch, and getting multiple alerts bugs the heck out of me. I get that the goal is to be sure to check the actual device for stale data, etc, but one would probably be keen to check if their BG remained static for hours on end. Heck, even instead of “dismiss”, let it be a “snooze” where you aren’t alerted seemingly every minute until you dismiss the actual alert. I would rather be able to “snooze” the alert for 10-20 minutes if needed rather than having that useless “Dismiss” option.

Follwing Friends

Overall, I like the Dexcom G5. I think it’s a big improvement, but I also think it’s a big step back. The jist of it is – let us *actually* dismiss from wearables, give us a separate app for those wearables for G5 (NOT the follow app for those of us who use it for ourselves and to follow others [which doesn’t sound creepy at alllll, right?]) (update: I hear there is a G5 mobile app for the Apple Watch in development, it just wasn’t ready when the G5 was approved by the FDA), and for all things mobile – LET US CHOOSE if our BG alert actually shows the BG or not.

I’m hoping to find a work-around until the G5 Mobile app comes to the Apple Watch since I have to use Follow currently. Possibly using only the alerts through the Follow app and turning off G5 Mobile alerts and simply using the G5 Mobile app as the loader? HHmm. I need some thought time on that one.

Check back later for an update! I’ll soon have my G5 receiver (I chose not to update my G4 one to use as a spare for the G4 transmitter), and I’m sure I’ll have some comments about that when I get it!