Arts and Crafts, Diabetes Style.

As someone who finds the cost of the ‘betes among the most frustrating things about the disease, I try to get as much life out of my supplies as possible.  Please note that this does not mean I slack on testing my blood sugar or take less insulin than is prescribed (and I am not recommending this in any fashion!), but I do try to hang on to my supplies until they are so far gone, that there is no pulling them away from the light.  While I was researching Continuous Glucose Monitoring I came to learn that although Dexcom approves their sensors for one week, many people extend the life of them by restarting the sensor once the one week is up.  I read about people getting 10, 14, 20+ days out of their sensors.  Sweet!!!  Even with insurance, those puppies cost a pretty penny so I knew I’d be one to get as much juice out of a sensor as possible.  This means keeping it attached to my body as best I can!

The first real sensor I used, since sensor #1 was a dud (a dud which Dexcom has since replaced.  Thank you, Dexcom!), lasted 12 days!  Word.  I will be happy if I can average 10 days/sensor so that I can use 3 per month instead of 4.  I think that this sensor may have lasted a little bit longer, had the adhesive I rigged up done a better job.  I noticed the adhesive was coming up a few days in so I found some old medical tape in our cabinet and patched it up while I waited for my OpSite Flexifix to arrive.  Once it did, I created a donut hole in the tape and taped it up.  Nothing lasts forever and my sensor officially was coming off yesterday morning.  Let me just say, ouch, the flexifix is not terribly pleasant to take off.  It’s like a really, really big band-aid and although I’m brave with needles, that shit hurt.

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We had a good run.

I figured this time, I would start off from day 1 with the Flexifix.  This means some arts and crafts!  FUN!  Since this is a very complicated project (Please note the sarcasm), allow me to instruct you.

What You Need:

-1 Old Dexcom Sensor
-Scissors
-Sharpie or writing utensil of your choosing
-OpSite Flexifix tape/adhesive (What’s the correct terminology here? I use the 4″)

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Are you ready for this super challenging Arts and Crafts Project????  Buckle your seatbelt, you’re along for a fun and exciting ride!


Step One

Cut the amount of tape you want to cover the sensor and adhesive.  I like a lot of tape.

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Step Two
Folding the sides of the Dexcom adhesive in (Or you can cut it off if you wish), outline the sensor on the “Remove First” side of the paper.  Try to get as close as you can to the sensor.

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Nailpolish works really well to hold down the corners of tape.

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Step Three
Once the entire sensor is traced, fold the tape in half at the sensor outline, but don’t crease it.  Using the trick we all learned in kindergarten, start your donut hole by cutting on the long side of the sensor outline at the fold.  Don’t cut too much though because then your donut hole will be too big and the tape will be pointless and you’ll be mad at me for not warning you about this very serious arts and crafts issue.

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Fold, fold.

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Cut, cut.  The adhesive makes it a little tricky, so make sure you have nice sharp scissors!


Step Four

Behold the amazement of your creation and be grateful you had my wonderful instruction in figuring out just how to do this!

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OhEmGee, there is a hole in that tape! How did that happen?  (The scraps are nice for some patchwork you may have to do later in your sensor’s life)

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Fits quite nicely, don’t ya think?

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You will last forever, sensor.

 
So there you have it.  I am a donut-hole cutter, for now.  Maybe one day I’ll become a stripper (had to do it).  How do you keep your sensors alive for a few extra days?  Do you apply reinforcements from day one or as needed?


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14 thoughts on “Arts and Crafts, Diabetes Style.

  1. I use the Flexifix and have tried both.. day one and as needed. Call me strange, but if I don’t start with day 1 the accuracy after the ‘restart’ is less. I know I know.. that makes NO SENSE.. but then again, when does D make any sense, right? My current sensor I taped down moments after insertion and this morning was it’s second restart (yup.. day 15 here I am). We’ll see if my theory is proven right. 😀

  2. I have a dexcom system on the way to me right now, and plan on wearing mine for longer then the recommended 7 day period. I will have to try this out when i get mine.

      • I am sure I will. The main reason I am getting it is because me and my family are very worried about going too low during the night. This dexcom should ease our worry

      • He sounds like a prime candidate for a CGM since that is the case. One of my fears is that I won’t recognize a low since i have never felt one before.

      • Oh you’ll probably know. It feels almost like a bad hangover – shakes, sweat, almost feels like you’re out of your body watching things from afar, just not totally with it. It’s not so fun. But if you can catch it early and take a couple gulps of juice or soda, it’s not so bad. I’ve found that the ones that come on gradually are less annoying than the ones that just hit you out of no where.

  3. I find that for every sensor that has an “ended life”, there’s another one that doesn’t get inserted properly and needs to be yanked early. So I’m thankful for the little trick that keeps my prescribed quantities in order.

    I use the Medtronic CGM and usually just put a piece of IV3000 over the whole thing, and 99 times out of 100 it lasts longer than the sensor itself. I know Dex says not to cover the transmitter, but if you don’t cover the MedT seashell transmitter, it flops around and is sure to cause problems. (The MedT also doesn’t cover the spot where the wire goes under the skin, which also can cause problems).

    • The nice thing about Dexcom is that the rep I spoke to told me that if a sensor ever dies before the 7 days are up, to call and they will replace. Which is very good to know.

      After I ordered my Flexifix I found an old box of IV3000. However it did expire in 2006…

  4. Pingback: New Adhesive for the G4 | Type One Fun

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