“Wearing a CGM is a bit like an arranged marriage. In the beginning it may not exactly be bliss, but you can come to love your new partner.”
-William “Lee” Dubois in Beyond Fingersticks
We are in the middle of our two month trial of the CGM and of course I had a gazillion questions because there is always a learning curve with any new d-technology. My friend Wil is also in the middle of a similar trial with the same system and I’ve been reading about his experience on his blog Life After Dx.*
I just adore Wil because he is snarky and tell-it-like-it-is. And he really does know what he’s talking about. In fact, he is the authority on Diabetes Mine’s Ask D’Mine each Saturday.
So when I started e-mailing Wil with question after question about the CGM, he told me to just read his book* already. And I’m glad I did.
Wil was actually the 30th person to wear a CGM and probably the person who has worn it continuously for the longest period of time. He has written several books on diabetes management and Beyond Fingersticks aims specifically at helping us understand how CGM’s work and how to use them.
In the book, Wil describes what a CGM actually is, how it actually works, and how you can actually use it to benefit diabetes management. The Cliff Notes version is that it is a continuous glucose monitoring system which includes a sensor strip inserted under the skin where it measures sugar levels in interstitial fluid and extrapolates that measurement into an equivalent blood glucose level using a complex algorithm that takes into account several daily calibrations based on blood glucose levels as derived from a blood glucose meter. The advantage of the CGM is that it gives context including the direction that blood glucose levels are headed as opposed to finger sticks which provide a number, but no context of movement.
See? Wil made me smart!
Wil says, “The beauty of modern CGM systems is their ability to communicate this element of context, this sense of how a reading fits into the larger picture of our blood sugar flow, to us quickly and easily. All we have to do is look at the graph on the face of the monitor.”
I have asked Wil for some advice and suggestions as we have started the journey to become CGMers (or not…we aren’t 100% there yet). As we all know, just because something looks good on paper, doesn’t mean it has real life appeal. I think this is a great book for those either considering adopting CGM technology or those who have recently begun using it and want to better understand the how and why of its use. It’s a quick read, I read it over the course of a few days, but chock full of information in a format that is understandable and not the least bit boring.
And I’m not just saying that because I like Wil. In fact he didn’t ask me to write about this book. I simply got enough out of it that I wanted to tell you about it, too.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the book regarding kids and CGMs:
“If you are the parent of a T-1 kiddo, the CGM will add at least 10 years to your life in improved sleep and reduced stress, and Lord only knows how many decades to their lives. And this is not negotiable with your child. Don’t ask. You need to tell.”
Beyond Fingersticks is available for $15 in print and for $4.95 for Kindle.
*Warning: Both Wil’s blog and book contain a hefty amount of swear words and content which are definitely for adult readers. But that’s also what makes me snort sometimes!