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Monday, May 24, 2010

CGM Odyssey

Over a month ago, I started my process to obtain a CGM (Constant Glucose Monitor).  There are several reasons why I want a CGM including catching lows and highs, pre-pregnancy planning and tracking when I am pregnant, and overall OCDness to constantly know my BG without wasting a ton of strips.  Like any good shopper, I wanted to know what the best product would be for me.   I found this pretty good website comparing the 4 most popular CGMs:

It compares the Guardian REAL-Time CGMS, the Dexcom SEVEN Plus, and the Minimed Paradigm REAL-Time System.  It also compares the Abbott FreeStyle Navigator which I've never heard of.

I made a call a month ago to Dexcom for them to ping my insurace to see how much they would be willing to pay at first.  You might be wondering why I didn't approach the Minimed Paradigm first since that's the pump I'm currently using.  Well, through various researching and testimonies (and now this website), I decided that the MM is not the kind of CGM I would use if I were sans Arnold.  Just because it is meant to coordinate with my pump doesn't make it my first choice.  Besides, I've also heard about the difficulty in calibrating with the MM.  I am not opposed to the MM and would certainly be willing to test it, but it's not my first choice.

I decided to go with Dexcom first because I like the fact it can be inserted for 6 days.  If I can stretch it to 7 days, it would be easy to remember, "Oh, it's Wednesday, time to change my CGM site."

I received a call back from Dexcom two days later where they gave me the good news that caused me to jump on my husband.  All they needed from me were my last 60 days of BG readings, last 2 chart notes from my endocrinologist, and last 2 blood work results. 

Oh yeah, and they needed my endo to sign a letter of medical necessity stating that I would benefit from a CGM.  

This has been the biggest hiccup and frustration so far in this process.  Unfortunately, I'm the victim of being a patient in the only office of endocrinology for all of north Alabama, not just my city.  Therefore, getting through to my endo's office is somewhat a hassle (being kind here).  Dexcom tried several times to fax the letter of medical necessity to my endo's office, and everytime I would call to see if they received it, I got a "Received what?"  Finally, I tried faxing the letter thinking they were having trouble receiving a fax out of state (not a likely cause, but I felt comfortable taking this process into my own hands).  Four attempts still left me with a "Fax Delivery Failed" in the machine message box.

So, I finally took the paperwork to my endo's office myself.  That was 3 weeks ago.  I'm trying to be a patient patient and call about once a week to see if my endo has signed the letter.  The medical records nurse has already pulled the necessary chart notes and blood work, so they're just waiting on my endo. 

I called this morning and the receptionist I talked to basically told me they've been really busy lately (Lately?!  How about always?!) and they would call me when the paperwork is faxed to Dexcom.  I am very frustrated. 

I like my endo, I really do.  He saved my life.  And I understand he is really busy with too many patients.  But there is something wrong when it takes 3 weeks for him to sign a piece of paper (I filled out most of it except the area where he needed to fill out and sign.  I even highlighted it with "Sign here.").  My current plan is wait another week and call them next Tuesday.  I was hoping to have my CGM by now so I could show it to my family this weekend, but no such luck apparently. 

When I started this odyssey, I originally thought it might be better to just make an appointment for him to view and sign the paperwork because that's when I receive the best one-on-one time with him.  But it had only been 2 months since my last appointment and all I need him to do is sign the letter.  Well, my next appointment is June 21st, and it looks like that might be when he actually signs it. 


  1. I am sorry, but I am laughing so hard right now! I just spent a few minutes perusing your blog and I am laughing my butt off at your "diabeetus" testing supply guy from liberty medical! I didn't know anyone else made fun of the way he says that! LOVE IT.
    So I'm a type 1 (since I was 4) and I have recently stumbled over some of these "diabetes blogs" and am in total heaven. It's nice to know there are other type 1's out there. Thanks for posting and good luck with getting your CGM.

    Thanks again for the laugh,



  2. @The Hansen Family: Oh, I can't take credit for that. It's a combination of LOLcat and Family Guy. But still funny, eh?

    Welcome to the DOC (Diabetes Online Community)! You should check out some of the other blogs I follow on my right-hand column. Kerri ( started blogging five years ago and she is one of the most well-known D-bloggers out there. Enjoy!

  3. Good luck to you! Unfortunately, this is just the kind of ridiculous obstacle that I think insurance companies count on. The more proverbial hoops you and your doctor have to jump through to get the pump, the more likely you are to not go through with it.

    I've found that you just have to be as annoyingly persistent as possible.

  4. @badpancreas: I hope that's not the case. I really don't like to be rude (especially on the phone, makes me feel like a coward), but this is getting beyond ridiculous.

  5. I'm sorry Holly!! That sucks big time. Good luck and I hope he gets to it SOON! Even my silly MM that is all over the freakin' place has helped me drop my A1C, so I know your Dexcom will help you!


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.