I finally got my hands on the Freestyle Libre (a CGM finally available for people with type 2 diabetes) a couple of months ago. I’ve been waiting to review it until I had adequate time with it. It’s been roughly two months, so here you go. Overall, I am pleased with it, but as with everything there is THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY. Because my experience with the Libre has been more positive than negative, I’ll end on the high note.
The adhesive is very problematic. In two and a half months, I’ve had to get two replacements because the adhesive didn’t stick (and one replacement because it stopped working, but I will discuss that later). The first time it came off because it didn’t stick anymore and I bumped into a wall. The result of that are shown in the picture below.
I only had 2 more days left on the device when that happened so I wasn’t crushed, but the second time…it was the same day that I applied the sensor. Yes, I used alcohol to clean the area, but that didn’t help. I didn’t get three hours with it. I was not happy at all.
I am not sure why it came off so easily, the only thing I can think of is that part of my arm wasn’t a good location for it. Although it was in the recommended area. Here’s a picture of where it was placed. As soon as I got in the car and the back of my arm touched the seat, it came right right off. It happened so quickly, I had to look again.
These sensors cost roughly $100 out of pocket and my insurance didn’t cover it my first month (because I wasn’t taking insulin). So, when I bumped into a wall and the sensor comes out, or when I put it on the back of your arm like Abott suggests and it came out within a blink of an eye…I was upset to say the least. But keep on reading and I’ll tell you something good about this experience.
I realize that although it says waterproof, if I take frequent showers, the sensor’s adhesive is weakened faster than if I take tub baths (because less water hits the area less). So, in order to feel comfortable that the sensor will last the entire two weeks, I end up wearing a clear surgical bandage over it. See image below.
Since wearing a clear bandage, I haven’t had the issue of it coming off prematurely. But I shouldn’t incur this extra expense, the company should expand the adhesive area to ensure more staying power.
I even purchased these circle rings (which were a complete waste of money because they roll right off within hours).
There are times when I don’t mind my sensor showing. I even like, a times, that it helps to make diabetes visible. It gives me an opportunity to have a conversation about diabetes to people whom I might not otherwise chat with.
But then there are other times when I do mind. When I don’t want the sensor broadcasting my diabetes to the world. When I don’t want to educate strangers who ask “What’s that on your arm?” But because the sensor is only approved to wear in one location (the upper arm), I don’t have the option to be inconspicuous when I want to be.
As you see, it shows up even when I don’t want it to. I wish they would approve more sites. Especially ones that can be easily covered by clothes.
1. I have another reason to get cool henna designs on my arm. Here’s my newest one.
2. When the two sensors came off and the one sensor stopped working completely, I was able to get replacements for FREE. Yes, free replacements! I went from pissed about losing $100 bucks when it happened, to feeling okay. I’m glad they do that for their customers.
3. Less finger pricks. It would be cool if finger pricks were a thing of the past, but they aren’t, yet. I still check and compare and while from time to time. So far, my normal levels are typically good, but the lows can be off a bit. So when the Libre says low, I have to check to make sure it’s actually a hypo.
Also, when the sensor read “HI” for two days, I knew it was defective because I was able to check my blood sugar using a regular glucometer.
4. Lastly, I’m a part of a community of people using the Libre and that’s extra special.
Freestyle Libre: Has It Changed My Life? Yes, it has. It’s enhanced my diabetes management by giving me access to information about my body that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I have long since wanted a CGM to see what happens to my blood sugar 1hour vs. 2 hours post meals. I wanted to know if I experience the “dawn effect,” and if so, at what time. Well, I do and it’s between 1am-2am that my blood sugar dips low and then rises. The Libre has given me the opportunity to know this.