Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mr. Dex Com

Monday, November 25th, was "The first day that the Dexcom was being shipped in Canada" Day.

I knew this because I received an email from Animas the Friday before to let me know.

When I received the email I called Animas and was able to connect with someone who could answer my questions and help me place my order. In answering my questions, she mentioned that the transmitter, one of the three parts of the Dexcom system, has a battery that, once it dies, cannot be replaced. Which means that, when the battery dies, I need a new transmitter.

Which costs $700.

"The battery is guaranteed for six months but some people have reported that they can get almost a year out of it" I was told.

That's better than six months but $700 every six months or (best case) every 12 months is more than I can afford.

So I hit the pause button on my Dexcom order and said I had to speak with my benefit provider first.

I called my benefit provider on Monday morning. I spoke with a helpful lady who listened to me explain the Dexcom and listened to me as I told her what the previous person I spoke with there had told me. I asked her to check whether the transmitter was considered a medical device (which means they pay once) or a medical supply (which means they pay over and over again like they do for test strips).

She checked and said that they do not pay for batteries so the transmitter would not be covered beyond the first one.

I corrected her and said that I didn't need a new battery every 6-12 months, I needed a new transmitter every 6-12 months because, once the battery died, it was time to replace it the transmitter.

She checked again and, this time, confirmed that it was indeed a medical supply and would be covered as many times as I needed with no maximum.

I repeated it back to her to confirm. "So the sensors and the transmitter are both 'supplies' and I can submit receipts every time I get them and you will reimburse me in full."


"Well that's great news now isn't it?" I asked.

She told me what paperwork I had to send and I thanked her.

I hung up and promptly called Animas to order the Dexcom. They took my order, I put $1840 on my credit card and it shipped on Monday afternoon. It arrived late on Wednesday.

I opened all the boxes. 

I laid out all the supplies and poured over the instructions. 

Tell me that doesn't look horrifying. 

I winced in anticipation as I pushed the needle in but it was nowhere near as jarring as the one I had used with my Medtronic CGM. 

Just like that, I was connected. I had to wait two hours for the sensor, transmitter and receiver to be able to speak to each other. Once ready, the pump beeped and I calibrated it by entering my BG and, not long after, headed to bed. I'm not exactly sure what to expect. It might be a restful sleep or might be a nightmare of beeping, vibrations and grumbling. We'll see. 

Don't worry. I'll let you all know how things go. 

Getting the Dexcom reminded me yet again that anything related to diabetes is never a win-win. I'm excited at the possibilities that the Dexcom gives me in terms of better management, spotting trends and having a back-up system to warn me of highs and lows.

On the other hand, I already hate having one thing attached to my body. Now I have two. I'm feeling decidedly robotic and decidedly unsexy.

I remember back when I got my pump and I know there will be an adjustment period as I get used to this new thing on my body. I also know that I will forget about it after a while but never really get over it. I'll just learn to live with it because, ultimately, having it makes it easier to live.

Just like I have gotten used to needles. Finger pricks. Late night gorging on Dex 4s. Pump site changes and the rather disgusting smell of insulin.


  1. SWEET SWEET news. Thank you for paving the way.
    I have yet to call up my insurance company because I'm still questioning if I want to bother with the Dex.
    but I love that you are connected!

  2. Thanks for the detailed update! I hope the Dex does everything you/we hope for! I'm still enjoying being relatively gizmo-free, but if I decide to go back, and my insurance company ever decides to cover this stuff, it'll be great to have your experiences to draw on.

  3. Thank you for the update! I was at my endo's office this morning attending a education seminar and they talked about the Dexcom. I will be calling my benefits provider to see whether it will be covered as well. Out of interest, were are you putting the sensor?

  4. How is the insertion comfort compared to the Ping insets? Avery uses the straight sets so I've never done an angled insertion. Is it a fairly large site? Thanks for the detail - will follow with interest.