What I’ve learned from using the Freestyle Libre CGM over the last two months

The Libre Reader is showing a High Glucose warning and an up trend arrow
Freestyle Libre Reader gives me feedback about how my body is doing.
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I just refilled my Freestyle Libre 14 day sensor.  It costs me about $74.99/month (see more about cost).  I’m amazed with the technology.  (I’ve previously written my first thoughts on the Freestyle Libre 14 day System.)  It is pain free and shows me a graph of my glucose level.  Compared to blood glucose tests, this has given me a lot more information.

Here’s what I’ve learned about MY BODY with this amazing tool:

  • I usually have a rise in my blood glucose early in the morning, and I can mitigate this by taking 1 unit of short acting insulin as soon as I wake up.   This is called “dawn phenomenon.
  • Evening snacks are the biggest temptation I have…
  • Eating bread in the evening is a bad idea.  It is hard to dose for and my blood glucose goes up over night or my morning glucose rise is greater.  Either way, bread with an early dinner is OK, but bread before bed just doesn’t seem to work out well for me.
  • If I can resist evening snacks, and get my bolus insulin dose correct for dinner, I’m able to go to sleep with a blood glucose reading of about 120, and it won’t go too low overnight.  Before knowing this, I was afraid of going low, so I would try to have a higher bedtime reading.  This fear, in my case, was unrealized.
  • If I carefully watch what I eat and take insulin for the carbs I eat, I can keep my blood glucose in range a surprisingly high percentage of time.  The freestyle libre has a “Time in Target” statistic.  I have my target range set kind of wide (80-180) but I am able to achieve 86% time in range on a good week, although for this current week, my in target time is only 79%.
  • If I can time eating breakfast with when my blood glucose is at a low point, I can have a very beautiful after breakfast graph to look at… Especially if I eat whole grains and/or protein and complex carbs!
  • Whole grain pancakes with extra fiber and protein in them have a very good effect on my blood glucose!  I’ve been eating Kodiak power cakes and have been delighted with how easy dosing insulin for them has been.  I count the carbs according to the nutrition information on the box.
  • Foods high in carbs and fat are hard to dose insulin for.  The combined fat and sugar causes a later secondary rise, which is hard to predict and hard to dose for.  Foods such as pizza and cinnamon rolls fall into this category.
  • In some cases, I was under dosing for meals.   This was because I was afraid of low blood sugar.   I’ve increased my bolus insulin and that’s one of the main ways I’ve improved my time in target number.  Even if I only have a small meal, I still give myself a half unit of insulin, to prevent a spike from the food.
  • Because I can see when I’m trending low, I know when to eat a small snack.  I’ve found that if I dose a little higher at meal time (for example, I take 2 units instead of 1.5), then I can have an after meal snack for a “soft landing.”   Basically, plan for the snack…

I go back to see my doctor in a couple of weeks and I’m pretty sure my A1C is going to be better!  Stay tuned!

Note:  I’m currently doing Multiple Daily Injections (MDI).  I think I may be able to improve my glucose control even further with an insulin pump.  (That’s a topic for another post…) . The freestyle libre 14 day flash monitoring system has given me enough information to “get good” at MDI.  I have the best glucose level when I pay close attention through the day and give myself injections 3-6 times a day.  Actually, there’s no set rule about how many injections.  I dose insulin when I eat, and also sometimes I do correction doses, for when I realized that I need more insulin in order to get my blood glucose back to normal — which is what I did after taking the above photo!  The “Glucose Going High” warning told me that I needed more insulin.  I had taken insulin, but not enough, as I ate more than I dosed for.  The libre reader gives me actionable feedback!

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