Tips for overcoming CGM anxiety with kids

(Ryan) #1

So both of our kids are fairly recently diagnosed (Nov '17), and we’d recently decided to move forward with getting them both on a CGM (Dexcom G5). Their mom and I loved the idea of being able to see the BGL on our phones throughout the day, and during the night, and figured the kids would like not having to have so many finger pokes every day. So we gave it a go for a couple of weeks. Long story short, the anxiety/fear that built in our kids when we had to change the site, has made us decide to go back to checking their levels with the finger pokes; since they are much more comfortable with that process. I believe the appearance of, what essentially looks like a huge syringe on their arm, was a much bigger issue for them than the actually pain/pinch when doing the insertion.

We definitely haven’t given up on using a CGM, but have decided to shelve it for the time being. Even though it feels like a million years ago, I have to remind myself that it’s only been 4-5 months since their diagnosis, and they’ve come so far with the whole thing. I don’t feel like forcing more changes so quickly is the best idea. We’ll just stick with what works for them for now.

With all that being said…my question is for down the road, when we decide to approach the whole CGM process again. Are there any tips/tricks any of you have found for easing the anxiety and fear of this, particularly in younger kids (ages 4 & 6)? We’ve shown them videos of kids getting the transmitter put in, our endo has let them look and play with a "sample"version, and explained it to them as best he can on their level. We’ve talked about it with them quite a bit as well. They seem onboard with everything, up until the point they see the big syringe/needle looking thing come out…then they lose their nerve.

Any ideas are appreciated!

(joe) #2

@ryanandjenn Hi Ryan, when I saw the first version of an insulin pump the hair on my head stood straight up. the only thought I had was “I don’t care - that thing is not for me”.

several years later, I could understand the benefits, weigh them against my needs for self-care, and I actually wanted one. and so I got one. and I got a cgm (similar story) . and I did other things I thought were too scary to do at first, when I was mostly (perhaps not completely) ready.

the point is that not everyone wants the cyborg medical device on them. maybe it’s the needle, maybe the “serter”, or maybe it’s the constant reminder that everything is NOT ok. this is difficult. this takes time and understanding.

You have the equipment, you have the sensors (which have expiry dates, so you cannot keep them forever) so maybe when the time is right and they want to experiment, you could let your 6 year old stick YOU with the CGM. this might help with the insertion anxiety because they can see it and your reaction, and it could help you to truly understand the nuances of the pain, and with wearing a medical device, and sleeping with it, and all the tape, and the beeping when it wants a calibration or a transmitter charge… probably during a meal or during a business meeting. (I admit I am being a little silly here, but you get the idea) it could be an all-around learning experience that you can share with your kids and develop a different kind of understanding together.

(Ryan) #3

Thank you for the feedback Joe! Having them try it on me is a good idea, for the reasons you mentioned. Our doctor had us do the same thing with the syringes when they were first diagnosed; they would inject saline into our arms/legs/stomach, etc. The nurse would draw it up, my daughter would “double check” the dosage was right, and then stick us. It did seem to help her adjust better, and it also was great for us to see what the “pain” was really like.

Just to clarify, we absolutely have no intention of forcing this on either of them. My wife and I had a talk early on that we would expose them to different options, and explain as best we could the pros/cons, which isn’t always easy for young kids to make sense of, but ultimately the decision was theirs. If they want to do finger pokes and pens indefinitely, we’re totally fine with that. I’m just looking for different ideas to try to help them should they decide they want to try it again at some point down the road.

Thanks again!

(vdenerson) #4

Hi. My daughter places her CGM on her upper hip area. Dexcom recommends tummy but she prefers the “fatty” area on her hip. This placement works for her as it is covered by pants and swimwear and is basically unseen by others. It may take practice for our kids to place by themselves but that way they don’t see it all the time either. Hope this helps