How to take a break from Dexcom

I read your quote below on another post -

“Dexcom is an addicting tool. We would never be able to manage BG with the same accuracy without one. But it is also easy to forget how to do it without one! So consider withdrawing from your Dexcom 2-3 days every 6-8 weeks to remember what it takes”

I am addicted (in a good way lol) and at a total loss when I don’t have it on! I have forgotten how I managed without it. I would love any help and advice or techniques for taking a 2-3 day break? Thank you!!


Funny how quickly one starts needing a CGM when we get accustomed to it! Like @Jattzl, we tend to forget how to do without a CGM! This is what we have found out we need to remember when doing w/o a Dexcom sensor:

  • Basal.
    It is critical to establish a solid, stable basal. With a CGM, it is easy to correct if needed. Without one, nights are much harder. Without a CGM, we typically use only bolus corrections (without temp basals) so as to keep our basal crystal clear.

  • Solid CF
    A good numerical CF (correction factor) is a must for us: with a CGM, it is easy to fudge it and correct mutiple times. No CGM requires more rigor for us. So, when we go without a CGM, we make sure that we use a solid CF (for us it varies across the day: a night CF requires more insulin).

  • Averaging variations
    When using a CGM, we are able to see daily variations in basal, ICR and CF. When doing without a Dexcom, we find we need to average levels across multiple days.

  • Less aggressivity
    With a CGM we sugarsurf and correct aggressively, ready to use sugar when we get lowush to stop a fall. Without one,we are less aggressively. We typically take our CF down by 10% when going without a CGM

  • Timed BG pokes
    Without a Dexcom, we time BG pokes 2 hours after a meal, before bed, and, often, at least once a night. Our son hardly ever wakes up at night. In the past 12 months, teenage hormones have introduced a lot of variability that we did not have in the past, so we typically check once or twice a night.

What do you do when we do without a CGM? @Chris, I know you do that regularly?

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My solution is to have backup supplies. I also would get a freestyle libre out of pocket if needed short term.


Fortunately (or not), my Dexcom has been asleep at the wheel a significant amount of the time in the last few months while trying alternate areas for it. Fingersticks, fingersticks, fingersticks for me. Dexcom has been good enough to let me know if I’m climbing or descending, but not accurately timed or quantified. Hopefully the next transmitter will do better.


Thank you, Michel those are great tips. Long acting insulins are foreign to me due to pumping for so long. I have my emergency Lantus but I have heard that Tresiba is better. Any input? Also, is there a formula for transferring your long acting dose from you total daily basal amount or is it the same amount?

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Pretty similar to you. When there isn’t a baseball game, he tests when he wakes up, before each meal, 2 hours after most meals (when time allows), before bed and when he feels weird. We mostly don’t wake up in the night anymore to test unless he gets up to pee, then he tests assuming he is high.


Test more, and do multiple tests about 15-20 minutes apart to get an idea of the BG trend. You can do the same thing as a CGM with multiple BG tests to see which way your BG is going.

So if you might normally test an hour after a meal, test at an hour and also an hour and 15 minutes. With every BG test, try to get a handle on not only your BG number, but also which way it is going and how rapidly it is changing.


as crazy and as OCD as this may sound, i was on the dexcom for about 1.5 to 2 years. it just wasnt for me. i became obsessed with looking at the screen, the direction arrows, etc… then i was going to have surgery and was told by my surgeon that i would need to be taking some Tylenol while i recovered, and i wouldnt be able to wear the dexcom. OMG, i went into a complete panic. didnt think i could function without it.

that surgery was one of the best gifts in the world for me. i had to go back to the old fashioned finger sticks. its been a number of years since then, and i am still on my finger sticks. now i do about 20 sticks a day (admittedly sometimes more), and my A1c is 4.9%. so i think i am doing something right; as well, the dexcom is no longer the be-all-to-end-all ruling my life.

now, just to own up to this: i recently found out that Medicare is covering the G5 100%. absolutely no OOP for me. i figured for $0 , why not give the old dex a try again. it might proove helpful…at least at night when it will alarm me if i need to wake up to do a correction (currently, i have an alarm clock bedside to wake me up at 2am, 4am and 6am.) it drives my husband crazy, but i find it to be a wonderful tool to know that my basal rates are on target, that if i do need to take a correction, i can do it before it becomes a terrible issue, i can toss back some fast carbs if i go low, etc etc.

so, “How to take a break from a Dexcom?” rip that sensor off you like you are ripping off a bandaid. fast and furious. :wink:

good luck!!!


Having worn a Dexcom CGM every day since just before the STS3 was released 13 years ago, I’m afraid I’ve become very dependent on the technology. I think if I stopped wearing it diabetes would be brought to the forefront for a while.


Thank you. That’s a very interesting perspective and I think certain personalities are more apt to become obsessive about it. I am that way and had to make a conscience effort to control it but it was hard. If I did take a short break (and I still can’t imagine actually doing that but Michel’s post made me contemplate it) I think I would go back pretty quickly. 20+ sticks/day would make sure of that lol. Also, I live alone and need to alarms for lows at night.


How? “Just do it.”

Given how utterly obsessive I can be about some things, I’m pleased with how unobsessed I am with my Dexcom. If I’m in range, hours and hours can go by without my looking at it if I’m preoccupied with something else. (Of course I look more often if I’m trying to get out of a high or a low.) Maybe this is because I didn’t start on a CGM until about a year ago.

Every month or so I’ll go a day or two without it because the sensor has died and I have to wait for my pod to expire (because the new sensor and the new pod will switch to a new side of my body), and it’s actually a nice little break. And recently when I was getting a refurbished transmitter, I went nearly three weeks without it and didn’t miss it much (though I sure missed my high/low alerts!). I just went back to my former regimen of testing before and after meals and in between if things were weird or I wanted to gauge the trend. Then again I can easily switch back and forth between pumping and MDI, so maybe I’m more laid-back than I think.:beach_umbrella:

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Meh, breaks are overrated imo. :stuck_out_tongue: If you have technology at your disposal and it helps your life, why take a break? For Liam it’s crazy. It’s like his blood glucose is just waiting for us to “take a break” then they start a huge ■■■■■■■ party…

I can hear them now “Mom and Dad are gone! Let’s wreck this ■■■■■■■■■■■■!!!”

His BG’s tend to go crazy up and down just as soon as we are disconnected…and I’m seriously like, wth…

Maybe when he’s older and more of a real flat-liner then sure, just do it. Just like anything else…just gotta do it.


I’m goin to try Tresiba soon… so I hear. I’ll let you know how I like it. :slightly_smiling_face:

How’s your Tslim??