Abbott finally stepped up to the plate on Thursday & offered customers money back if they wanted to return their Freestyle Navigator and get another system. The day after Abbott came out with their offer, Dexcom came out with a special deal for Navigator users. I had already started the process for getting a Dexcom and was just crossing my fingers that it would not be too much of a fight with my insurance company to get it. I called Dexcom about the deal. They had received the paperwork from my doctor that very day so all they need from me is the money. As soon as I get my money from Abbott, my Dexcom will be ready to ship. Abbott promised a quick turnaround, so I hope they keep that promise. I have been without a CGMS for 10 weeks now so am anxious to get started on the Dex. The Dexcom deal was $541 less than what my insurance paid for the Navigator, so my insurance should be happy to get money back for a change!
I did a one week trial of the Dexcom and I really like it. There are a lot of Navigator users trying to decide if they should take the offer or wait things out. Of course everyone is looking at pluses & minuses between the Dexcom & the Freestyle Navigator.
There were only 2 ½ things that I liked better about the Freestyle Navigator. The first one is the distance. I was used to being able to set the Freestyle Navigator down and walk to another room without losing connection. I had trouble with the Dexcom losing connection even in the same room. I am not one to wear belts much so I am going to get one of those Spibelts and that will solve that problem.
The second thing that I like better about the Freestyle Navigator is that Tylenol can mess up your readings with the Dexcom. I don’t take much Tylenol, but really don’t want that option taken away from me either. The morning I started the Dex trial, I woke up with a killer headache. I didn’t want to take Tylenol that morning because I wanted to get a true picture of the Dex. I survived that day, so I guess I can live without my 20 Tylenol pills a year!
The ½ thing that I liked better about the Freestyle Navigator was the ability to get actual numbers on the receiver. It was nice to be able to wake up and remember you had a low or high in the middle of the night and look to see how low or high you actually went. I guess the bean counter in me prefers actual numbers over graphs, but since the rest of the world prefers graphs over numbers, I should get used to it!
The alarms on the Dexcom are far more superior than the Freestyle Navigator. The high on the Freestyle Navigator cannot be set lower than 140. On the Dexcom, you can set it at 120. I don’t like waking up in the morning in the 130s or 140s so that makes a big difference to me.
Also, the Freestyle Navigator beeps at you every 15 minutes when you are out of range. There is a mute button but there is an issue with that going into indefinite mute so I did not want to do that. If you change your alarm settings, then you have to worry about remembering to change them back or falling asleep and waking up high because you did that. With the Dexcom, you can pick how often you want to be reminded. When my BS goes high, it takes about 20 minutes before my insulin even starts kicking in so I don’t need to be reminded every 15 minutes that I am high.
I was concerned about losing the predictive alarms that the Freestyle Navigator has. What I did not realize was that the Dexcom has rapid rise & fall rates that you can set for either 2 or 3 mg/dl per minute. That is actually nicer than the Freestyle Navigator’s predictive alarms. The Freestyle Navigator looks at your high & low settings to calculate if you are gong to hit that threshold. On the Dexcom, if you have your low alarms set for 70 but your blood sugar starts dropping rapidly when you are at 200, it will alert you that your blood sugar is dropping fast. I liked that a lot better because you actually got more warning for rapidly moving blood sugars.
Another nice feature with the Dexcom was when it beeps that you are out of range, the screen lights up and says high or low. The buttons that you have to push also light up. That made it really nice at night when it was dark to just pick it up and be able to see what was going on and hit the right buttons without having to turn a light on to see. On the Freestyle Navigator, you had to hit a button to get the backlight to come on. On several occasions, I was trying to find the right buttons to hit in the dark and actually disabled my alarms. That won’t happen on the Dex.
I know one big complaint people have about the Freestyle Navigator is the size. I previously said that the size doesn’t matter to me but I am retracting that. Size really does matter! Even with all the talk I have heard about the size, I was really surprised to see just how small the Dexcom was. When you put the Freestyle Navigator transmitter next to the Dexcom, it reminded me of the picture I have with my Yorkie next to my brother’s Great Dane.
I had a ton of holes in my arms from the Freestyle Navigator. Originally, I planned on using the same arm but because of the holes, I started rotating arms. Even when I went to change sensors, I still had holes in the arm that I pulled the prior sensor off of days before. When I took the Dexcom out, I had a tiny, tiny little mark and that disappeared quickly. After going thru a very nasty foot infection, I am a little paranoid about germs. Those holes in my arms left an opening for germs to get in.
On a couple occasions, the plastic sensor mount for the Freestyle Navigator cut into my arm. One night in particular, I woke up in the middle of the night with pain where the sensor was. I decided to rip it off and there was an outline dug into my skin from where the mount had cut into my arm. That took several weeks to heal. I know that if I sleep wrong with the Dexcom, that would also happen, but since the Dexcom is so much smaller, it won’t be as big of an area to heal.
I also had several occasions when I put a new Freestyle Navigator sensor on that I had a lot of bleeding and ended up taking the sensor off because there was so much blood. Since I only did a one week trial with the Dexcom, I don’t have enough experience with that to know if that will happen or not, but since the Dexcom sensor is so tiny, I don’t expect much of a problem with that.
With the Dexcom, you can use whatever meter you want to do your calibrations. With the Navigator, you had to use Freestyle strips. Some people will not like that they have to take an extra meter with them if they want to do either readings or calibrations, but I never trusted the Navigator 100% and always took my meter anyway so that was not a big deal for me.
And of course one of the best things about Dexcom is that I have never seen anything about Dex users having to wait over two months for replacements. Since Abbott has now done this same thing two years in a row, anyone that continues to use the Freestyle Navigator has to wonder when the next time this will happen again.
UPDATE: I wanted to attach this same update to a couple of the posts about Abbott Diabetes Care. I did not want to add a whole new post because I want the Dexcom vs. Navigator comparison post to remain on the main page.
On Thursday, April 8th, I accepted Abbott’s offer of $2k for the Navigator. I was told that they would FedEx me two labels – one for the return of the Navigator & the other for the return of the sensors. My FedEx package showed up today (Monday, April 12th) with only one label for the return of the Navigator. It had a paper for me to sign accepting the $2k and I could get that with 90 days worth of test strips or without the test strips. No mention of the sensors. I called Abbott immediately and asked to talk to a supervisor. She told me that the sensor offer was coming separately but could not tell me when. I will not return the Navigator without something in writing about the sensors – I have $5,125 worth of those and any deal with Abbott has to include that money. It looks like I was screwed again by Abbott Diabetes Care and I will be sitting here waiting to get a Dexcom because Abbott screwed me.