CGM Data: Around the World and Back Again – to my Pebble Watch

After attending the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit last November and being inspired by the Nightscout crew (and pretty much everyone else there as well!), I finally decided to take the time to set up a Nightscout website. I’ve had it up and running since Dec 2014. Being an adult with Type 1, I monitor my own blood glucose levels. I don’t have anyone that would be interested in following my data on a daily (much less hourly) basis, so I wasn’t sure if the functionality of Nightscout would be worth it for me. After 8 months, I can say with certainty that it has been…and then some!!!

I don’t actually use my NightPebbleWatchscout website or phone app very much but I LOVE wearing my real-time data on my Pebble watch. I’m probably 1000 times more likely to glance at my watch to check on my blood sugar than I am to dig in my purse (through all the snacks and toddler/kid gear) and haul out my Dex receiver or my phone. The setup to get my data to my watch was somewhat complicated but with the addition of the Dexcom G4 receiver in May, my data is almost 100% constant without much involvement from me other than occasionally restarting a few apps on my iPhone.

Last week, however, it suddenly quit working and I got emails written in what may as well have been a foreign language, saying things like “your Heroku app on free dynos needs to recharge.” I’m pretty techno-savvy and am generally an early adopter of new technology but I’m not a programmer and certainly don’t fully understand all of the ins and outs for each step I followed in the pipeline to ultimately setup Nightscout. Going back through them to figure out which accounts I used in my setup needed changes and what else it might affect wasn’t quite like starting at the beginning for me…but it was close.

There are so many different ways to setup Nightscout, including what hardware you’re using, what service providers you chose, what account parameters you chose with some of those service providers, etc., that it’s not an easy task for me to filter through the Nightscout setup guides and Facebook group looking for clues related to updating each piece of the specific pipeline that I selected to use. So, after I finished getting my data stream to my Pebble working again (took me about 3 hours), I decided to make a little diagram to help me understand how all the pieces I’m using fit together. Disclaimer: I’m pretty sure I have my pipeline figured out correctly but wouldn’t bet my house on it : )


My hope is that next time I need to make a change, I’ll be able to get it corrected more quickly…and with a little less terror! My current pipeline configuration prior to last week was free and now, with the required changes, looks like it will cost me $14/month, but it works for me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

MeandKidsI can no longer imagine not having my data on my Pebble. I feel so much safer. EVERY time I’m with my kids at the park, or the market, or driving in the car, and I glance at my Pebble, I’m thankful. Quite simply: I want to be the best mom I can be; I want to stick around to watch my kids grow up…and Nightscout helps me do that.

Big House : Small CGM Transmitter Range

So, we finally moved into our new house about a month ago. One of the strangest diabetes-related things I’ve had to get used to is the size and shape of my new house when it comes to my CGM signal. The Dexcom G4 is supposed to be in range as long as the receiver and transmitter are within 20 feet from each other. Our old house was kind of a 50s bungalow, where I could set my receiver in a central location and still have my signal picked up all over the house. Only our master bathroom stretched the range, so showering was the only time I had to remember to pick up my receiver and take it with me. Our new house is bigger and also more spread out. When we first moved in and I was unpacking, I missed hours of data at a time (and I missed a lot of lows and highs).

Caller-ID Big House:Small CGM Transmitter RangeI’ve really had to get adjusted to carrying my receiver with me from room to room in the house. It has turned into a bit of a ball-and-chain but my thinking is if I’m not going to have the receiver collecting a signal 99.9% of the time, then what’s the point of wearing this additional, ugly (yet not inexpensive!) hunk of plastic on my belly all the time, right? I’d love to take a vacation from my CGM occasionally but for me diabetes devices are like the original Caller ID box (remember those days?!) once you have it, you really can’t ever go back to being without it.  I hope to look back at my tummy devices and signal ranges one day just like I look back at the Caller ID box now and say “Wow, can you believe I used to use one of those things all the time? And I thought it was so high-tech!”

Photo-a-Day: Sweet

Thinking about “sweet” in terms of diabetes reminds me that I’ve actually never had much of a sweet tooth.  I’ve always preferred savory foods and never drank soda or juice, being more of a water, coffee, and wine girl.  Sure, I’ll have an occasional nice dessert or bake cookies once in a while but that’s it; at least that was it until I got diabetes.  In fact, irony abounds as I consume far more sweets and simple sugars with diabetes than I did without it.  Why?  Sigh…to treat lows.


When you’re on insulin to survive, blood sugar becomes a constant balancing act.  You can’t ever take insulin or sugar out of your body to balance the scales, so you’re left to find balance by only adding more.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not hungry or just ate a huge meal; if you’re blood sugar is low, you have to eat more.  That means in any given day I tack on calories via consumption of glucose tabs, juice boxes, or candies.  Sometimes, if I’m home I get to treat lows with actual fruit…but it doesn’t travel well and the other options have a smaller footprint for when you’re not actually hungry.  Life with diabetes: how I miss my more “sugar-free” days.

This post is one in a series for the National Diabetes Month of November.  Kerri from initiated the Photo-a-Day idea and prompts and lots of other diabetes bloggers have chosen to follow suite.