Type 1 Diabetes, Videos

VIDEO: A Month on the Freestyle Libre – My Thoughts

July 18, 2016
freestyle libre

I know, I know, another video. I just can’t seem to get the written word out at the moment in a form that I like or think would be even mildly amusing to anyone, so my creative juices are being channelled this way instead. Sorry/you’re welcome.

I recently wired myself back up to the Freestyle Libre. I was lucky enough to be given two sensors to try when it first came out back in 2014. The first one was a beautiful experience, as described if you follow that handy little hyperlink. I saved the second sensor for when I switched from injections to the Omnipod insulin pump.

Let’s just say our harmonious relationship was put to the test with the second sensor. A combination of too many new pieces of kit, too much new information and drastically changing blood sugars proved all a bit too much, and I haven’t purchased any since. My monthly wages apparently fall down a deep well of frivolous adventure instead of being invested wisely in my health.

Fast forward to May 2016, and life with the Omnipod feels pretty smooth, aside from the looming (now complete) Coast to Coast cycle and being repeatedly thwarted, blood sugar wise, by roast dinners. Waking up with a blood sugar of 16 on a Monday morning is not a desirable start to the week. But, Yorkshire Puddings guys. I just can’t resist.

So on went the Libre, and in came the data – which was an absolute undeniable saviour on the day I spent 15 hours cycling up the many mountains of the North of England. Using the Libre was as eye-opening and as useful and as brilliant as I remembered. HOORAY. Roasts for everyone!

So here’s a little video detailing my experience and some thoughts, both good and bad, around using the Freestyle Libre. Spoiler Alert: they’re mostly good. Libre, I love you.


  • Reply Bill Sheppard July 18, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Hi, Jen,

    Love your coverage of the Libre. I’ve been using it since January (relying on friends in Germany to send sensors to the US) and also find it incredibly valuable at understanding the relationships between food, exercise, mood, and BG. A couple of things which came to mind while watching your video:

    – The reader also accepts test strips, so no need to carry a secondary BG meter, just carry a few strips and a lancet (or toothpick!). It also accepts ketone strips, for those into that.
    – You used the word “calibrate”, but I think it’s worth mentioning that no calibration is required (or possible, as far as I know).
    – I’ve also used the Android app, but find on my Samsung Galaxy Edge 6 that it’s fairly difficult to find the exact spot to hold the phone relative to the sensor, whereas the dedicated reader picks up the sensor without any effort whatsoever. I like having the phone app available if I don’t have my reader with me, but the reader is definitely my go-to device.

    Best from California,


    • Reply Dave Scott October 26, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Been using this for a month now, it has been helpful with diagnosis of sugar trends.

      However, customer service from Abbot is poor.
      Make sure you record the serial number of your sensor (it’s on the box), and if there is a fault with the sensor keep it after removing.
      I had one which read 2 ml low consistently and failed after 6 days – Abbott would do nothing without serial number or sensor (which was sitting somewhere at the bottom of my sharps box.

      Also, the test strips the reader supports are very fussy and greedy about the amount of blood they take.


      • Reply Stuart Ross August 22, 2017 at 11:13 am

        Hi Dave. Abbott in Spain are fantastic. I have been a bit concerned that out of the first eight sensors I have had four replaced for one reason or another. They always ask for the serial number which is logged on the reader. I surprised they never told you how to locate it. They do ask for the old one to be returned to them and supply the envelopes etc to do this.

  • Reply Dr Ian G Baldwin July 18, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    A great video. I would not be without my libre. The benefits well outweigh the cost. One point which does worry me is the emphasis on the difference in the number of finger pricks. If you want to use the built in insulin calculator you have to do it from a test strip reading. More importantly those of us who drive in the UK still have to do a finger prick within 2 hours of starting to drive and every 2 hours while driving. A swipe is not acceptable. It has to be blood not interstitial fluid. As usual the law is a long way behind science.

  • Reply Rosemarie July 18, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Great video. I too have been using the Freestyle Libre sensors and I am definitely a fan of the product.

    However due to the costings I decided to only use a sensor every 6 weeks when I know I’ll be doing lots of driving to visit patients (I’m a podiatrist). As I’m sure you know driving and diabetes is strictly regulated with the DVLA, so I have found using the sensor makes testing so much easier, especially if you know you’re going to be doing lots of driving during the day and find you haven’t got enough test strips (despite requesting extra strips from GPs) in your kit to test a frequent intervals.

    I also use the meter as a normal glucose meter when I’m not using the sensors. The added bonus is that it can also take Ketone strips which is good as you don’t need to use yet another glucose meter purely to check a different type of blood sample. I haven’t used the Ketone reader facility as I never go that high for needing to test for Ketones.

    I would say my only other negative point to make towards the meter is that when you use it as a normal blood testing machine you can use the insulin calculator to assist in your insulin dosage for the food you’re about to eat, e.g. it will alert you if you over calculate because it recalls any insulin that is still active. However, when you use the glucose sensors the insulin calculator cannot be used. This is rather annoying as this function is rather useful to ultimately reduce risk of hypos (in my case) and hypers.

    Overall I think it is an advanced product (compared to the old testing kits where I remember it took 3 minutes to get a result from a blood sample whereas now it takes seconds to get a result) that will definitely be a talking point among a wide audience of people.

  • Reply Nadia July 18, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Haha! You’re not talking to yourself Sweetheart! Also *totally* get where you’re coming from around being attached to ‘stuff’… On balance I choose to go with the stuff being attached – but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t bug me at times or make me frustrated that I need to have needles and plastic things attached to me just to have a cat’s in hell chance of having a body functioning as well as someone without T1… and yes – also get what you’re saying about gratitude – and indeed! But as ever; loving you keeping it real… xxx

    • Reply missjengrieves September 1, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      You’re such a doll! Your sentiments are so the same as mine – it’s a balance – extra insight, information and peace of mind or being free of extra stuck on bits and pieces? Like you most of the time it’s not a question, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel something about it. I hope all is well gorgeous girl xx

  • Reply Helen July 19, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Love a good graph :)

    It’s a trade off, isn’t it? I hate the fact that Maddie has to have kit attached to her all the time, and I worry that there will be a time in her life when she won’t want to. But for now, she’s prepared to wear it because it makes day to day life for her a lot easier. It means she can dance, play football, eat party food and hang out more naturally with her friends. It means she can forget about diabetes a lot of the time, knowing that a quick swipe will tell her everything. The graph also means that we have a lot more confidence in changing settings or increasing insulin so she’s much more in range more often.

    If they could find a way to integrate an alarm it would be totally perfect and allow me to sleep!

    • Reply missjengrieves September 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      Sleep? I hear that that’s a fallacy among you INCREDIBLE parents of children with type 1?
      I agree – it’s completely a trade off. Easy access to information, ease of testing, peace of mind, increased engagement vs being part robot. Which actually, if you think about it, is pretty damn cool. These advancements are truly changing lives, of that I’m sure. It sounds like Maddie is an amazing human being who is taking all of this in her stride and busying herself with being an active, happy human being and more power to her!! I hope you’re all very well, I still want us to pin a date down for a hug and a vino! xx

  • Reply Ivona July 20, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    hi jen! greetings from croatia :) my T1 daughter 5,5 yr, has been using it from september 2015. we absolutely love it andf wouldn’t trade it for nothing… her a1c was always great, but now it’ seven better (last one 5,8) since we can prevent a low and kick a high one in the but on time :) love your blogs :*

  • Reply Ella October 16, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Jen I really want a libre, am saving to buy one. I have two questions. How is sex with the libre and I swim a lot does this affect the libre. Thanks Ella

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