How the FreeStyle Libre Gave Me Confidence

June 14, 2021
Jada Sanchez
East Carolina University '24
In the spring semester of 2021, Jada was made Chapter President for the East Carolina University chapter of The Diabetes Link in Eastern North Carolina. She is a double major of Hispanic Studies and Public Health with an expected graduation year of 2024. In addition to the presidency with The Diabetes Link, she is also the president of A Moment of Magic on campus. She has a three-year-old black lab named Cali, who is her biggest supporter! She has had T1D since September 11, 2015 and that has encouraged her to pursue a career in pediatric endocrinology, while A Moment of Magic has sparked an interest for her in pediatric oncology.

Being able to sense changes in my blood sugar before it can potentially become dangerous has always been a struggle for me. Even after having type one diabetes for five years, I am still not able to recognize the signs and symptoms until it’s too late. When my endocrinologist introduced me to the magic of Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) my life changed completely. With an extra tool on my body, I was finally able to feel confident going to sleep, taking a shower, and hanging out with friends without the fear of a potential medical emergency. The freedom I feel with my continuous glucose monitors allowed me to honestly feel like I could accomplish anything, especially early on in my diagnosis when believing in myself was the hardest.

“The freedom I feel with my continuous glucose monitors allowed me to honestly feel like I could accomplish anything.”

Now, I am a rising junior at East Carolina University and have experienced a plethora of situations when my continuous glucose monitor has come in handy. Most of my diagnosis I have used Dexcom’s Continuous Glucose Monitoring system but in the most recent months, my skin has had horrible reactions to the device. Going through this skin journey has been deflating. The confidence the diabetes management tool gave me seemed to simmer off as I felt that there was no other option than to return to manual blood sugar checking and living in uncertainty. One day, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I stumbled across a post from The Diabetes Link highlighting the MyFreestyle program, a free two-week trial offered by FreeStyle Libre, another continuous glucose monitoring system, and I was able to feel the confidence flow through me again. I reached out to The Diabetes Link Team and applied through FreeStyle Libre’s website to start their free trial.

After submitting my information through FreeStyle Libre’s website, I was emailed a coupon to show to a Walgreen’s staff member. This coupon gave me the ability to get the FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor for free and on the same day that I applied. I drove to Walgreens, walked to their pharmacy, and swiftly received a box with a sensor in it. The weight of worry on my shoulders slowly lifted away as I went home to apply my sensor. Once I placed it on my arm with ease, I was so excited for the sensor to power up and change my life again. Throughout the entire journey with my free-trial, FreeStyle sent educational and motivation filled information right to my inbox, making every day exciting. It was nice being able to read that this company, not only knew I was participating in their trial, but that diabetes is hard and everyone, no matter how long they’ve had it, could use some education and motivation. Since my free trial ended, I have switched to the new FreeStyle Libre 2 system, which is now available to try for free as well through the MyFreeStyle program.

“Throughout the entire journey with my free-trial, FreeStyle sent educational and motivation filled information right to my inbox, making every day exciting.”

The main differences I found between the first and second generation were the alerts. The first generation feels more like a “fingers free” meter as all you have to do is hold the monitor up to your sensor to see your reading and the direction it is going. The second generation still has that “fingers free” feature but will alert you of you lows and highs, along with sensor error alerts. Going through my insurance was the same process as it was for any other prescription but this time I was able to pick up my sensors from a pharmacy.

With the alerts I receive, I now feel confident in managing my diabetes. Before I drive to my destination, regardless of how far I am going, I am able to use my monitor to scan my Libre sensor and instantly see where my blood sugar is. Once you insert the device on your arm, you wait an hour and you’re ready to take on your day! As I enter new chapters of my life, such as driving, continuing my college education, and getting my own apartment, I can feel safer knowing that I can view my blood sugar levels at, literally, the swipe of a hand.

Abbott, the maker of FreeStyle Libre, is a Corporate Member of The Diabetes Link.

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