Stephanie is one of our AMSL Diabetes All-Stars and is a professional singer, songwriter and all-round performer! She spoke to us about her career and her journey with diabetes (before and during COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria). To Stephanie, it’s important she stays fit and on top of her game, whether performing at a corporate event, wedding or even a school disco, to ensure she can give the best performance possible.
Q. Can you tell us a little about you?
My name is Stephanie Dass, I was 7 years old when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Back then, there were no insulin pumps or CGMs, not even insulin pens! Just the old school syringes with the big bottle/vials of insulin taken twice a day and finger-pricks multiple times a day. It was a lot harder back then with the limited technology, so I’m forever grateful for all the new technology we have today. I’m so grateful to have an insulin pump, giving me more freedom and making life a lot easier. And with CGM, I love using the Dexcom G6. I can’t ever imagine having to go back to fingerpricks*.
My hobbies are singing, song-writing, dancing, bike-riding and playing tennis. Living a healthy lifestyle and being fit is important to me and is also a passion of mine as it makes me feel good, gives me energy and keeps me healthy. It’s also beneficial to me as a performer. I am a professional singer and before lockdown, I would perform at corporate events and weddings. My husband and I run a music business called The Clean DJs and we would DJ primary school discos and I would sing live and MC at these events.
Q. And your singing career – is that something you’ve always wanted to do?
I’ve been singing, performing and writing songs since I was 6 years old. I’ve performed a lot in Musical Theatre and have also played various characters like Marilyn Monroe at Warner Bros. Movie World for 5 years. I’ve sung with my live band at weddings and corporate events and even released a few singles over the years on Spotify and YouTube.
Q. Do you find that singing/performing affects your glucose levels?
Performing definitely affects my blood glucose levels! Especially when I’m doing a high-intensity performance with a lot of dancing and high-energy singing – my glucose levels normally increase a bit! And then, after my performance, my glucose levels can drop quite rapidly once I’ve calmed down and feel relaxed after all that jumping around on stage. I haven’t had the opportunity to perform in a live setting since the whole lockdown situation, but I look forward to the day to perform on stage again. My husband and I set up a recording studio from our home and have been working on my original album – so stay tuned!
Q. How has Dexcom helped you record songs at home?
Dexcom G6 has definitely been beneficial to my lifestyle, even though I’m living a “lockdown” lifestyle at the moment here in Victoria. The Dexcom G6 ‘Urgent Low Soon’ alert has been beneficial when recording, because when my glucose levels go low it affects my mood and performance so we’d normally have to stop recording. But with the ‘Urgent Low Soon’ alert, I can manage my glucose levels before they go so low. It allows me to continue doing what I’m doing and get on with recording my vocals without it interfering with my performance.
Q. Do you use other Dexcom features like ‘Dexcom Share’? If so, who follows your data?
Yes, I do use Dexcom Share. My husband follows me. My husband is the Producer of my album and while he’s upstairs in the studio mixing and engineering the tracks, I’m downstairs working on the song-writing. He’ll get notifications on his phone if my reading is going too low or high. It’s not uncommon for him to come downstairs and say to me “you’re going low” or fix me something to eat. So overall, I find it really helpful when I’m too busy or too stubborn to acknowledge my own crazy glucose levels! Haha
Q. Before using Dexcom G6, what features were you most keen to try? And has this changed since using Dexcom G6?
To be honest I was just excited about not having to manually inject a sensor into myself! Also, the slimmer profile of the sensor was something I was definitely excited about.
Having trialled Dexcom G6, the automatic applicator is a huge positive for me – it makes such a difference to my lifestyle! I know it seems like a simple thing, but even the thought of changing my sensor is no longer a burden because I know how quick and easy the process is. Also, the wearability of a 10-day sensor versus 7-days. It seems like a small difference, but I feel it’s very significant and convenient to me personally.
Q. How would you sum up the Dexcom G6 in 10 words or less?
Convenient, easy to use, better diabetes management, life-changing!
Q11. What general advice would you give to others living with T1D?
Be kind to yourself. You are not your diabetes. Diabetes can be relentless so focus on what you can control and be a light to others!
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* If your glucose alerts and readings from the G6 do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions.
Always read the label and use only as directed. Read the warnings available on amsldiabetes.com.au/resources before purchasing. Consult your healthcare professional to see which product is right for you.
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“Having trialled Dexcom G6, the automatic applicator is a huge positive for me – it makes such a difference to my lifestyle! I know it seems like a simple thing, but even the thought of changing my sensor is no longer a burden because I know how quick and easy the process is.”
Sam believes that T1D doesn’t need to hold you back from accomplishing your dreams. In 2007, Sam debuted in professional AFL for the Western Bulldogs, and since then has gone from competing on the field to fatherhood. In 2020, Sam upgraded from Dexcom G5 Mobile to Dexcom G6 to monitor and manage his diabetes.
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