Living like jazz: Diabetes doesn’t stop this dancer from achieving her dreams

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As a professional dancer and daughter of the former billiards world champion Geet Sethi, Jazz Sethi embodies determination and perseverance.

One of the first people to use artificial pancreas in the country, Jazz was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 13. “I’ve lost a lot of weight. My sugar level was 1050. So they took me to the hospital. They took me to the intensive care unit and was given insulin, ”recalls the 26-year-old Jazz.

Jazz has lived with type 1 diabetes for 12 years. “At first, like every 13 year old, I thought that I would be healed. You go to a hospital thinking that you will leave the hospital well. It wasn’t until later that I realized this was going to be a lifelong condition. ”

Insulin is a lifeline for people with type 1 diabetes. “We equate insulin with water. It’s vital, ”she says.

However, many people these days are reluctant to use insulin. “There are so many myths and stigmatizations surrounding this life-saving drug. And I think it’s very important to get the message across that insulin is safe and will keep you alive. ”

As a professional dancer and performance artist, Jazz began taking dance lessons at the age of five. When she was diagnosed with diabetes, Jazz thought she had to stop dancing. However, over the years she found that things were different, but nothing changed. Her six hour rehearsal did not change. She checked her sugar levels, took a small syringe of insulin if necessary, and ate a small snack. “So life hasn’t changed. It was just a little different, ”she says.

“Those who take insulin can lead a normal life. You can do whatever you want. You can reach the stars and go to the bottom of the ocean, but only and only if you have your insulin, ”says Jazz, who started the“ I Love You Insulin ”campaign in 2021, the year that will celebrate its 100th birthday made the discovery of insulin.

Jazz says her quality of life has improved a lot since she started using artificial pancreas. “The artificial pancreatic system uses what is called closed loop technology, where you have a CGM which is a continuous glucose monitor, you have an insulin pump, and then you have a little radio that kind of connects them. It makes them talk to each other. So it tries to mimic the natural physiology of the actual pancreas. When your CGM records an increase in your sugar, the pump will give you a little more insulin. If it thinks the sugar is going down, the insulin is suspended, ”explains Jazz.

Jazz did her diploma in performance studies in Italy. She uses art as a medium to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes. “I’ve danced all my life. I created shows and performances. Last year we put out a diabetes anthem, ”she smiles.

For her, performance is a means of storytelling. She tries to tell her stories through performance and movement and to integrate a lot of them into her foundation work. “It’s about people with type 1 feeling less alone. When you are diagnosed with a chronic condition, there is an overwhelming sense of loneliness. You feel like you’re the only one in the world going through this. And then suddenly, when you have twenty people around you, all injecting insulin at the same time and all controlling their sugar, you suddenly feel good. That’s why we do a lot of peer support. We conduct one-on-one consultations in a project called ‘Back to Basics’. ”

Jazz launched a YouTube channel called ‘Diabetes’ in 2019. “Right now it’s got a lot of views and it’s about making diabetes fun, exciting, and energetic, not like a disease. It’s about bringing type 1 diabetes out of the dark and into the blue, ”she says with a wink.

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