Live. Work. Play: Michael’s Diabetes Story

By American Diabetes Association

Working for the American Diabetes Association® means making a difference for millions of people and working toward a future free of diabetes and all its burdens.

We all have a story to share. Some of us live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or prediabetes. Others have loved ones with the disease or have lost someone to the fight.

The following are personal stories from the Association’s staff about why we are so committed to the mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

Michael Eisenstein
Publisher, ADA Publishing
Home Office (Alexandria, Va.)

When I received a call from the Association recruiter in December, her first question was: “Why do you want to work for the American Diabetes Association?”

“My wife, my eldest daughter, my dad and I all live with type 2 diabetes,” I answered. The words just flew out of my mouth as if I’d needed to say them for a long time.

When I was 17, my doctor of internal medicine subjected me to a not-so-fun oral glucose tolerance test. The test showed I was low-normal. He looked at me and said: “This is an indicator, along with your dad having type 2, that you will have the disease as you grow older.”

I dismissed it, thinking, “Hey, my sugar is 70 and you’re telling me I’m going to have diabetes? No way!” When you’re 17, you feel immortal. I was wrong.

The number 17 is meaningful here because 17 years ago my internist diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes. I was floored, shaking, sweating. I felt panicky and started doing research—probably not the smartest thing to do the day of diagnosis. I had two daughters and my eldest would be diagnosed a few years later. I worried how long I would be around. I thought, “Will I walk them down the aisle? Hold my grandchildren? Face amputations?”

However, I got my head together and started eating right and working out five days a week at a gym. I went for blood tests every couple of months, and my veins and fingers quickly got used to needles. The more consistent my workouts—40 tough, sweaty minutes on a treadmill—the more controlled my glucose levels became.

Today, I am doing okay. Although I do have a number of related complications that are not getting worse, but not better either.

Before I came to the Association, I did not really think about how this disease had ravaged so many in my family. My wife had gestational diabetes with our second daughter. The doctor told her it could become type 2 diabetes in time, which it did about 10 years ago. My dad gave up his driver’s license a few years back when his right foot went numb (from diabetic neuropathy) while driving; unable to feel the brakes, he hit the accelerator instead. He hit a wall and totaled his car, but fortunately, no one was hurt.

The opportunity to serve as the Association’s new publisher just blew me away. I felt a passion inside that I’d never felt before in any of my professional positions. I’ve been working here two months now and the passion grows daily. It’s quite possible I can make a difference to help my family and the hundreds of millions in the world who suffer from this insidious disease.

I cannot imagine a better job than the one I have right now. It is an honor to work here and I am proud to be an ADA-er!

To learn more about nationwide employment opportunities and life at the Association, please visit


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