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Lesley (Hoffman) Goldenberg is an Education Director in New York City and has her Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). She is the director of an afternoon Hebrew school and oversees family and holiday programming for the synagogue. She has been living with Type I Diabetes for 17 years and tries to kick its ass every single day by taking care of herself, checking her blood frequently, exercising and laughing.

How old were you when you were diagnosed with diabetes and how long have you lived with diabetes?
I was diagnosed with Diabetes when I was 12 years old and have lived with Diabetes for over 17 years; I am now 30.

What do you feel has been your biggest challenge living with diabetes as a woman?
I think my biggest challenge, generally speaking, is that its chronic and I”ll be stuck with it forever. I think it would be easier to handle if I could take a vacation from it once in awhile. For example, I dread changing my infusion site and feel a huge sense of relief when I change it and know that it works, I’ve chosen a good site and I’m absorbing the insulin. But that sense of relief only lasts a few minutes once I realize I’ll have to do it all over again in 48 hours. The fact that it is ALWAYS THERE and NEVER leaves me alone is the most challenging part.

As a woman specifically, my biggest challenge for now is even THINKING about pregnancy. I fear the process of preparing my body, actually getting pregnant, staying pregnant and having a healthy baby. I am consumed with fear that something will go wrong and that I won’t be able to achieve my lifelong dream of having children.

What has been the greatest piece of advice you’ve received about living with diabetes?
When I was first diagnosed, a Diabetes educator told my parents and I that Diabetes is a bump in the road and is a problem that can be solved. It obviously can’t be cured but it can be dealt with in a way that makes life enjoyable. She also told us that we didn’t need to become a “Diabetic Family” and that we could just be a regular old family, with a child who happened to have Diabetes. That became my parents’ mantra and mine as well. It doesn’t define my family and it certainly doesn’t define me, its just a piece to me and my personality.