I'M ENGAGED! Nazim asked me to be his wife a couple of weeks ago and of course I said yes. I'm still in shock and still very excited because I literally get to live and build a future with the most amazing man I have ever met.
When Naz approached me in April 2016 at a happy hour in Washington, DC, we had an instant connection. Of course it was based off of a physical attraction, but early in our courtship, I realized that I had a keeper. He made me laugh, we could talk for hours, but most of all, he was considerate and very thoughtful.
We have had countless special moments, but I remember in the beginning when I had a crazy day at work, he dropped off flowers. And another time, when I was sick, he made me tea. And people, this wasn't your average tea! He whipped up this Creole recipe that he learned from his grandparents in Orange, Texas to cure the common cold. Literally when he left my apartment, I called my mom to tell her and she said, "Girl, they don't make them like that no more" lol. He was a man about action and now he is my fiancé. God is truly amazing!
Early in our relationship, I told him that I had Sickle Cell Disease. He said he heard of the disease, but didn't know too much about it. I explained the disease and a little bit about my family history. I asked if anyone in his family had the disease, he said "no, but wasn't sure." I didn't press it but in the back of my head, I remained curious as we continued to get to know each other better.
A couple of weeks after I told him I had SCD, we were out on a date and he brought up the most random facts about the disease. At first, I thought it was weird, but later I realized he was googling information about sickle cell disease, hence the random information. The fact that he was trying to educate himself about the disease and was understanding, made me like him even more. In the past, I have dated people that weren't mature or couldn't handle the thought of being with someone with a preexisting health condition which was frustrating.
As our relationship continued to grow, the more curious I became about his family history with the disease. When he started bringing up questions about the future, such as where do I want to live? How many kids I want? etc, I told him he should get tested (this was a couple of months before the engagement). Lucky for us, we live in the DC area and Howard University Center for Sickle Cell Disease offers free testing for sickle cell disease. He went and got tested and we found out that he has a normal hemoglobin which means, if we have children, they would not have the disease but the trait (check out my first blog post to understand the genetics of sickle cell).
My relief about him taking the test was focused on us both knowing what the future would look like for us. I recommend that everyone get tested to ensure that they know their status. Ask your doctor for information about testing in your area. For those that have sickle cell or dating someone with the disease, I advocate having a serious conversation about the disease, including your fears and concerns. For those that are single, it's important to find a partner that is patient, kind, and mature. Sounds simple but don't compromise on what you value to be important qualities. The right person will come at the right time so trust the process.
The disease will place limits on you physically, but you are more than capable of living a full life. Although you may need to alter your plans due to obstacles, always remember all things work together for the good so keep the faith and keep pushing through to achieve the things that you want for your life.