Distance, Dating and Diabetes


Distance, Dating and Diabetes

al'Salaam and ChurchMy name is Taalib al’Salaam and am dating a really wonderful, thoughtful, hardworking lady, Ellica Church. We met at a church service on July 4, 2010 and we have now been dating for over a year. What a wonderful woman she is - gracious, bright, witty and fun.

I live in Maryland and she lives in North Carolina so sometimes it is difficult to see her and spend time, but it is well worth it. Recently, for her birthday I flew down, swooped her up (along with her cute dog Maggie), and took her back to DC with me for a weekend of fun! We ate a wonderful dinner at Sequoia restaurant overlooking the Potomac River, then we saw Kathleen Battle and Cyrus Chestnut in concert! What a great time. We then had a surprise celebration dinner at a friend’s home in Maryland and visited some museums on Sunday.

Reading that first paragraph you might have wondered “Ok, this is nice but where is the relevance to diabetes?” Well, Ellica has Type 1 but I don’t think about that when I think of her. Sure, I have to put some extra thought into how many carbs her meals may have if I plan a restaurant outing.  I may have to consider whether or not she can have a dessert for her birthday and what kind of desserts I can help her choose. Having extra snacks in the car, Splenda at my apartment, and keeping refreshed on using the glucagon kit, are part of things I think about. And we did have some laughs when she had to change her pod out in the car before the concert because doing so in the bathroom was (cue nastyface…) “TOO NASTY!”

But, truthfully having Type 1 has been so integrated into our friendship and our courtship that it is not an extra burden that preoccupies my mind. Think about it this way… What if you dated someone who had bad allergies? Would you then (as some do and are entitled to do) say “Oh boy, this is a big deal. She has ALLERGIES!” Of course not… you’d say “Well, just gotta make sure that I have some Allegra around.”

That is the way I think about my lady having Type 1. Maybe because I did a lot of research and asked a ton of questions when we first met, I am able to deal with it. I was doing all that research because I knew that I cared about her. Knowledge is a great source of strength no matter the condition because you know what to expect when symptoms begin to show. Maybe it’s knowing that this is not a condition with a cure but a condition to be lived with, at least for now. And as a tech nerd, I gotta admit the gadgets to deliver insulin and monitor blood sugar are pretty cool. Kinda makes my lady like The Bionic Woman.

At the end of the day, it is her condition to manage.  But to the extent I can subconsciously keep my senses open to when she might be trending down or up, including to the Dexcom alerts, I will… because I love her.

Taalib al’Salaam lives in Maryland.  His girlfriend, Ellica Church, in North Carolina has lived with Type 1 diabetes for almost eight years and uses the OmniPod insulin pump and Dexcom G4 CGM.