I remember the first time I really fell for a boy, but then felt unworthy because he didn’t know I was living with an incurable disease…

My greatest fear was always – What will they think of my scar? I had so much shame about the scar that went down the middle of my chest from my open-heart surgeries. You could barely notice it, yet I was sure boys would not like me because of it.

Then after I realized how severe congenital heart disorders are, my greatest fear became – Who would want to marry someone like me? I had so much anxiety that anyone I met wouldn’t want to be with me when they could have another, healthy woman.

Then I met Matt, the man who chose me.

We met in San Francisco right after college. Our relationship lasted only a few months and then ended quickly when I did my typical, “once he finds out about my “disorder” he won’t want to be with me…” This was all before I found out the severity of my condition and my 2014 open-heart surgery. We went our separate ways and I ended up dating someone else, someone who was with me on January 17, 2014 when I had my life changing surgery. Then he left…

He broke up with me and we never spoke again. My heart was broken, not because I loved him, but because I had that horrible feeling of being unworthy because of my condition. I spent months trying to figure out why, but soon realized it must have been because he didn’t want to spend a lifetime with someone who was living with an incurable disease. Or my newest scar was too ugly for him to handle.

Then Matt popped back into my life…

One weekend hanging out with Matt was all I needed. I knew I was going to marry him. I literally called all my friends and told them that. They probably thought I was crazy, but when you know you know. At that point all he knew was that I ran a company that focused on congenital heart disorders, but didn’t know I was still battling with some of my own issues that were not fixed from the most recent open-heart surgery. I was terrified for him to find out. As our relationship matured and my condition revealed itself more, he did not walk away. In fact, we became closer. He was the very first person I could ever talk to about my fears, anxieties, and hopes for the future. He was the first person who made me feel beautiful even with my scar. (besides my parents) He was the first person who challenged me to live my life to the fullest despite the fears and internal battles I face every single day living with CHD.

When he got down on one knee and proposed to me, I was in complete shock. Not only did I want to say F*ck YES, but I was also so aware that he chose us despite the uncertainties that our future may hold. So yeah, I’M GETTING MARRIED!!!

To all the wonderful warriors living with CHD, do not let your insecurities or fear get in the way of creating relationships. The right one will see your beauty inside and out no matter what. The right one will choose to walk the CHD journey with you and you will feel so very loved, cared for, and beautiful despite any circumstance. The one who you are supposed to be with will let you squeeze their hand until it turns blue when you are getting your blood drawn, will make jokes when you look ridiculous in a hospital gown, will cheer you on when you need it the most, and cry with you when you breakdown. They will also not let your circumstances define your relationship. They will challenge you, love you, be your number one cheerleader, and advocate on your behalf. I hope when you find your love, you realize they are heart warriors too because they are fighting this battle with you.

Matt, I will forever be grateful for everything you do for me and the whole heart community. You truly make my heart the happiest and I can’t wait do life with you, FOREVER!!