When most young girls are playing Barbies, house and dreaming of their wedding day there was me. Don’t get me wrong, I did play these things, but I always had a twist. I was a CEO, a writer, a renowned surgeon and a famous movie star. I could never settle for just one thing. I wanted it ALL! It wasn’t a monetary reason, it was power. I knew from an early age I wanted to conquer the world and make an impact. I have always had big dreams, but unfortunately have had some physical and emotional hurdles to overcome. As a person with health issues through the years it felt that control and power was constantly being stolen from me. I had to escape to my imaginary world to find relief and the sense of power that I lacked. I was a queen on her thrown in my made up world. I wasn’t sure if I would ever find the “right” guy due to my picky, demanding nature.

Let’s fast forward a few years and introduce Mark. We grew up in the same city, but didn’t date until college. I was in my freshman year of college and received a date invite over winter break that little did I realize, would forever change my life for the better. Mark was nothing like the guys I dated in the past. He opened doors, genuinely cared what I wanted and valued my opinions. Somewhat of a romantic, I instantly fell for him! I often questioned his motives to be honest. Why would this great guy stay with a gal that is constantly wanting more? Why would he sit by my side through frustrating doctor after doctor appointment? He wasn’t brought up like I was with part of his life spent in a hospital. For me, it was just another day, for him, well I couldn’t imagine what he was thinking. Why would he take on such a project? I realized it was his heart. I never knew someone could have so much love in their heart for me. Until him, I honestly didn’t know I deserved it. He stood strong and silent and dealt with my emotional and physical ups and downs. He was the open arms I needed. He supported and encouraged every crazy idea I dreamed up.

In 2008 we were hit with the news. In a matter of one moment we were scared, relieved and blessed. I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. To hear you have a disease that has no cure and will only get worse was a lot to take in, not just for me, but for Mark. I sat and wondered how much more this great guy would stay and face with me. Although I knew I didn’t sign-up for AS, neither did he. Did he really need to be in his 30’s taking care of someone who will never be able to know what the next hurdle will bring? I had an extreme amount of guilt inside for making him experience this. It wasn’t fair. If he would have chosen another woman, it could of all been different. Easier. I realized as a woman how lucky I am. I was blessed with a partner that loved me unconditionally. He didn’t expect a medal for his support, he loved me for me, flaws and all. He would do anything to ease some of my pain even if it was a simple smile sent my way.

Now as a woman in my 30’s I realize how many of my dreams have come true. I still want it ALL, but now I cherish daily what I do have in my life. I have been blessed with so much. Although  I have AS, I do see it as a blessing. Mainly, because of all the amazing people I have met and the realization of what family and friends have stuck by my side and showed their support. I’ve learned a lot about me. I have allowed my heart and mind to open to possibilities. I owe a lot of this to Mark. He taught me about unconditional love. How to be there for each other and never expecting something in return. Unconditional love means you do it out of choice, not because it is expected or what you will get in return. My dreams have changed a bit. I may not be a surgeon or a movie star, but I do feel like I am where I am meant to be at this point in my life. Who knows, I still may become the next Audrey Hepburn one day. There is such a big future ahead and I can’t wait to see where this road will take me. I can confidently say that Mark will be with me every step of the way and I am excited about growing old together. I do believe that certain people are supposed to come into your life for a reason. Mark came into mine to help me make all of my dreams come true. Thank you Babe for being amazing you! You are my rock, my best friend, my real life Prince Charming. Love You!

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