Today my husband and I are celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. He made the joke this morning that it has been 11 long years but I feel like the time has flown by. He does too honestly but it isn’t nearly as much fun as kidding your spouse. I still remember every moment of that day like it just happened. 11 years ago on this day it was also a Sunday and since it is Labor Day weekend we had an extra day for our guests to stay or have time to get home without too much hassle. I woke up on a similar day like this where the weather was perfect, the sun shining, and my mind racing. It was only racing because I was so excited but I had all day to wait. I had left my then fiance at the rehearsal dinner and told him I would see him tomorrow afternoon. I went back to my mom’s and when I woke up I was ready to go.
After a fantastic breakfast made by my mom the ladies were off and running to get our hair, nails and toes done. We had a few hours in the morning for the dazzle and then headed to the wedding where my dress waited, the rest of the ladies met us, and the guests would be arriving. I had spoken to Matthew that morning but had not seen him yet. As we were getting ready our wedding coordinator came down and said a very handsome man had arrived. I knew that was my soon to be husband. I was changing my life from single woman Nicole Snider to married woman Nicole Richard and I was so excited and nervous and scared and sick. I had just been diagnosed with MCTD 2 weeks earlier and I was on some serious medication trying to make it through the day with very little pain.
When I had ordered my dress and shoes I didn’t know what was in store for me and since I’m only 5’3” and my husband 5’11” I wanted to add a little height so I ordered 3” heels. Not a good idea with someone who has MCTD and her legs hurt so bad she can barely walk but it was what it was. 2 weeks earlier I told my then new doctor that the only thing I wanted was to be able to walk down the aisle to my new husband. He said I would get down the aisle but I had long road ahead of me that I needed to prepare for. My husband and I didn’t spend a lot of time of preparing for our wedding but we did spend a lot of time preparing for our marriage and our future. This MCTD deal was not part of that plan but sometimes plans are derailed. MCTD was going to be a big part of life and preparation was going to be key.
I took my medication, put on my shoes and walked down that aisle to my husband. He was as handsome as I had imagined and I couldn’t wait to get down there to him. We had a quick a ceremony and went right into pictures and the receptions. We had a dance that we spent months preparing for and as I look back on that evening there was nothing I would change. Still today as I think back there is truly nothing I would change about anything that happened in that day, evening and the last 11 years. Life doesn’t always take us in the direction that we want, expect or prepare for but it doesn’t mean it is necessarily taking us off track either.
If I didn’t get told 11 years ago that I had MCTD I might not be the health nut that I am now, I might not have started training for life and adding exercise to my life with the same determination that I do now, and I might not be the hardcore researcher that I have become. I do this so that I can be as healthy as possible while managing my MCTD so I can be the best wife I can. I don’t look at my life and want my husband to take care of me, I want to take care of myself and be the partner I was meant to be. I realize that if I became very sick he would take care of me and I’m grateful for that but if I can make it so that never happens then I’m doing the very best I can. My life has been faced with obstacles but so have many others out there and we all deal with them differently. I will always find someone who is far worse off than I and I will always be grateful for the place I have found. I train for life because as much as I want to be an athlete I want to be a healthy woman so my exercise is for my health.
After 11 years of marriage I’m still learning all kinds of things about my husband. He is smart and funny and so kind. Although I knew that about him already I didn’t know that he had this passion for golf that has recently surfaced and he takes his golf as seriously as I take my weight training and yoga. We each have our passions and we learn that each other are capable of great things. I am so excited to see where the next 11 years takes us and another 11, and another 11, and even another 11 after that. I’m sure they will all look so differently but be just as much fun.