A few months back I created a competition on my blog for a chance of one of my readers to win a love/engagement shoot with my wedding photographer. The only entry requirements were that you had to be in love and wanted to share your story. I received quite a few entries but this one sent in by Imogen had be literally sobbing after reading. It moved me to read the love resonating from this story and so a few weeks later Kirsty my photographer
headed off to meet Imogen and Letty to give them their free photo shoot. I asked permission by the lovely couple and they kindly agreed to let me share their story and some of their pictures. If I were you I would get a tissue now, this is gunna be a tear jerker.
My name is Imogen, and my soon to be wife is Letty. We met almost 4 years ago online, Twitter actually. But before I tell you about that, let me tell you a little about me.
I was born with a genetic impairment that means my connective tissues don't hold me together very well. I spent my late teens in lots of pain, feeling really sick, but with no idea why. The doctors had no idea what was going on, and after a few years they said I had a muscle wasting disease. My twenties were really hard work, I became a powered wheelchair user, needed 24h care, and eventually I could hardly breath - needing a ventilator at night to keep me alive. There was a 5 year period, from about 23 to 28 where I was in intensive care every 6 to 8 weeks in respiratory arrest, needing a tube down my throat so machines could breath for me. I was so poorly they expected me to die any moment. During this period, I was diagnosed with the correct condition and work had started to on a new treatment plan, but to be honest I didn't care any more. I couldn't see much point to being alive and my mental health was in the toilet.
Then I met Letty. And everything started to change.
Twitter was a platform I used loads at the time, the government were making changes to the welfare system and I felt part of a community who were fighting for the rights of disabled people. I started a blog and wrote about what was happening, but also looked for guest bloggers to write from their perspective. I don't remember following @wheelingnable on Twitter, or seeing her in my time line, but this day I saw a link to a blog post and clicked it. She wrote the most incredible, honest, post about her life and how the welfare system was an imperative part of it. I was moved to tears and I knew I wanted her to write for me! So I dropped her an email!
We soon stuck up a strong friendship, based around laughter, struggling with disability and passion for the rights of disabled people. But I could never have imagined where we would end up.
I soon fell crazily in love with her and couldn't keep it to my self. Thankfully she felt the same and we tentatively started planning our lives together.
Letty was paralysed from the neck down in a car accident when she was 6 years old, sadly her mum who was driving didn't survive. Being the first child to be spinally injured outside of birth and survive, she went on to struggle with medics who simply didn't know how to manage her complex needs, leaving her with even more long term health issues. Fighting seems to be in her DNA and I suddenly realised I was going to die without fighting for my life!
Knowing that the chances are we will both die young, I wanted to make sure we have a much time together as possible. So I set about changing my life totally. I'm excited to say I've not been in intensive care now for 3 years! I no longer need a ventilator at night, and after some therapy I'm vastly better at knowing when to ask for help.
I still have a complex condition and life is always throwing curve balls. I've been in and out of hospital lots this year. And tragically Letty's dad died suddenly at Christmas last year. But we have a strength that most people will never experience and we are thrilled to be getting married July 30th next year!
Our love story might not be Disney, but I think it shows how love can transform even the darkest of situations. And whilst I might not believe in a Devine, or even a soul mate, I believe wholeheartedly that Letty and I were made for each other.