Having A Wedding, When Life Has Other Plans

A month before my wedding, I was hospitalized for a mini-stroke

Shannon, Floral Designer and Business Coach & Anthony, Computer Programmer


One month before my wedding was a flurry of social gatherings, stress, anticipation, and excitement. There was a hope that everything was going to come together and lots of prayers that the weather cooperated for a beach wedding. While I was making plans for this day, life had other plans for me.

On April 10th, one month before our wedding, I was hospitalized with left hand, left leg weakness, trouble finding words, trouble speaking, and a sharp headache. The doctors at the hospital first diagnosed me with a mini-stroke. I was hysterical in the hospital, my fiancé stayed with me the whole time, never leaving the hospital. Even through his strength I could see the fear in his eyes. What did this mean our future? Was I going to have a real stroke soon?

After many follow-ups with my neurologist I was diagnosed with hemiplegic migraines. They’re stroke like symptom migraines, and I still have about four attacks a month. These types of migraines make you more at risk for strokes and you have to wear a medical bracelet in case you have an attack in public.


Our wedding day came the following month and there was a little bit of a deeper gratitude on that day. I didn’t have an attack that day and I could have. I could have had a stroke the month before and I didn’t. We had this beautiful beach wedding full of happiness and joy. My favorite memory is yelling “Woo hooo” before walking down the aisle. It was like me saying to my husband, we did it, we’re here. As I walked down the aisle to my husband I was surrounded by everyone in my life that I’ve loved. They were standing and cheering, my eyes were full of tears of happiness and my husband’s eyes were too. It was so incredibly beautiful. In our ceremony we picked this Carl Sagan quote that spoke about the vastness of human life and love. We spent the night, dancing, and singing. We ordered pizza at ten p.m. and we opted for an ice cream sundae bar instead of wedding cake. It was such a joyful night.


Since the wedding has past we’ve began our conquest of marriage with my diagnosis. This marriage looks different than the one we planned for, but it’s our journey. My husband has always been such a positive person; he now calls this our adventure. This is our mountain to climb; this is our beast to battle. There’s nothing more he likes than a challenge and excelling at a challenge. Our lives will look differently than what we had planned pre-wedding.

Isn’t that what adventures are? They’re the plans you didn’t make.



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  • anonpsu

    I’m so glad you had a wonderful wedding day! I suffer from migraines as well (classic with aura, not as disruptive as your hemiplegic migraines, but still distruptive). I keep praying I don’t have any during or around my wedding! Having a supportive life partner when your life is disrupted by a chronic neurological condition is so important. I’ve been with men who aren’t tolerant of my migraines, and it makes things so much work. Best of luck in your new marriage.

    • SarahG

      Me too — one of my big fears is having one on my wedding day. Drinking is totally out (a trigger) but I’m just trying to think positive. This story gives me a lot of hope! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Stephanie B.

      A month before my wedding, I had to go to urgent care because I had a 3-day migraine that got worse on the third day. (I lost my job 2 months before the wedding, so I had a lot of stress going on, and stress brings on migraines for me.) I prayed so hard that I wouldn’t have a migraine for the wedding, and I made it without one! So I will send my No Migraine On My Wedding vibes your way!

  • jashshea

    This is an incredible story & thank you for sharing. It sounds like you two are well matched for your life adventure.

    Also, holy shit is that first picture amazing.

  • kcaudad

    Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.
    My now-husband showed his true colors when I got diagnosed with a chronic illness. His reaction, support and love all proved to me why I wanted to marry him, and why his is such a wonderful man to be with.

    So sorry you have to go through this.

  • BB

    I’m so happy that your wedding turned out well. Medical issues are so scary and stressful. My husband got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease just a few months after our wedding after months and years of chronic illness and uncertainty. Our wedding day was also perfect–unmarred by medical issues–and such a wonderful, wonderful, reminder that life is beautiful and joyful even when it is tough. My thoughts are with you as you conquer this adventure.

  • uncle mark

    before you even said your vows, he proved his dedication. Fear not. While you are both good people, together you are great.

  • EF

    I’m so interested to know what the Sagan reading was! A shortened version of ‘pale blue dot’?

    • The Botanical Box

      It was a mash up of a quote from Cosmos and a blogger put his own little marriage spin on it.
      Here it is:

      There was not a dry eye at our ceremony when the officiant read this quote, I highly suggest it!

      • MC

        OMG I love that and my fiance has been looking for the perfect Carl Sagan reading, THANK YOU. So beautiful.

  • Christy

    Wow, I can so relate to this right now. My wedding is 3 months away and I was just diagnosed w/ a possible brain tumor, I’m awaiting confirmation tests so I’m still optimistic but facing an illness definitely puts wedding planning in a different light. I’m so happy you were able to celebrate your day w/o symptoms! Wishing you luck on your adventure!!

    • Kayla

      My fiancé had brain surgery last October, and my doctor found an abnormality in my brain in November. We were completely not ready for brain surgery round 2. Luckily, it was just a common (and benign) arachnoid cyst. Wishing you the same news or better!

  • The Botanical Box

    Thank you everyone for all of your supportive comments. Man, it’s hard to be vulnerable and let everyone know my fears but it feels great having APW support and all the encouragement!

  • GFG

    Can I request having an open thread at some point where we talk about how we deal with health problems while planning a wedding? People so rarely talk about that kind of thing while wedding planning, but it happens all the time. Would be nice to talk with others about it.

  • jo

    Some great shots of the bride in this set. I love the look on her face in the third picture! That pic just really says it all.

    Nice one. :) Shree Vella Photography

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