Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD
Sports Dietitian/Spokesperson/Speaker

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There’s No Such Thing as Luck


I rarely write personal stories but today is an exception.

This past week someone told me I was lucky. I smiled.  As I stood there, the last 12 years flashed before my eyes.  No doubt I have had an incredible life and I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m sure her comment was meant in a positive way though I still couldn’t help but think… lucky?

My flashbacks triggered thoughts of the difficult time I had getting pregnant when everyone around me was having babies; my experience with fertility treatment, the testing, poking and prodding at my body to see “what was wrong with me?” Finally getting pregnant, then going into labor at 22 weeks and being told my twins would likely die; having to be held upside down on bed rest, gaining unwanted fat and losing my precious muscle until needing an emergency C-section at just 24 weeks. I had flashbacks of the beeping machines and IV’s that kept my tiny babies alive for 6 months, wondering every time my phone rang if it was the hospital telling me one of them died. Then the boys finally coming home, on heart rate monitors, hooked up to pulse-ox machines and oxygen every day for almost two years. I recalled suctioning their mucus so they did not suffocate on their own saliva; them vomiting 5-6 times every single day, often on me or their dad because of their severe sensory issues, in tears while scrubbing carpets.  I recalled the days of carrying my twin boys and their oxygen tanks to their weekly appointments: the eye doctor, pulmonologist, heart specialist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, physical therapist and vision therapist, etc. etc. every week for years and years. The MRI’s, the EKG’s, the hospital stays, the 911 calls because they couldn’t breathe; their dad working long hours, then staying up half the night so that I could get some hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Lucky, huh?

I thought not only about the daily struggles of raising a child with severe autism but the past 10 years of therapy and trying new schools, new techniques and traveling to see new specialists and pureeing and transporting food everywhere we go because he can’t chew solid food; the sadness and loneliness of a failed marriage and the unbelievably hard times of going through a divorce.

And while I have a whole lot more wonderful, amazing and even sad memories within those 12 years (the birth of my beautiful daughter just to name one), the thought that someone could view my life as lucky was nothing short of fascinating!

So I asked, “Why do you think I’m so lucky?”

“You’re always doing fun things and you handle things so well, she replied.”

“You’re right,” I said smiling. “I have had and continue to have an amazing life!”

My journey has been more than I could have ever imagined. I have the privilege of being a mom. I work very hard and have built a wonderful career that I love. I make a difference in people’s lives and will leave this earth feeling great about my work. I’ve learned to surround myself with positive people and avoid the negative ones as much as possible. And I have fun and appreciate every day (well, most days!)

But here’s the thing…..that’s not luck. That’s called choice.

There’s no such thing as luck. Happiness and success come from a combination of hard work and how you choose to handle the journey you’re on. It’s figuring out ways to make things happen. It’s taking personal responsibility for the situation that you’re in and dealing with it.

If you want a happy, healthy, fun and fit life, then start by making sure you surround yourself with the right people and choose to be positive. I teach this to my clients every day. It doesn’t mean you won’t have challenges or bumps along the way. It doesn’t mean you won’t be sad or possibly have years of hard times. It doesn’t mean your life will be perfect.

Life is a journey. Your life is your journey. Don’t compare it to others. Don’t feel bad about it. Live it; own it; love it; or change it. And be thankful that you get to choose how you handle it.

I made a choice to be happy, to go after what I want and focus on the positive. What will your choice be?

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5 Responses to “There’s No Such Thing as Luck”

  1. Janel says:

    Great, positive post from a great, positive person, mom and dietitian. You’re doing a fantastic job!

  2. Leah McGrath says:

    Wow Heather , I had no idea. This is truly inspirational. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Kristi says:

    Love you girl! I love this post. Your kids are lucky to have an amazing role model as their momma :) xxoo

  4. Robin says:

    Powerful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I remember you when you were a teen. I was impressed then, but your story gives so much hope to all who read this. Thank you for sharing.

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