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A photo taken the day before emergency surgery in Belize

It’s a moment that, while still relatively fresh, will be one that’ll have an impact on me the rest of my life.

“Thank goodness you made it here to the hospital when you did. And that we operated when we did. That was a close call. You had about twenty minutes to spare.”

Four short sentences.

It’s those words mumbled by the doctor who performed emergency surgery on me while vacationing in Belize that’s burned in my memory.

There’s never been a day that’s gone by since June that I haven’t vividly been taken back to that moment in time. What if John didn’t decide to have me flown to Belize City? What if I was transported to Honduras instead? What if there wasn’t a flight readily available to take me from the small village of Placencia, where there was no hospital, to Belize City? There are still so many “what if” thoughts that consume my mind on a daily basis. It’s hard to process sometimes.

To this day, I still find myself more frustrated, tearing up at the drop of a hat, fatigued and dealing with bouts of depression. I give myself a hard time for it too.

Why am I so hung up on something that happened 5 months ago? When I hear myself say that out loud  … or when in conversation or even just trying to justify my feelings, it helps me to realize —  it really wasn’t that long ago.

A co-worker said something to me last month that resonated: “If everything you went through in the past year and a half didn’t leave an impact on you, then you’re simply not human.”

She’s right, but I will argue that there are people out there going through far worse things. I know this firsthand as I’m subjected to it every single day working in news. My friend, who’s the same age as I, is still recovering from a severe stroke she suffered. I mean, I can’t even imagine what her family is going through.

I went back and forth about writing this post. I thought about writing a six-month update in December, but what really prompted me to share what I’m grateful for was when I hopped on Instagram earlier today. Seeing all the many images and captions of what people are thankful for made me want to join in.

I posted this:

Thankful for these two ❤️

A photo posted by Megan Fenno (@megan_fenno) on

Obviously I’m very thankful for my husband and son. But that’s only a drop in the bucket. The tip of a giant iceberg.

This year more so than ever, I’m thankful for life. Weeks after we were home from Belize, John and I were folding laundry and I was complaining about how bad my incisions ached. This was after I had the second surgery 17 days later. His response, among the many I complained to was, “At least you’re alive”.

He was right. Everyone was right. And I am continually trying to minimize the amount of  time I spend complaining about random everyday frustrations and replace those thoughts and words with a positive focus. Challenging? You bet.

Life isn’t always a walk in the park and I swear the synthetic hormones I’m taking just don’t the natural ones justice. Going through menopause at 31 wasn’t something I’d ever chose — even if I’m ‘getting it out of the way’. It’s just not natural.  But what it comes down to is how lucky am I to just be here.

Lost hair will grow back. The nightmares I experience will subside and eventually I hope to stop questioning the situation and just accept that this is the way my life was meant to be. So what if I don’t have the option to have another child. That’s the beauty of adoption. The physical pain from scar tissue is lessening and the bouts of sickness are becoming less of an issue in my everyday life. I’m starting establish a workout routine and things feel more ‘normal’ then they’ve been in years.

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So this Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for the new perspective I’ve been given on life.

Every moment I get to spend with my loved ones and friends are cherished more than ever. Of course I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still struggling with some of the residual effects of the four surgeries and 15 ER visits, but that’s okay.

I’m learning to accept that I’ll probably never be the same and that’s not all bad either.  Additionally, I’m learning to let go of trying to make up for lost time. There are so many things I want to blog, jewelry I want to make, unfinished projects I’ve started at work, things I want to do with Myles that I didn’t get a chance to do.  But if I continually focus on the past, it brings on this overwhelming feeling of unwanted pressure.

As of late, I’ve been practicing to instead shift my focus on the present— while staying optimistic for the future.

Everything in life truly does comes down to perspective; and I’m thankful I’m able to now realize that.

Glass half full, anyone?

Note: If you’re new to this blog and wondering what on earth I’m talking about, here’s link to one of my previous blog posts: 4 surgeries in 10 months.

And another photo with my little  family, because I love them so much.

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