Ladies Mind Series: Lady with a Healthy Mind
Welcome to the “Ladies Mind Series.” I want to take you on a journey into the lives of ordinary women who's lives have been dramatically transformed into a life worthy of honor. The first woman on the roster is Bonita Shelmon. Bonita’s story in the Ladies Mind Series will help you understand how she dealt with a health issue that many women face - fibroids. She will explain why and how she chose to have a hysterectomy. We will end by telling you how she found a new freedom of mind, body and spirit.
In the midst of Bonita's recuperation from the hysterectomy surgery, she encountered a life-threatening condition, and you don't want to miss her account and outcome. So let’s get down to business as we chat with Bonita.
Bonita Yvonne Shelmon: Age, 51
Marital Status: Married 25 years
Mother: Three Children - 2 College students, 1 High school
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Florida A & M
Occupation: Image Consultant, Sales Associate
Lifestyle: Health & Wellness
Other Interest: Gymnastics Booster Volunteer & Toastmasters Member
Motto: “Keep It Moving” – “I’m Rockin’ Me”, “Enjoy The Journey”
Enjoys: Spending time with Family & Friends, Reading, Girl Get-Togethers, Swimming and Meeting People.
Treasuresofheaven: Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to join me in a candid conversation about your journey. I will begin by asking you to greet my audience in expectation of your story.
Bonita: My quality of life had been affected by my fibroids. I was not experiencing the quality of life I should have had. It was starting to cause other health problems – the fibroid was lying on my kidneys. A decision to take care of that is where my journey began, and how I became the free person I am today - who says, “I’m Rockin’ Me.”
Treasuresofheaven: Tell me, how long you were challenged with these health issues, and what steps did you take to seek help or to improve your situation?
Bonita: Probably about 2005, I began to have symptoms of perimenopause, that’s when the heavy blood flow started. Heavy periods, and occasional missed – irregular cycles. Jump to 2008, the fibroids had grown a significant amount, which caused me to become anemic. But I was determined not to do anything; I was going to just let nature take its course.
Treasuresofheaven: What does that mean? “Nature take its course."
Bonita: Fibroids tend to shrink once you enter menopause, and I was hopeful that would occur for me. However, after I went to a new doctor, we discussed and settled on a couple options.
Treasuresofheaven: What were those options?
Bonita: I was first given a pill I would take around the clock every 8 hours, from the first day on – and it was supposed to decrease the flow of my cycle. Then I took a low-dose birth control pill. The doctor told me that if these options did not work, that a hysterectomy would be something I might have to consider.
Treasuresofheaven: What was your state of mind during this trial and error process, with these doctor recommended options?
Bonita: I have always tried to remain optimistic and not let my physical issues get in the way of doing things, but I had had enough. It made me look forward to, once again, be able to enjoy vacations and activities (like swimming) without having to always be prepared for a "lady's day."
Bonita: The first pill I took, was only successful for several months, and became ineffective. The low-dose birth control pill gave me problems too. That's when I suffered a setback. The day I decided to say, “no more birth control pills, was the same day I was taken to emergency by my sons because I was suffering excruciating back pain. It was more pain than I experienced during labor – with all three of my children.”
Treasuresofheaven: At this point, you had to be emotionally distraught, worried, in pain, and wondering what it is going on. Tell us, what were you thinking?
Bonita: Initially my first thoughts did not go to my fibroids, I thought it might be my appendix, or it just might be related to my fibroids. After all kinds of tests were completed, it was determined that my fibroid was lying on your kidneys and starting to slightly enlarge them. The Emergency Medical Doctor mentioned that I might need a hysterectomy.
Treasuresofheaven: How soon after this discovery did you make the decision to have the hysterectomy?
Bonita: Immediately, I knew a hysterectomy had to be the option. I didn't want the fibroid to cause other problems. My mom had one, and it wasn’t anything new to me. And considering the fact that I was going on 51, there was no doubt in my mind.
So I had the hysterectomy because I was at peace, and due to my faith that God was going to see me through this. I kept positive things and people around me that had the faith. I had the support of family and friends who kept me uplifted, plus I had done my homework. I was happy to have the surgery because my stomach would go down; I was excited about losing a dress/pants size. It was freeing to know that I would have “no more flow.”
Bonita: All went well, great, doctor said everything went well. Now for the recuperation.
Treasuresofheaven: We would be remiss, at this point, if you do not share with my readers, your life-threatening condition that happened a week after your surgery.
Bonita: A week later I had to be re-admitted through emergency for excruciating pain and shortness of breath (but on a different side now – left side now), which was diagnosed as blood clots in my lungs. I never would have imagined, I was shocked and I was scared. I was placed on medication – blood thinners. I was released from the hospital a few days later. My girlfriend brought me home; now I was recuperating from the hysterectomy and the blood clots.
I started asking God, “What’s next for me?” What is Bonita going to be doing once she’s healed, after all this is over”? Still feeling a little pain, I put on praise and worship music and thanked God that I was here today, and the pain went away.
Bonita: Now, I’m thinking what’s next. Being a stay-at-home mom, I had tried entrepreneurial things, but without much success. I was asking God – I know what I have, in what capacity am I supposed to use it. So I really had to get honest with me. “Maybe you need to do something totally different – so, “seek a job.” I reasoned: God this has to be about you, and I began to think about retail.
After my 6-week check up, I stopped at a national women's retail chain in my neighborhood to get an application. One week later, I was interviewed and hired “on the spot”, on my 51st birthday. Wow, what a birthday gift! I was really happy and ecstatic about it! The mission of this company is in line with my mission in life – it is a perfect match! It's only 2 minutes from my house – it was only God. I truly love what I'm doing; I don't even feel like I am working. I don't know what's next, but I'm enjoying the journey!
Treasuresofheaven: One final thought to the audience to help them keep a positive mind at a difficult time in their lives.
Bonita: Remember to keep God first, and that his promises are true. We must take care of our bodies--get regular check-ups, eat right and exercise. I always say, I'm doing my part, and I let God take care of the rest.