Lashawn: Let’s talk story…I’m with Havana, who is so gracious to share her inspiring journey as she embraces the menopausal transition through a total beautifying transformation. Welcome, to the SpotLight, Havana…
Havana: Thanks! I’m glad you invited me.
LaShawn: Well, what makes you glow these days? You’re beautiful, please share with us some insight of where you started and what you had to overcome to get where you are today.
Havana: Thanks be to GOD, he deserves all the glory! This very same time last year I could not walk I was in tremendous pain due to two pinched nerves which were pressing on my spine. My body felt like it was on fire 24/7. I had back surgery on 1/29/11, went through a grueling recovery period, and used a walker for several months during my rehab. I’m just so blessed to be able to walk again. I’m walking over 10 miles per week and recently fell in love with Zumba, which I do weekly. Previously, to this incident, I was injured very badly in a car accident that actually disabled me. This was the beginning of many physical and mental issues which began a journey of chronic back and neck pain. I also lost my memory I didn’t even know who I was when the paramedics found me. Because of all the trauma to my body from the car accident I ended up with Post Traumatic Stress, Fibromyalgia, TMJ, Vertigo, Depression, Severe Chronic Neck and Back Pain, Memory Loss and to top that off, I had a Heart Attack on my 48th birthday and had another one three days after that. But at the end of the day…I’m Still Here! And all that I went through, I have no regrets. It was those trials and tribulations that have humbled me and made me appreciate how important life and health really are and how to appreciate every minute of my life. So Lashawn to answer your question, I would say Life makes me glow…
LaShawn: You’re the true meaning of a survivor! And the Love of Life is a beautiful glow. At what age did you start menopausing?
Havana: I started menopausing in my mid-forties. Well first of all my body was changing along with my mind and I didn’t really know what was happening to me. Mainly because I was not informed about menopause and actually did not want to deal with it because I related menopause with becoming an old lady and I just knew that this was not happening to me because I thought I was too young. Basically, I was in denial. I experienced anxiety, mood changes, a quick temper, extreme coldness (I was always cold now I’m always hot) my periods were heavy/my periods were light, spotting, severe PMS symptoms, insomnia, and weight gain.
LaShawn: How do you prioritize the importance of taking care and nurturing self?
Havana: I have chosen to make my health #1 on my list. Your health is the most important because if you don’t have your health you really don’t have much and you’re limited in the things you can do. I make sure I exercise first thing in the morning every day and eat healthily. But there is more to it. You are responsible for you and your body no one else is going to make you healthy! You have to be responsible and diligent about your life and your health. And all I can say is that it has worked for me. Since I have owned my health I actually feel great. I also lost some weight. I’m now 30 pounds lighter and down three dress sizes, which have given me incredible energy.
LaShawn: What are your down-to-earth words on nutrition and fitness that works for you?
Havana: Start living healthy – DO IT NOW! Because we’re not getting any younger. And you deserve to love yourself and take care of yourself… NO ONE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU! We need to take better care of ourselves. I’m eating lots of veggies, fruits, chicken, and fish. I’ve cut out the salt, sugar and junk food. Also, keeping the body moving, we really need to exercise. Exercising has so many benefits that helps one live healthier and longer.
LaShawn: I like that, Do it Now and Do it for You! Also, we need to be in tune to what will work for us individually. Listening to what the body has to say in terms of how we feel and what motivates us. What motivates you to keep moving towards fitness?
Havana: First of all, I want to be here for my kids and my grandchildren, that is very important to me (even though I don’t have any grandchildren now). Secondly, find something you love! For me it’s walking and dancing, that’s why I Zumba, you can burn calories and it tones your body and gives you incredible energy. I’m hooked. And yes it is very important to pay attention to your body. Our bodies do speak to us. So pay attention to your body, get informed, get moving and most importantly get your regular annual medical check-ups.
LaShawn: Thanks for sharing. You’re an inspiration, you have motivated me to work on my glow and to count my blessings along the way. Havana…Thank you for being in the Spotlight!
Update: Havana is now the Proud & Gorgeous Grandmother of a Beautiful Grandson!
(Original Interview-Revised From 1/20/2012)