It was only after she was academically suspended by the college she was attending, that she became a Certified Nurses Aide (CNA). She did her training in Billings, Montana and it was there she learned how to take care of others and bonded with the geriatric population.
For over five years, Shannon worked in the same nursing home where she received her training. The work was hard, but it grounded her and helped her find balance in what had become a deeply unbalanced life. It was not until she was a CNA, at one of the hospitals that she had a dream-three nights in a row-that she was going to become a nurse.
She currently resides in Tampa, Florida, where you may hear her laughing with her husband of over 10 years, scuba diving in the ocean, taking walks with their rescued pit-bull dog- Darby, or dancing together to life’s music.
In your book you wrote how disappointed you were when you found out you had Poly Cystic Ovary disease and that you had always wanted to have 4 boys. Did you ever think of adopting?
Yes, I did. However, I knew for some time I could not take care of myself. How was I going to be able to take care of children? I was not put together yet, and it took many years for me to feel like I was able to care for myself. I did not have the money to work with a fertility specialist. It was something I had to come to terms with and accept. It was not in God’s plans for me to become an actual mom. So, I am a mom to my rescue dog, Darby.
What is your pet peeve?
One thing I learned from my time in counseling with Tom is to be truthful. I found that if you are honest in the beginning, everything really will turn out okay. There is no reason to lie. Lies start a domino effect and people get hurt. Sometimes you cannot take back what was lied about. Saying “I am sorry” after a lie is owning up to the action, and it changes everything. I learned you only are as strong as your word.
There are many memoirs out there about people’s lives. What makes yours so special?
Like so many other memoirs, mine is about finding myself and finding a balance. I write about how I was trying to survive; I had darkness all around me. Counseling helped me shine the light on the darkness, and really helped me own up to my insecurities, anger, and hatred of myself. I realized I never was a victim of life. I just needed help; I denied myself for many years. My hope is my book will help others get help earlier and live their best life and not wait so long to get it like I did. I hope others learn that mistakes are not a life sentence, and you can get better. But first you must admit you need help. That is the first step. I hope I make it easier for people who are struggling to find their way and let them know it is okay. And, let them know their lives can be SO much better.
Tell us more about your rescue dog, Darby.
Pit bulls have such a bad rap. I have learned a lot about the breed from watching Pitbull’s and Paroles and reading up on them on my own. We wanted to help. We were on a web site, Pet Finder, and we saw her. She looked like she had road rash on her right shoulder, and scars all over her face, but she was still smiling. We made an appointment to go meet her, and she was lovely. She had healed stab wounds all over her body and her tongue needed to be surgically put back together. She was found when police did a raid on where she was living. Jimmy’s Angels rescue center took her in, cared for her, and brought her back to life. We fell in love with her. They came out and did a home check. She has been with us for a little over a year now. She is living proof what a little bit of love can do to change someone’s world. She goes everywhere with me. (And she snores louder then my husband.)
Tell us more about your favorite resident. What drew you to her or him?
I have so many favorite people I have taken care of over the years. But I guess the 2 that I truly bonded with were Betty Ann and Phyllis. I talk about them in my book. I guess because they were once broken also, and both shared it with me. They shared with me their stories and how they got through the tough times and struggled with addiction (alcohol) as well. I guess what drew me to them was the rawness of how they were. They too had one-night stands, got drunk at parties, lived by the seat of their pants, did what they needed to do to get by. They helped me realize mistakes are not life sentences. It is just life. They helped me stop taking things so seriously and being so hard on myself.