Anchors: Ms. Amanda Bernauer

Today, Anchor 6, Inc. is featuring Ms. Amanda Bernauer. Today’s Anchor is more personal, because Amanda and I were childhood friends.  I remember when Amanda became ill in high school, it was a shock to all of us. When you’re a teenager, being faced with an illness is the furthest thing from your mind. Amanda was faced with shocking news that completely changed her life. Although Amanda’s story is still being written, as she is living and coping with multiple chronic illnesses. However, what she has already persevered through is incredible. Amanda’s strength and determination to go on, against all odds, is amazing! I know her story is going to encourage so many others. Thank you Amanda for sharing your story with us.

Keep up with Amanda on:

Instagram: abernauer85

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.bernauer85

I will never forget the neurologist whipping around in her chair and exclaiming the seriousness of my M.R.I results. I will never forget the look on her face or the fear in her eyes. I can, to this day, feel the terror in my mother’s embrace as she wraps her arms around me. I can still remember the expression on my father’s face, portraying emotions that I had never witnessed before. I don’t think that I’ve ever been so terrified in my life. I was only fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, and this wasn’t part of the plan. The diagnosis? Well, the doctor called it an “astrocytoma” and it was about to change my life forever. I had been having severe headaches for weeks prior to the devastating diagnosis, even to the point that the left side of my body had gone totally numb. My primary care physician initially diagnosed me with shingles, while something more serious hadn’t even crossed our minds. My doctor made me an appointment with a well-renowned neurosurgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, whom my family has since nicknamed my “saving grace.”

My parents and I met with Dr. Wilson the following day and he was surprisingly optimistic as to my prognosis, while having great confidence that he could successfully remove the baseball-sized tumor from my brain stem without many lasting effects. The future immediately started looking brighter. I remember my pastor visiting me in pre-op and, trying to find the right words, simply told me to face the “eye of the tiger” and the Lord will bring you through it. I wasn’t totally sure what that meant yet, but I nodded and was whisked away. The ten-hour surgery was tedious and I spent a couple days in the ICU, but the first thing I saw upon entering my hospital room in the pediatric wing was a poster of a tiger. It was no coincidence and I believe that was God’s way of telling me, “YOU WON!”

Amanda Teen

I turned sixteen years old a mere three weeks after brain surgery and I remember celebrating my “Sweet Sixteen” by simply thanking God that I was alive. I wear a scar nicknamed my “c for courage” as a constant reminder that pain is real, but so is hope. I’d love to tell you that was my happy ending, but it was only the beginning. I needed to have repeat M.R.I. scans on an annual basis to check for re-growth and my five year scan in 2006 brought a new issue into focus… a pituitary adenoma. Wait… another tumor? I was happy to learn that lots of people have small adenomas that are never detected because they don’t grow large enough or secrete enough hormones to cause a problem, but what damage, if any, was this tumor doing to my body? It was determined that a “wait and see” approach was the way to go, wait and see what symptoms arise and treat them as we go. Gee, thanks.

I was diagnosed with type II diabetes in 2009, then hashimoto’s thyroiditis and fibromyalgia in 2012, and against all odds, pregnant in early 2013, but I was told by my OB-GYN at 6 weeks to anticipate a miscarriage. Say what? It was predestined that I was incapable of growing a healthy baby inside of my “broken” body, but I was unwilling to accept that as reality. I don’t think I’ve worked harder for anything in my life than I did for my unborn baby. I found an OB-GYN who believed in me and I followed her instructions explicitly. I pricked my finger 3-5 times a day, ate a property balanced diet, and administered my own insulin injections to maintain proper blood sugar levels. I passed every test with flying colors and only gained 13 lbs during pregnancy. My water broke in the wee hours of the morning on November 16, 2013; I labored for nearly 12 hours, pushed for 61 minutes, and gave birth to a healthy little boy. It was a dream come true and I knew what I was supposed to be feeling, rather what I wanted to be feeling, but something was missing. I was a good mother, but I wasn’t happy. I smiled, but I cried all the time. I didn’t want to be alone. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep. I was simply going through the motions and doing what needed to be done. It took nearly three months of this misery for me to realize that merely surviving is NOT thriving. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and prescribed medication to help with the ups and downs. Whew… it is over yet?

It’s been an incredible couple of years watching our baby grow into a happy, healthy toddler, but it was becoming harder and harder to keep up with him. I felt like a 30 year old trapped in a body decades older and the pain was quickly consuming my life. I was finally able to see a rheumatologist after waiting months for an appointment and tests confirmed a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects our body by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. Ugh… really? I’m in constant pain, my joints pop like Rice Krispies, and every day brings different challenges. I never know whether it’s going to be a good day or a bad day. I’ve had to learn to smile through the pain because life won’t wait for me to catch up. On the flip side, I’ve learned to stop and smell the roses because my body needs the break. I’ve had to learn that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness and to seek help when the pain is simply too much to bear. I’ve had to learn how to push myself without pushing myself over the edge because giving up is NOT an option. I am a warrior with an invisible battle to be fought every single day, but I am a SURVIVOR.

Amanda and Baby

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share my story. I have known Kermilya since 5th grade and I’ve always been inspired by her genuine desire to help others, so it’s no surprise that she co-founded an organization to aid in providing comfort to those coping with a chronic illness. I pray that sharing the intimate details of my own personal experiences might shine a light on someone else’s darkness.

Amanda Bernauer

 

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Anchors: LaTanya Bonds

Today’s featured Anchor of Anchor 6, Incorporated is Ms. LaTanya Bonds.  LaTanya has an incredible and powerful story about her Chronic Illness and the journey she is on.  I met Ms. LaTanya through a mutual friend and I am very blessed to have her in my life and be a Health Advocate for her.  LaTanya’s story exemplifies strength, determination, and authenticity.  Reading her story was a message from God because LaTanya touches on how much her health care cost which is important to insure that you have a healthy prosperous life.  Having financial protection is so imperative to have because we do not know when “LIFE” will come knocking at your door.  Thank you LaTanya for your beautiful testimony!

Anchor LaTanya

Social Media Outlets:

FB:  LaTanya Bonds

Twitter: @latanya_marie

IG: latanya_marie

Periscope: latanya_marie

Here is Ms. LaTanya Bonds’ story:

“Life happens, but the greatest testament to your faith is how you respond. Just a simple adjustment in your attitude can change your entire outlook! Thanks Maya!!! That has been my Testament since I found out April 8th, 2016 that I had Hodgkin’s Pre Nodular Lymphoma.. Suffering almost in SILENCE the last few years, I guess cancer has been forming for so long. My OB/GYN had been performing ultrasounds, then CT scans, and finally a biopsy. All we knew was that something was wrong, and we had to find it!! I remember sitting at my desk working and I get a call from my doctor, and she says “LaTanya are you sitting down” I’m like yes she was like I want to talk about your biopsy results from that statement alone my heart dropped. All I heard was cancer. Immediately I just knew that I was going to die I was not going to be around for my son and I heard nothing else that she was saying. All I could think of was Lord why me I’m only 35 and I’ve already been through so much!! Well the next day I met with an oncologist who went over my results with me and told me that I had stage 3 the Hodgkin’s as well as I had similarities of Non Hodgkin’s disease. And again all I could think of was Lord please don’t let me die. I was told that I would need to have a full pet scan so that following Monday my life changed like never before. Between racking up about $30,000 worth of doctors bills and going to the doctors and having Labs at least 20 times in a four-week period I was beyond exhausted. But during that that whole time one thing changed my attitude and my Outlook. Each day my steps begin to get easier!!! My fight began to get stronger!! My Hope and my faith begin to get louder!! I knew that this was just another stepping stone in life and another Testament of how strong of a person I was and how strong I was faith!! I’ve been through so many hard things in my life but by this far is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through!!! Chemotherapy can physically wiped you out where you don’t know if you’re coming or going.. Even though I have cancer, cancer doesn’t have me!! I still work my businesses I am a freelance makeup artist I have my own Jewelry Company call Moxie designs I make bridal veils I make headbands I make a plethora of crafts! I have a handsome 8 year old son who I love so much who has been such an amazing little person during this season!! My smile continues to carry me through I literally have the joy of the Lord. I won’t be sad I won’t be defeated because there is hope and there is light at the end of the tunnel so I have to do is just continue to walk through this journey! Never give up never lose hope!! Continue to be a warrior!! I still have 5 more months of chemo to go and possibly radiation but hey I’ll just keep on smiling!”