I’d always dreamed of being a teacher. I’d line up neighborhood kids and teach them whatever came to mind: how to do cartwheels, dance steps to Motown Hits, and of course, learning the 3 R’s. When handed the keys to my first classroom, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
My mom’s last 7 years were spent, every week, with 2 days on dialysis, and the other days recovering. She lived her retirement days within a 20-mile radius of home and once said, “I brought this on myself.” My mom passed away near the end of my teaching career. I left 30 years of teaching bent on taking better care of myself and encouraging others to do the same. I’d learned first-hand that chronic illnesses also affect those you love, and a disease that is preventable is like pouring salt in the wound.
My husband Oliver was diagnosed with diabetes a few years before he retired. Hearing that dialysis was a definite possibility “down the road” catapulted me into the world of wellness, searching for answers. I wound up attending the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), became a certified health coach, and began offering monthly wellness workshops at my church. Our eating habits and lifestyle kept evolving, Oliver ‘s diabetes de-escalated, and he was taken off his medication.
Sepsis was our next challenge. After a few days of seeing the effect an impacted brain has on both the victim and his spouse, I began shifting my focus to brain health. Since then, I’ve “sat at the feet” of renowned brain health experts. When I learned that 1) Alzheimer’s is a multifaceted disease, with no “magic pill”, 2) It’s commonly referred to as “Type 3 diabetes”, and 3) largely preventable through lifestyle, I knew God was ordering my steps. My first name (Berniece) means “bringer of victory” – and I was back to teaching!