Episode 63: A Traumatic Brain Injury + the 1% Medical Marvel

Guest: Dr. Wanda J Burger

Dr. Burger shares her story based on true determination as her driving force to recover from a car accident which resulted in sustaining numerous physical injuries, some of which required surgeries, in addition to a traumatic brain injury. She lived by a mantra that she told herself repeatedly, “I will work, and I will get better”, which is exactly what transpired. She indeed worked extremely hard and battled many rough patches, even on some of the toughest days she kept going, and she did get better and found a way to build a life that she thrives in, in the present day. She recalled the turn of events at the time of impact dating back to 1991, as a single mother, getting picked up by a companion after a long shift as a charge nurse, picking up her son along the way, and this is when the accident took place. The vehicle flipped over more than two times, and she woke up in the emergency room, learning she had to keep still and she was trying to understand what had happened to her. Initially when she first gained consciousness, she was told by doctors treating her that they didn’t think she would be able to move and feared she would be paralyzed. Later, while being treated by multiple other specialists, they advised Dr. Burger that she was a medical marvel, the accident she was in, only 1% of people who undergo an accident like this survive. She was also advised that she likely would not be able to work a day in her life again, this was untrue in her case. In addition to the physical battle, there was a simultaneous mental battle where loved ones around her couldn’t understand what she was going through, as symptoms were internal and not visible to others. She was feeling misunderstood by so many loved ones, the pain, memory issues, and internal struggle were intense for her. Her key message to the listeners is that: it doesn’t matter what happens to you, it matters what you do with it; find your supports; healing from trauma is when you take control back, and it doesn’t have to impact your whole life; you are not letting the bad thing that happened to you control you or govern where you go with it.


Guest Bio: Dr. Burger began her career as a psychiatric nurse. After recovering from a serious accident, she returned to college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish and a Master of Science in Community Counseling. Followed by a PhD in Philosophy of Faith Based Counseling. In 2004 she and her family relocated to her birthplace, North Carolina, where she began working as a dually licensed clinician. Since then, she has worked as a dually licensed supervisor and Clinical Director for major companies in North Carolina along with her own practice. In 2014, after leading trainings for various programs, she became an Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) for the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), along with North Carolina Addictions Specialist Professional Practice Board (NCSAPPB) approved Trainings. 

Currently Katie and Calvin, registered therapy animals, work with her in their Yadkinville office, offering trauma therapy to Civilians, First Responders and Military during the week. On weekends you will find them along with her husband traveling (or in the office) to conduct trainings and supervision.


Passionate about:  

Love In The Name of Christ –  https://loveincgc.org/