Confirmed—Defying Death and Rocking Out for Christ
Written by Tammy Leigh Maxey
They’d lived hard and played harder. Music was in their blood, their souls, for them it was as natural as breathing. Yet, now as she waited in the cold hospital waiting lounge, Donna Anast was praying that they had not yet played their last tune, had not yet taken their last breath. As she prayed, her husband Michael flirted with death on the operating table just down the hall...
They were living the American rock star dream, Michael and Donna Anast. They performed opening acts for heavy metal musical icons such as Rob Zombie, Godsmack, Powerman 5000, and Shinedown. Donna was making 6 figures working as the VP for Regional Yacht Sales, and their spacious home was worthy for show on MTV Cribs. It was a rush. They were on their way in the rock star world, sharing the spotlight and entertainment circle of heavy metal household names. Yet, like a high, it all came crashing down hard and fast, with devastating effects.
In 2009, Donna was diagnosed with a terminal illness, Cryptogenic Cirrhosis of the liver, and was given a small window of 2-6 months to live. The job, the money, the music, the lifestyle, it all came to a screeching halt. Forced to give up their home, the Anast’s moved in with Donna’s mother in Michigan. Amazingly, Donna defied the diagnosis and fought to live. She has one functioning lobe out of the four in her liver; the other three are scarred and dead.
Still reeling from Donna’s devastating health issues, the Anast’s were soon dealt another shocking blow; In 2010 Michael became terribly ill and was hospitalized. The medical staff performed multiple tests, with empty results; it was quickly becoming frustrating and frightening. Finally, a blood marrow test revealed the cruel diagnosis of Hepatitis C. Michael had contracted the disease from a tattoo he had gotten back in the 80’s. The result of the virus caused cirrhosis of the liver, and ultimately cancer. He would need a liver transplant. In March of 2011, Michael underwent surgery for the transplant. Seven hours into the surgery, Donna was told that they couldn’t close Michael and he was in critical condition because they had hit a major artery, causing an 80% loss of blood. Michael had died on the table. Physicians resuscitated him and took him to SICU critical care unit still open.
The next day, after thirteen blood transfusions, he was taken back to surgery to close the incision, but his lungs failed and he died again. Doctors scrambled to revive him, and then they placed him in a medical induced coma, paralyzed him and placed him on life support for six days. On March 30, 2011 Michael came out of his coma. It was the Anast’s 20th wedding anniversary. He had to learn to swallow, talk, stand and walk all over again. He was released early April. It was just his second day home, and he was wheelchair bound, but he insisted on climbing the stairs to get to his guitars and recording equipment. It took twenty agonizing minutes to climb just 15 steps, but with the help of his son, he made it to his makeshift studio where he sat and penned new music praising God.
Donna and Michael both had been brought up in church. They knew God, loved His Son, but were in and out of church for years; lured into the rocker lifestyle with the luxuries and excitements that world has to offer. However, in 2009 Donna’s crippling health crisis brought them to their knees and returned them to God. With Michael’s following devastating diagnosis, they found themselves at the proverbial rock bottom. In the swallows of that cold, crushing darkness, they sought light, they sought God.
Oh, how the light poured through, penetrating their spirits, bathing them in the healing warmth of grace, forgiveness, peace and love. The hot lights of the stage could not compare, the money, the fame, the rush of flirting with danger, they were living “the dream,” they thought, until they lost it all and gained their very souls.
Yet, the passion for music still burned within them. They were gifted, and boy did they have a testimony! In 2011, they auditioned for the praise team at their church, Southpoint Community Church in Trenton, MI. Michael, who had been playing professionally onstage since the age of 15 found himself quite nervous to be trying out for his church praise team! They made the cut, of course, and welcome every opportunity to worship God through music as a true privilege.
Still, wanting to do more, to reach more for Christ, they formed a Christian Rock band, and called it ‘Confirmed.’ Now they perform with their God-given talent their metal style music in praise and worship of their King. Donna is on lead vocals, Michael on guitar-along with fellow band members, and awe inspiring musicians-Joel Lesner on bass, and Jonathan Blosser on drums. All three guys sing backup on the vocals.
The battles still rage, they continue to suffer loss, but they do not waver in their faith. Donna lost both of her parents in less than a year of one another, and Michael lost his dad just a few months later. Michael goes in for surgery every four weeks at the University of Michigan, and is currently waiting for approval for another liver transplant. In October of 2011, Michael suffered from a bile duct obstruction which damaged his new liver. Donna, having defied death, also lives in constant pain.
However, their faith is unshakable. They do not blame God; they love Him, and seek to share that same love with others. They are the epitomes of two souls who were lost, hurt and broken. They are on a soul search for others who are hurting and in need of God’s grace. They share their music, their stories, and their hearts. They may not be conservative by any loose definition, but they are blood sought, bought and CONFIRMED! SF
*Watch for the episode coming on State of Faith News Presents TV show with Donna and Michael Anast as our featured guests sharing their story right here at the TV link.
**Like the band on Facebook: facebook.com/ConfirmedMusic