I've been called to transparency! My prayer is for you to find hope, humor, and help from the life of a woman who's a preacher, married to a pastor, caring for a mom with dementia, with a daughter with Type 1 Diabetes, raised in a family of much dysfunction, and now dealing with a brain tumor. Someone get Tyler Perry on the phone! LOL!

Also, we will keep you abreast of current and upcoming ministry happenings here. Sit back, and enjoy the ride with me! It's all for God's glory!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Father Can you Hear me?

Even though I monitor my dad’s affairs, take care of his wife (my mom), and make sure his needs are taken care of, and even moved him into my home (he went back to his home), we have a strained relationship. It’s his choice, not mine. He's a stubborn and proud man. If you don't go along with him a or confront his erred ways, he will shut you out. Narcissism is prevalent in his life. 

Since my diagnosis back in December, my dad has yet to call just to see how I’m doing. Surprisingly he agrees that he does not call me. He only calls when he needs something.

Today when I spoke with my dad, I got really upset. He had the audacity to tell me that I wasn’t emotionally feeling what I had said I was feeling--USED. Funny, he DID NOT say he wasn’t using me. SMH! Anyhoo, during the conversation he stated I was filled with the devil. In my ShaNaeNae voice, “NO HE DIDN’T!” That’s when my head began to turn 360 degrees like Reagan’s in the movie “The Exorcist.” Ut-Oh, did I just prove my dad right? LOL! In my Florida Evans voice, “DANG, DANG, DANG!”! I turned into a MAD BLACK WOMAN, and got sucked into heated fellowship which is not good when you are recovering from brain surgery. Dad has said some harsh stuff to me, but "the devil?" SMH & Chuckling! I’ll laugh out loud about this later, but now I have a headache! Pain meds to the rescue! (NOTE: Please, don't y'all go to bashing my dad.)

Too much drama can lead to depression and sadness. I need to change my way of thinking. Time to write in my gratitude journal. Lord, help me to focus on you. Change my attitude!

Lesson: Satan can’t possess the saved, but he certainly can influence them (including your family) to get you off track. You choose how you respond to negativity. Bad choices can adversely affect your physical and spiritual health. Illness does not make people act right towards you. Can I blame my part on the tumor?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Just Say No to Drugs.....wish I could!

My daily cocktail
Most illnesses require medication. I’m taking quite a few pills a day. I know many other people take a whole lot more medication that me, but I’m not use to this amount and I am very uncomfortable with it.
To aggressively fight my condition, I take a high dosage of Prednisone, a steroid. It’s mindboggling how the medication that is to make you better will also make you sick. Prednisone has caused me to have insomnia. Because I don’t sleep much, my body sometimes crash from fatigue. That is what happened today during church. I left the service early because I felt overwhelmingly fatigued and drained. Once returning to my home, I slept for 5 hours. Currently, I’m feeling much better.  
Plus 14 lbs! Prednisone sucks!
Another side effect of taking high dosages of steroids is weight gain. In November I was showing off my slimmer body after losing 35 pounds. Sadly, I’m getting pumped up, literally! Since December, I have gained 14 lbs. In my Florida Evans voice, “DANG, DANG, DANG!” Roline drops salad bowl and starts crying. LOL! Oh, well! There is an alternative. Take the steroids and get better, or not take the steroids and allow my health to decline., I’m no brain surgeon, but I’ll pass on the latter. Saying no to the drugs, prescribed drugs that is, is not an option for me.
The extra weight brings about an extra title. I’m DIVALICIOUS and THICKALICIOUS! Yes, I love to make up words! I didn’t choose illness, but I did CHOOSE MY ATTITUDE! No worries, just trusting God because I know this is for His Glory!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Uncovering the truth......

Monday, I posted a picture of myself after having the remainder of my hair cut off. I appreciate all of the wonderful compliments by so many, however, I soon realized some did not know that I took the picture at an angle hiding the “real story.” In other words, the picture looked like I have a head of hair. Not so. I’m finally getting the nerve to post the real deal! After looking at the finished work of my haircut, I told the barber that he should carve my name or some designs into my hair. LOL! He said he wouldn’t do it. It already looks like it has “designs gone wrong!” LOL!

I’ve grown to like wearing scarves wrapped around my head in different styles. I would love to go without wrapping up my head but, 1) my incision area and balding can’t take the weather and 2) I don’t think I can handle the shocked faces, stares, and/or pointing (I’m just keeping it real).

Last December, I remember attending a funeral after being diagnosed. My face was very much twisted and shifted from the palsy which was caused by the tumor. A woman who usually converse with me approached me to say hello, but she quickly turned away and left me standing there alone. Since that time she has blessed me with calls and sent gifts to my home. I’ve seen her several times in church, but she noticeably avoids me. I believe she can’t handle the way I look and I understand, but it feels like rejection. Maybe I am sensitive, but in that moment I felt like I looked offensive. To protect my emotions, I choose to keep my head covered when in public, because although unintentional, the look I got from the lady at the funeral wounded me. I don’t want to get “the look” again, so I’ll just keep my jacked-up post-surgery hair covered. Thankfully, I do like the scarves.

Here is the real me. Drum roll please:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More Miles for Your Marriage

A friend is excited about the idea of his Ford truck reaching 400,000 miles. He is happy with and proudly brags on his truck. Even though the Ford performs at its best, over the years regular maintenance, attention, and care has been administered to prevent the truck from failing. The same should be with a marriage. You will only achieve longevity through proper maintenance of your marriage. Too many marriages are breaking down because of a lack of attention. Marriage ministries, conferences, and workshops are good ways to tune-up your marriage. It will be an investment that will yield a great return and you’ll have a marriage you can proudly boast about.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Meltdown Monday

My doctor advised me that I would most likely lose more hair. I‘d already lost all of the hair on the top of my head and had a few bald spots hiding under the part of my hair with length. I was very excited about getting the remaining strands of my hair cut off today.

About 3 hours prior to the appointment with a barber, I became overwhelmed and began melting down with sadness and other distressing feelings. My mood had nothing to do with getting a haircut. Although I wish my hair was just as it was pre-surgery, I AM NOT MY HAIR. Getting the hair cut represents change. For me, this change is in my lifestyle because of an illness. Today I was confronted with the reality of illness in my life. That is what overwhelmed me. I’m a pretty strong woman, but some days I have those “I can’t believe this is happening” moments of reflection.

I am happy with my hair cut, even with the obvious bald spots.. I no longer look like Krusty the Clown. I could shout right here! LOL! Never say never. I said I would NEVER go natural. Creamy crack would always be a part of my hair. Oh, well. Let’s see what this natural hair is going to do. In a few months, when I am able to choose between being natural or returning to the hair crack, who knows what I will do. For now, my right to choose has been taken away from me. I shall overcome! LOL! Tumors suck!! LOL!

When I first looked in the mirror after getting my haircut, I said “I really look like my sister! What do you think?

The oldest of the Acox siblings on the left. I am 18 months younger.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bad Day, Good Day....I'm Good!

Yesterday was not the best of days. At 5:00 pm, I finally acquired the energy to get out of bed. I felt exhausted. I spent maybe a total of three hours out of bed. It really was an “I’m not feeling it” kind of day. The only good thing about sick days is the fact that my husband really lays the catering on me thick! He spoils me and I love it! I don’t sleep much at night. This fact is contributed greatly to my fatigue. I suspect, as doctors warned, the many different medications I am consuming coupled with my sleeping scheduled being thrown off post-operative is affecting by ability to sleep. A friend gave me a few helpful suggestions for sleeping to try last night. I will utilize those methods again tonight.

Today was much better. I was able to attend my church’s worship service and Sunday School which I did not teach. Notice in my picture, I'm rockin' a scraf wrapped in a way I am not accustomed to. Since I got to wear these things I figured I'd best learn some cute ways to wrap it up. I didn't do a bad job. LOL! Not being able to drive really sucks. Sunday is a working day for my husband, therefore, he is at the church for all three services. My children were all out of service today. Thank God for a good friend who agreed to drive me home after Sunday School.

It was so good to see so many people. Gosh, I really felt the love of my church family today and I am so glad I had the strength to greet so many. On the flipside, it was a little scary to be in church today because it was my first time going into a very large crowd without a walker or cane. I am very happy and celebrate how I have progressed to this stage in my recovery, but I was nervous in the large group.

Tomorrow, the rest of my hair comes off and I am looking forward to it. I'm grown tired of this Krusty the Clown look. I literally have a huge bald spot on top of my head, a little hair on the sides, and it's unevenly tapered in the back. LOL! Every time I look at my hair, I have to really Laugh Out Loud!

Allow me to leave you with this: All brain tumors are not the same. There are different types, such as glioblastoma, meningioma, adenoma, and so on. They can be located on different areas of the brain and affect different areas of the body.  All brain surgery is not the same. One can have a relatively small incision or a very large incision located atop the cranium, side, or even back of the head.

Each individual with a tumor can be affected in DIFFERENT ways. I have had numerous caring and well meaning people to lovingly say to me that their loved one “had the same thing,” therefore my recovery will be just as theirs, even without the benefit of knowing the details of my condition. Having a tumor, as with any illness, is not a one size fits all journey.  I too use to believe a tumor was a tumor until I was diagnosed and educated.  

Love you all dearly and thankful for your prayers!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Doctor's Visit........I've exhaled!

Yesterday, I had an appointment with a rheumatologist to see if my illness/tumor has affected other vital areas of my body. I was very nervous because of the idea of facing chemotherapy and/or radiation.  Yes, I trust God, but the idea of needing aggressive treatment was unsettling. 
Rejoicing BEFORE my doctor's visit.

I got good news! This lifelong disease (neurosarcoidosis) I have is treatable with medication and is only on my brain.  Most of the tumor was removed, but a sheet of it remains resting over the right and left frontal lobe atop a vital vein. There is no need for chemotherapy or radiation. Thank you Lord! I will have to remain on steroids for the rest of my life. I do know God can work a miracle and heal me completely.

A weight has been lifted! I’ve been waiting to exhale. Finally, I have gotten a more definitive answer. Shucks, I think I got some of my strength back during that visit. When the doctor said “it’s treatable,” I wanted to jump out of my seat and shout, but then I remembered, I have that big gash on my head that still hurt like heck! A less animated praise had to do. LOL!

My facial muscles are getting stronger. I can smile, and even show a little teeth. And speaking of teeth, the tumor has greatly affected them. Just another doctor I must go and see in the near future. Oh, well, it could be worse. The journey isn’t over, but the road has gotten a little smoother. I’m grateful.

This is for God's Glory!