Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Say it aint so!

Once again, I’ve been experiencing severe headaches. Other symptoms caused my doctor to suspect
there might be a problem. Following a MRI on Friday, March 4th I received the news. Another brain tumor has been found. It’s 6mm in size, which is not good. I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t want it to be a tumor. I haven’t had a chance to blog about it because I have been busy with weekly speaking and teaching engagements. I also don’t think I have processed the idea of another tumor because my mom has been very sick. She has been on a hunger strike and is extremely depressed. Depression comes with dementia, however, this bout was caused by a family member giving her the false hope of a lie. She believed it, and now me, my husband and kids has to suffer through with her. UUgggghhhh!  

Today I received a call from the neurosurgeon’s office. I was in the office working on a project. After taking the call, I was immobilized. The idea of needing to see my brain surgeon is unsettling. I lost all concentration, so I packed up and went home-----that is, not before stopping at Micheal’s to get some scrapbooking materials. LOL!

I have another tumor. The tumor does not have me! Tomorrow I have the first of a series of upcoming multiple appointments. In other words, here we go again! SIGH! There is a bright side. I get to drive myself to the appointment, and God is still good!

It is well with my soul!

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Year in Review – Part 1

 So, last year on this date I had a 7 hour brain surgery. My family (Big Daddy Earnest, Catherine, and
Camille) and a few friends {Allison and Annette) were there with me prior to being rolled into the operating room. Including the doctors, we all were clueless about what the outcome would be. We didn’t know 1) if I would survive, 2) if the tumor was cancer, 3) if the entire tumor would be removed, 4) what else would be discovered.

Over the year I discovered that I am loved by so many people across this country and abroad. THANK YOU ALL for your support, encouragement, gifts, visits, and prayers. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. I didn’t realize that “God was going to make an example out of me.” I trust Him. I really do. So much so that I have accepted what He has allowed.

The tumor was caused by sarcoidosis. Bernie Mac died of this illness. Close to home, our church’s outreach pastor’s wife died from the same illness during the same time I first fell ill! She was hospitalized on the second day of my hospital stay back in December. I attended her funeral. Oh, dear! The thoughts that were running through my mind while at her funeral--- oh, boy!

The doctor told us that after surgery, I would be moved to the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit. I would be in a comatose state with a breathing tube in my mouth for 3 – 4 days. I went into surgery at 7:00 a.m. I was brought to ICU around 8:00 p.m. The tube was removed and oxygen was given through my nose. About an hour later I was talking to my family and friends, telling them to go home and get rest. The next day, my Pastor and Chief Elder visited, and to their surprise I was sitting in a chair aside my bed in ICU. I still had the oxygen going through my nose but I was about to eat my first meal. LOOK AT GOD!

January 15, 2015, I was put to sleep so that what was threatening my life could be removed. 8 hours later I woke up to, what I didn’t know at the time, a new way of living. That new way will be posted tomorrow.

Last evening, I was driving to a church where I was scheduled to minister. I began to think about this time last year-I couldn’t drive and was home making preparations to enter the hospital in the morning. I was crying so many tears of joy because I had looked back and saw where the Lord had brought me from.  I had to pull on side of the road for a praise break!

I trust God and know He is working this out for my good. He is my Healer. I have submitted to His plan for my life. One day, I will live pain-free. One day I will no longer take medication. To get to that day, I am obeying God and submitting to the process of treatment that He has prescribed. It is The Great Physician that is working through my doctors. Surely goodness and mercy is following me!  As I have said all year, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL! I’m going THROUGH to get TO my due season! God IS getting glory out of my life!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Oh, Brother! The Secret is Out!

I have to applaud my mom’s dementia for giving her the inability to keep things she remembers
The Acox siblings; Roline, Ryan, & Rhonda
Nephew Thai
from the past to herself. The fact that my dad has a son who had been kept secret for 37 years was told to me during a visit with mom. I remember laughing and telling mom, "so you wait until I'm 50 something to scar me!" LOL! Actually, I wasn't surprised.

My dad was uncooperative and refused to give information regarding his son, BUT, God has a way of bringing things to the light.  Last June, through a series of divinely orchestrated events comparable to a Tyler Perry Madea play, I was given the name and cell phone number of my brother. I did not look for my brother. His information found me. Just when a date was set for us to meet, I ended up in the hospital with a brain tumor needing immediate attention. For real God! Now? I asked my doctor if the surgery could be put off until after Christmas. I wanted to meet my brother before I went under the knife.

It’s been a year of learning about this blood relative, my brother, my children’s uncle, my husband’s brother-in-law, who also has a son, Thai, who too wanted to know more about us. A year ago during the Christmas holidays I thanked God for allowing me to see my brother and nephew face to face. It was an instant bond. We don’t need Maury Povich. My dad’s DNA is all over Ryan’s face. When it comes to 37 year old Ryan Rose, Roland Acox, YOU ARE the father! (This is the part where Roland runs back stage not wanting to confront what he has done). To add, Ryan has what we call “The Acox lip!” We've been blessed with big lips and the lower one likes to "hang out." LOL! Acox men are tall. Ryan is 6’ 5”! There’s no denying Ryan---he’s an Acox! Look at the picture below. What do you think?

Over the year, we have talked several times, and text much. His name was on the list of immediate family members that I would receive calls from after my surgery. He has spent time with Catherine in March, and spent Thanksgiving with us at my niece’s home. 

It has been hinted to me by Christians that I should keep silent about Ryan nor should I post pictures of him on social media. I am not ashamed of my brother and I refuse to keep him a secret.  To do this would be to deny my brother. I am in no way perfect. However, I don’t apologize for loving the Lord, my brother, and myself way too much to willingly be ungodly. Now, run and tell that! LOL!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Once again, I almost let go....and then I came to myself!

Dec. 23rd I began having excruciating pain on the entire right side of my body. Most of the pain was in my hip and joints. The left leg and foot was hurting as well. Walking was almost impossible. The next day, Christmas Eve, I was running on adrenaline. I was excited about my mom coming to my home for her birthday which is Christmas. While cooking the gumbo the pain got worse. I could not complete the meal I had planned. Thank you Lord for sending an angel who provided my family with an entire Christmas meal.

Christmas day through Sunday, things got worse, so much so that I was contemplating going to the emergency room. I was in so much pain that I told my husband I was ready to leave this earth. Umm, no, I was not suicidal nor was I giving up. It’s hard to explain, but I was tired and hurting-physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Sarcoidosis is just that---- really bad, unimaginable daily pain. Most days I can handle the pain. Sunday evening I thought about what may be causing this episode because it was really different. I had an AHA moment....I came to myself.

A few months ago, my doctor began the process of tapering me off my steroids. This would determine if the sarcoidosis was in remission. Staying positive, I made up my mind that everything was going to be okay that I NEVER considered I would need the steroids again. A week and a half ago, I was completely off the steroids. Long story short, I’m back on the steroids. During this time my short term memory got really bad.  It’s going to take a few days for my body to readjust to the meds, however, I am feeling some relief. 

The sad conclusion for me is the fact that I am not in remission. And so the saga continues……however, It is well with my soul.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

I year Anniversay of Seizure

As I reflect over the last 365, I can’t help but say thank you Lord. I had been having severe
Last pic of me before onset of illness, 12/7/2014
headaches and severe pain in my hip for over a year. Only my household was aware of this. Doctors found nothing but “minor” issues. I KNEW SOMETHING WASN’T RIGHT.

My left leg started twitching last Thanksgiving. The earliest a neurologist could see me was February. A good friend, who is a doctor, made unsuccessful attempts to find a neurologist that could help me. Her words to me were—“If the twitching get worse you’ll have to go to the emergency room. This will force a doctor to see you.” That’s exactly what happened. It got worse, resulting in a Grand Mal seizure which landed me in the ER, followed by a hospital stay and diagnosis of a brain tumor on the right and left frontal lobe. Left side facial paralysis set in while I was in the hospital. Surgery to remove the tumor was projected. I believed everything would be okay.

I really must have looked horrible back then, because I get tickled when folks say to me, “You look better.” Unfortunately as of today, so many people assume because I look better, I am feeling better. The real truth of the matter is, I am feeling worse than I did before having the surgery. The tumor was the catalyst for the manifestation of other things happening in my body. I trust God for my healing because He is bigger than:

·         The daily headaches.
·         The excruciating pain of the incision site. I literally have a hole in my head. (My skull is still healing. It hurts to wash my hair.)
·         The painful disease Sarcoidosis – my brain, joints, hip, and spine has been affected.
·         Chemo Pills – I dread taking them.
·         Back pain – Surgery on my spine has been suggested.
·         The right side of my body (hand, legs, arms) – It’s still weak, making it difficult to do daily household chores. I still can’t cook often.
·         Steroids – what’s necessary to treat the disease causes side affects. I’m dealing with those affects.
·         Eye pain – the paralysis in my face is taking a toll on my left eye.
·         Short Term Memory loss

The biggest challenge for my family is getting me from place to place. By law in Arkansas, a person who has had a seizure can’t drive for a year. Even my surgeon said that is too long and would impose a hardship on me. Even though I am blessed with so many that assisted me and offered help to me in this area, it is still a hardship. My family, friends, and church family are the best and have done a great job caring for me, but always having someone with me at times feels suffocating.
My weight has been a challenge too. I have a high dose of steroids to thank. This extra 50 lbs I’m carrying is horrible. It’s very uncomfortable, and I don’t like how it looks on me.
In spite of it all, God’s grace is sufficient for me. His grace empowers me to continue serving in ministry. I have returned to preaching, teaching, and traveling across the USA for ministry purpose. I am also back to counseling---I can’t believe I took the whole year off.
I stopped blogging because I went through a period season of discouragement and depression.  Family drama, caring for mom, significant emotional hurt, unrealistic expectation, and so much more had me feeling overwhelmed. I had to remind myself that God called me to this assignment.
Also, I ONCE AGAIN CAN DRIVE!!!! Too bad I no longer own a vehicle.
Thank you for praying for me, encouraging me, and laughing with me. You have blessed me greatly and played an intricate role in my healing process. I love you all!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

But wait, there's more!

Skin Sarcoidodis
It’s been over a month since my last blog. During that time, my world has been busy. I thought I would be back at 100% by now. It’s been one diagnosis after another. I let Jesus take the wheel a long time ago. I know the destination, but getting there on these bumpy roads is really making the ride rough. If it ain’t one thing it’s another!

My back continues to pain me. New meds have given me some relief, however, because my prescription was not in stock, it took a while for me to physically get the meds. But wait, there’s more! About a week ago, I noticed what looked like a rash on my knee. The rash is isolated in that one area, however, it continued to get worse. The area felt warm and continuously itched. Yesterday, I went to the doctor.  It appears that the disease has spread to my skin. He can’t officially diagnosis me with skin sarcoidosis until I have a biopsy done. In the mean time he is treating the “rash” as skin sarcoidosis and prescribed a topical steroid to put on it.

But wait, there’s more! The doctor and I began to address the issue with my eye that doesn’t completely close. I’m starting to feel painful pressure on it and my eyelid swells up often. I’ve been officially diagnosed with Ocular Sarcoidosis.  

But wait, there’s more! I’ve been having issues with coughing. Pulmonary Sarcoidosis was suspected. I had X-rays of my lungs yesterday. All is clear! YAY!

Recapping, the sarcoidosis is now on my brain, spine, skin, and eye. Can I have an uncensored Florida Evans moment? No, I rather keep it clean, “DANG, DANG, DANG!”  Instead of a punch bowl, Roline drops her goblet. She has dropped enough bowls on this journey. LOL!

I gave the news to Cat & Camille last night, and the conversation goes like this:

Me: Girls, the doctor said the sarcoidosis is now on my skin and in my eye.

Girls: How are you feeling about this news?

Me: I’m going to be a little depressed for the rest of the night until in the morning. Tomorrow, I must study to teach the Sex Abuse group session. I don’t have time to be depressed too long. I have to serve.

Suddenly, we all laughed. After the laugh the girls talked about how we don’t have the time to waste by being depressed. There’s too much work to be done. (There is a sermon in that)

 I’m not down or depressed. I am however feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Be blessed,

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ummmmm Doc, them fighten’ words!

I had a MRI of my brain today and then a visit with my neurosurgeon. I appreciate this particular
doctor because he doesn't sugar coat your diagnosis and yet he really cares for his patients. I was so hoping today would be my last visit with the surgeon. Not so.

After looking at my Brain MRI and a previous Spinal MRI, the doctor said my brain looks good. However, I still have quite a way to go ---- dang on neurosarcoidosis is not taking its eviction notice. He then gave me the not so good news. In his words, he told me. “Your spine is losing its curve and cannot handle the weight of your head.”  At that moment I thought to myself, “What the what? Did this man just call me big head in a nice way? And why isn’t my husband fighting for my honor? Them fightin’ words. I guess I’m going to have to beat Doc down myself.”  LOL!  Then reality hit me (POW) after the doctor gave me several non-surgical options ending with, “I’m just trying to buy to you time. We are going to have to fix your spine.”  He was talking about surgery.
Today, I had on my big girl panties. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I wanted to be afraid, but I laughed.  I wanted to ask God why, but I thought about His faithfulness. I wanted to tell Doc, don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge, but I forget the rest of the song. I did tell my neurosurgeon that I don’t want to have another surgery, so let’s do whatever  the insurance pays for-----I haven’t loss my senses, I know all of the options will cost money that I don’t have so don’t hate on me for counting the cost. LOL!
Guess what I did after getting that news. I came home, ate, rested for a few hours and went to the church and conducted a 2-hour counselors training for my church’s upcoming Sex Abuse Support Group. And the devil thought the news concerning my health would distract me. HA!
This is for God’s glory, therefore it is well with my soul. HA!
Be A Blessing,