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,
Roline

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,
Roline
 

Monday, September 7, 2015

I an not interested!

Today, was the day that after receiving several solicitations from people, I had had enough! I know people have to make money to live. The strategy used is somewhat offensive. Each person that has tried to sell me a "miracle product" starts out by sending a vague private message saying, "I may have something that can help you." It takes a few private messages and/or texts before the "it's going to cost you money" is admitted. I loathed this tactic. It comes across that the person who is trying to help me is really looking to help themselves at my expense. Unlike the woman with the issue of blood, I don't plan on wasting my money. I've already gone directly to the God, my healer.

This is a message from me posed on Facebook to anyone who think they have a "miracle product":



Please be in prayer for me. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a big day for me. I have "THE" appointment; one at the hospital for tests, followed by one with my neurosurgeon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

In spite of the craziness, today was a good day

Ut-Oh! I'm in trouble
I went to the church with my husband so that he could later take me to have blood work done at my rheumatologist’s office.. I figured I could get some work done while I waited for my husband to complete a few tasks. The blood work up should have been done by the second week of July. I had forgotten about it. Blame it on the tumor! LOL!

I was in my office working when my pain management doctor’s office called to see if I was okay. Why? I missed my appointment. Thankfully I was only a few blocks away. The catch: I had to drive myself because my husband was teaching the morning 9 am Bible Study. He was not happy because I will not be cleared to drive until January 2016. I usually do a good job writing down my appointments. This shows I see way too many doctors. I was in trouble.

When I made it back to the office, the thought of facing Earnest forced me to cope with my drug of choice. I needed a drink. A CokeHead under pressure is not a good combination, therefore I hit the can. LOL!

I felt good driving. The joy ride was therapeutic, lol! I almost stopped at a few stores until my pain reminded me that wasn't doable. Oh well!

After Earnest preached at our noonday service, he  brought me to have my blood work done. I'm was whipped! After singing "nobody knows the trouble I feel," He gave me a get out of jail free card for driving. I was going to blame it on the tumor anyway. Lol!

Thankfully Camille helped out today by picking up my meds from Wal-Mart. After driving a car today, I don't want to go back to my 5 mph Wal-Mart scooter-hog.  I now have a need for speed!

By 2 p.m. all of my energy was depleted. I did a bit much today. Since I was exhausted and in bed, took my chemo pills. They make me sick, but I got to do what I got to do.

With all of the craziness, I must admit, TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY. I had a good laugh at myself.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Marriage Retreat

As Covenant partners, God has called my husband and I to serve, mentor, and empower other marriages. Satan thought illness would distract us----not so! It is easy to use sickness as an excuse to not serve. My assignment and calling has not been nullified by God, He gives me the grace to do what He has called me to do. Please pray for a transforming experience and for traveling grace.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Another procedure.......

3 out of 8 injection sites from today.

Today I had a second procedure in relation to my spine problems and back spasms. I’ve had great back pain for several months. Months ago it was discovered I have 2 bulging disc in my spine. Also, the neurosarcoidosis may be the culprit affecting my spine. The first series of injections, totaling 6, were done June 8th. The earlier injections failed to give me relief. I had another series done today—6 injections into my upper back and 2 into my lower back. I didn't take pictures of the injections on my lower back because this lady is too classy for booty shots! 
 
The lower spine is not paining me, however my upper spine is very sore. By tomorrow I should feel relief. I pray this works, because I am hoping to avoid surgery.  Today, I’m taking it easy. Catherine cooked rice to go with gumbo from the freezer that Camille cooked last month.

Surprisingly my dad called today. He said he was calling just to see how I was doing. I must admit, I believe someone told him about my last blog. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and just receive the call for the intent he claims. I was very groggy from the meds, so I could not speak with him very long.
 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Headache, drama, and the world continues to turn

I am experiencing a major headache today. It is one of the side effects of the chemo pills I take on Wednesdays. I’m doing my best not to complain, however, you’d think these headaches would be gone by now. At least I have experienced a day headache free. That gives me hope.

Yesterday, Aug. 12th was my sister’s birthday. Yesterday also was National Middle Child Day. There’s a “national day” for just about everything. SMH. For the first 50 years of my life, although I
had my suspicions, I thought I was the youngest child. Last year it was confirmed that I am the “middle child.”  I guess I should have been celebrating with my sister. LOL!
 
I am trying my best to not stress out over this situation, however, it’s very difficult. Stress is not a good thing for me and my recovery. My new found brother is not the issue. We have bonded and are cultivating our relationship. I hear from him frequently. I’ve forgiven my dad for cheating on my mom for 40 plus years. It was no surprise considering my upbringing. I have difficulty resolving the idea that my father continues to be a dead beat dad. I am so very disappointed in my dad’s actions, particularly since he has spoken harshly against other deadbeat fathers. Although I can do nothing to change what has happened in the past, I presently must honor my dad who still refuses to be a father to his son and who shows my sister and I no love or concern. My mother, his wife who I am caregiver of, he never calls or ask about. My mom has built a wall to try to protect the pain of feeling abandoned by him. Dementia has left her with no filter; she says what’s on her mind. It hurts my heart to see and hear her pain.
 
During this course of illness a lot of lies and secrets has been exposed. Drama has no respect of illness. I’m at the place where I pray there isn’t additional drama because I don’t know how much more I can take emotionally and physically. I have said many times, “who counsels the counselor?”  In spite of it all, I still love the Lord, and I know He is the one that keeps me sane. He is my Counselor! I don’t know what I would do without Him. It is important for me to serve others in spite of my personal drama.  I can only imagine the headaches being worse if I would sit down and mull over my problems.
 
So it’s worship and serving as usual. I’m still teaching and preaching the Word of God. I’m currently preparing for several engagements, one out of state, between now and the end of the month.  I speak to God and He speaks to me.  I can do all things through Christ……..including celebrating Middle Child Day!  I just encouraged myself…..With Christ, I can handle this! I need Thee because the world continues to turn.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Transformation Tuesday!


Here is my truth-The pictures were taken 1) Dec. 26,  2014 2) July 17, 2015. Yep, that’s just 7 months. Thanks to a high dosage of daily steroids my face is swollen, I'm retaining water, and gained a whopping 40lbs. I'm ready to evict the fat chick! Neurosarcoidosis and brain tumors suck! My daughter said my picture looks like it has been altered and widened! That was a nice way of saying "Dang momma, you are big!" LOL! I'm just THICKALICIOUS!
 
Why am I smiling in the most recent picture? Although the weight gain is upsetting and unsettling, it could be worse. I still trust God. This is for His glory, therefore it is well with my soul.

I am grateful to know that I’m happy in the skin I am in. The fat girl has emerged and I still love me!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Newsflash!

I may have aches and pains in my body, but TODAY is the first day I've gone the entire day without a headache in almost TWO YEARS!!! ‪#‎GRATEFUL‬ Even the "little things" are great!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

So You Want To Shoot Me in My Pinky Toe?

I love the scene in the movie “Harlem Nights” when the characters of Eddie Murphy and Della Reese fight.  In desperation and because he was getting whipped harder than a runaway slave, with his gun Eddie shoots Della in the pinky toe. I also love the scene in the sitcom “Good Times” after Florida Evans husband’s funeral where she drops the punch bowl and screamed out in grief.

What do these scenes have to do with my life? Well, either I broke my pinky toe or I have a really
bad sprain! When it happened, I screamed in my Florida Evans Voice, “DANG, DANG, DANG.” I’m walking with a cane, my foot is in a boot, my toes splinted and my daughter Catherine says, “I don’t mean to laugh at you but you look like that lady who got her toe shot off in Harlem Knights.”  She was right! We both had a good laugh.

After all I’ve been through over the past 6 months, I had to ask God what’s up? Who do I need to rid from my life? Who is it that I haven’t forgiven? What changes must I make in my life? Guess what God said to me-----not a mumbling word! I have a hard time dealing with his silence. However, during the silence I managed to encourage myself and tell myself to STAY FOCUSED! Okay, now I see what God was doing.

How did I manage to injure myself? What had happened was------ I’m going to my grave with that information. When I hurt myself, I do it big and in an unusual manner. LOL!  Earnest said I just want every part of my body injured. LOL!

I was determined come hell or high water, I was going to visit my mom today. I managed to make it to the nursing home, but I was a little nervous. As slow as I am moving with the cane, I didn’t want them to mistaken me for one of the residents and lock me in. LOL! I cut out the other optional activities that I was going to participate in on this day. I’m icing my toe, keeping it elevated, and laughing at myself.

Friday, July 3, 2015

What’s next? ............. What else is going on?

The shots I had 3 weeks ago has not improved the pain or muscle spasms in my upper back. 2 weeks ago, I began having additional pain in my lower back. I had thoracic and lumbar x-rays done this week. They turned out okay. With all of the X-rays, MRIs, and Cat Scans I have had, I should be glowing in the dark real soon. I’m not jumping up and down cheering about the x-ray results because I’m still in a lot of pain and x-rays doesn’t always show a problem. Sometimes it takes a MRI. What’s next? Additional shots in my back!

My weekly dosage of methotrexate (MTX) pills has been increased. MTX is used to treat various illnesses including cancer. The pill is one bad boy.  MTX has me feeling nauseated with stomach pains since taking them on Wednesday evening. Funny, the medicine I need to make me better makes me sick! The Grill Master, Big Daddy grilled his award winning (he won the Thomas Grillology Award) chicken wings, Earl Campbell sausages, and spare ribs. Uuuggggghhhh!! I can’t partake the feast! Hmmmphf!

Ahoy Mate!
What else is going on? Yep, I have another issue. Nothing that will slow me down, however, it is serious enough to be addressed very soon. I can’t believe this is happening. I’m not quite ready to share with the world yet.

My left eye still does not close, so to prevent dryness and eye damage I must tape it shut at night. I look like a knock-off pirate! LOL! The tape aggravates me, but I do what I have to do.

Several people have asked about my parents. There’s not much talking going on between my dad and I. He is who he is. He doesn’t call to check on me or my mom and I don’t call to give him a report of her condition. I’m pretty ill yet I take care of mom’s needs, visit her as much as possible, buy her clothing, attend her care plan meetings, etc. To add the responsibility of calling family with a report of her status is unreasonable when the only thing her loved ones have to do is call me or the facility.

My mom is the same-----a feisty elderly lady who has dementia. She has recovered since her recent hospital stay. She looks so much better.

My 38 year old brother, who I met for the first time in December, is doing well. We talk regularly and we are not as guarded as we were originally. In May, Catherine spent time with her new uncle when she was in New Orleans.
 
Have a Happy Fourth of July!
Roline

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Look Where He Brought Me From!

It all started with a headache. I was having them daily for almost a year. It was determined that I 
Taken Dec. 12, 2014 while hospitalized
needed new glasses/contacts for my eyes and the headaches would go away. They didn’t! I shelved the idea of returning to the doctor because I had other health issues (that at the time I didn’t know was related to the headaches), my mother’s diagnosis of dementia, and her transition from my home to a nursing facility to deal with (which was not going well), so I suffered in silence for another year. Everything came to a head Dec. 10, 2014 when I was hospitalized after having I had a grand mal seizure. The next day I would be diagnosed with a Brain Tumor and then suffer from Facial Palsy, paralysis to the left side of my face. From this day forward, life for me has drastically changed.


Although I don’t have full function of my face, I have come a long way. It’s not as difficult to talk as it was at the onset of the palsy. My face is not as crooked anymore and I can once again smile. However, I still have to tape my eye shut at night to prevent dryness while I sleep. I continue to use a straw when drinking beverages. I still have difficulty chewing.

As I look at this picture of me from December, I thank God for bringing me thus far. I may not be where I want to be, but I’m grateful I’m not where I use to be --- with my face and with my life!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Not feeling good

This has been a pretty rough few weeks. Costochondritis is a beast. The pain is unbelievable. After
Last Sunday's Photo Shoot. I don't look like what I'm going through!
finally getting the treatment meds needed, my pain level has decreased from BEYOND MISERABLE to MISERABLE to currently REALLY BAD!  It may take a few weeks for the rib pain to stop, and then it may return. UGGGGHH!!! Neurosarcoidosis attacks the body, joints, and vital organs.

 
With all of the pain, I did muster up the strength to attend Sunday School and visit my mom last Sunday. Being able to minister is very important to me. It is helping to keep me sane! By the time I got to my mom I was so fatigued and in pain that I couldn’t stay long. I am, however, glad I pressed on to visit her. She was in a good mood.
 
The shots I had last week doesn’t seem to be working. Oh, boy! This is not what I had been praying for. I have a doctor’s appointment this coming Friday with my neurologist who hopefully can give some insight on what may be the next step.
 
I did manage to wash dishes today. It took two days (stacked them one day, washed the next), but I was determined to finish up the task myself.
 
I’ve pretty much been in bed the last few weeks. My addiction to Court television shows is getting really bad. I was  watching “The Hot Bench” and found myself so drawn in that I actually said out loud, “I’ve heard enough. I’m ready to rule.“  LOL!  I have got to get a life!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's me, it's me, it's me O Lord! I got something else for you to handle.

So much has happened since my last entry. This illness is trying to get the best of me!
Feeling Blah but still have something to smile about!

Monday I had injections to help with the pain from my bulging disc and muscle spasms. I haven’t had spasms since, however I am still sore and stiff from the injections. This pain should be leaving soon.
 
Last Thursday, I started having severe pains in my left ribs just below my breast. This is the fourth time I’ve experienced pain in this area, however never has it been this excruciating! The pain mimicked that of a heart attack. I didn’t panic, and pretty much took it like a big girl! By Saturday I was contemplating going to the hospital because it became too difficult and painful to get out of the bed. Sunday, I went to Sunday School but not worship services. That was about all I could do. I noticed Sunday afternoon that I had excessive swelling in the area of the pain.
 
A good friend who happens to be a physician told me what to do to help with the inflammation. Because she is a cardiologist and asked several rule out questions, I was relieved that she too didn’t believe my heart was the problem.  After some research, I pretty much knew what the problem was, but was going to wait until my Monday doctor’s visit. After an examination, the doctor diagnosed me with having Coostochondritis. A description from the Mayo Clinic:
  • Costochondritis (kos-toe-kon-DRY-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). Costochondritis is sometimes known as chest wall pain, costosternal syndrome or costosternal chondrodynia. Sometimes, swelling accompanies the pain (Tietze syndrome).
  • Costochondritis usually has no apparent cause. Treatment focuses on easing your pain while you wait for the condition to improve on its own, which can take several weeks or longer. Costochondritis usually goes away on its own, although it might last for several weeks or longer. Treatment focuses on pain relief.
Although there is no real cause for Costochondritis, it can be brought on by a tumor or sarcoidosis, both of which I have. Neurosarcoidosis is no joke! Just another thing to give to the Lord. I’ve pretty much have been in the bed since Thursday. Today I am attempting to cook my family a home cooked meal.

It is well with my soul! God be glorified!

Roline

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Something else to give over

Let me start by reminding you that my brain tumor was caused by the disease Neurosarcoidosis which is a rare disease found in only 10% of people with Sarcoidosis. There are very few doctors in the country that treat the disease. Even those doctors have very little information about the illness, therefore treatment is very difficult.

Yesterday’s doctor’s appointment was a bit frustrating. Although my appointment was at 11:30 p.m., I did not see the doctor until 1:45 p.m. Yes, that’s 2 hours and 15 minutes later! I understand that sometimes doctors can fall behind and have a bad day, but I would have loved to hear an apology! They would have cancelled my appointment if I was 15 minutes late, but I got nothing for my more than 2 hour wait.  I was getting ill waiting because I had not eaten since 7:30 a.m. I also was in a lot of pain waiting and took some meds on an empty stomach. Not good!

I also wasn’t happy with the visit. I’m glad my diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could have been, but, I did not get definitive answers for my symptoms that still raises concern. UUUGGGHHHH!!

The Brain MRI did not show brain damage. THANK YOU LORD! However, the spine MRI showed I have a bulging disc in the C5 Spine (neck area). It's just something else to give over to there Lord.  I was nervous when the doctor asked to send the results to a surgeon. I do not want to go under the knife again!  A less aggressive treatment will be administered; therefore, I will be having an injection into my spine as soon as I hear back from the doctor that will be performing that procedure. Prayerfully, this will relieve the pain and back spasm and surgery will not be necessary.  My doctor doesn’t believe the disease (neurosarcoidosis) has spread to my spine.

The headaches I’m experiencing can’t be explained. We are hoping they are caused by the disc and will leave after the injection. My facial swelling and pains can’t be explained, but I do have an appointment with my neurologist in two weeks. My eye issues---who knows! It’s frustrating when you have no answers, but that’s what happens when you have a rare disease.

I’m also am dealing with a flare up of bursitis in my hip. I have some PT exercises to do. This will be interesting with an excruciatingly painful back!

Additional rest is not the cure. It doesn’t help or harm. I get plenty rest! So, back to doing what I do. SERVING and doing what I can, when I can, while I can.

I thought I’d add a picture of me before and after steroids. The December 2014 picture was taken 2 weeks after I began taking steroids. The other picture was taken 3 weeks ago….so that means I have a few more pounds on me. The fat chick has emerged! LOL!  UGGGGHHHH! Good news! The doctor decreased my daily intake of steroids from 60 mg to 30 mg!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Almost Time to Face "One More Thing"

As I was getting ready this morning for THE doctor appointment.I noticed that I can't frown. As hard as I tried, my smile would not completely turn upside down. My palsy lips just won't allow it. LOL! You got to learn to take the good with the bad. I can't blame it on the tumor ! The joy of the Lord is my strength! 

I asked my husband how was he handling all of my issues. I had to put myself in his shoes-- it tore me up! I'm so glad to have this man in my life. Pray with me for him. Taking me to appointments, sitting in hospital waiting rooms, watching my health's decline & witnessing the bad days, getting food for us to eat, maintaining the home, working on his job, etc.
is draining. It's a huge task to be a caregiver. I love me some him. 

It's almost time for me to get the news. It's currently 10:35 am. My doctor's appointment is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. I am ready. God won't allow what I can't handle and He will never leave me nor forsake me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

One More Thing

One thing I’ve learned in all that I have been going through is “don’t ignore your body when it’s talking to you!” I’ve been experiencing additional challenges that has caused great concern for me, my family and the doctors. Funny, these challenges hasn’t stopped me from service. Thought I’d interject that for those who need to know God’s grace still works! Anyhoo, I had a brain and spine MRI done last Thursday.  I was to get the results of the test on tomorrow (Wednesday) during my visit with my doctor. Unfortunately the test showed another problem that need immediate attention and required my approval to be submitted to another specialist; therefore my doctor called first thing this morning and gave me a portion of the results. I had a shaking like a leaf moment and then I researched the internet to educate myself about this "one more thing."  WOW, this is really happening.
 
So, I am a little nervous about going to the doctor tomorrow, but I am glad to know the portion of the results that was shared. I already know to brace myself and I am ready to get to the appointment.  I’ll be getting full information tomorrow and then notifying my family before I share with all of you wonderful people that have helped to keep me going. Love you all dearly and please whisper a prayer for me.
 
A dear friend called and told me to keep calm and don’t stress. The only way I could achieve this was through the Word of God. I’ve been reading, meditating, and studying all day. I even started preparing a sermon. In spite of it all, it’s been a productive day!

In this raw picture of me some of my symptoms are prevalent. Here you see the darkness under the eyes and facial swelling (not as bad right now). It’s amazing what make-up can hide. At church, people are always encouraging and telling me how great I look. Inwardly, I’m thinking, “You just don’t know!” Make-up is a beast! It can hide a lot of pain. The good thing is, I can function without make-up and I can function in pain. GRACE is powerful!

Be blessed,
Roline

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The process of test continues

Today, at 3:30 p.m.,  I had an MRI of my brain and spine done. The MRI was moved up from July
Divalicous in a scrub! The left was my
MRI chamber for 45 minutes.
because of new concerns about my health. Getting an MRI is not for the claustrophobic! I spent 45 minutes in the less than ideal cramped quarters. I have been having really bad back muscles spasms, so I took a muscle relaxer and pain pill before the procedure. As soon as I got on the table, the spasms got worse. I had to take a second dosage. It was hard to keep still for 45 minutes while my back muscles were twisting out of control. I’m glad the current tests are over. Now I have to wait until next Wednesday, 6 days, for the report. I am looking forward to the GOOD report!

After all those meds, I'm higher than the Eifel Tower. Time to "sleep it off." Nap time.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Where do I begin?

This past 2 weeks probably has been the worst weeks of my life. Yes, I hit my head 2 weeks ago, but that incident played little into my woes. Before the hit, I had been having increased headaches, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, shortness of breath during sleep, facial swelling and a slew of
Red-eye at the top, Swollen face on the right,
Still Divalicious at the bottom.
other symptoms. Once again cooking and cleaning has become foreign to me, but at least my home is looking decent. My left eye is still not functioning properly. It’s beginning to burn and become red from irritation. If I was a drinking woman, you’d say I had one too many “spirits.” LOL! My steroid daily dosage has been increased. The fat chick won’t be dying anytime soon. SIGH! I’m up 28 lbs and counting, but I’m still divalicious!

 
I was scheduled to have my postoperative follow-up MRI in July, however, my doctor has moved it up to this coming Thursday. I’ve also had blood work done. This is all in an effort to find out what is going on and to discover if the disease has spread to my spine. Ut-Oh! Nevertheless, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!.....I still can’t believe all this is happening! Next week, I return to the doctor to get the results of my test.
 
So why was the past few weeks my worst? While dealing with my health challenges, I slipped into a deep depression. Yep, I can work depression--- you didn’t know it, but those living under my roof saw it clearly. I know what the Word says, but that doesn’t change the fact that I went there! It does explain why I haven’t blogged in a minute. I didn’t sleep much, wouldn’t eat, cried a lot, and was in a funk! I wasn’t depressed about my health. I allowed deep family hurt to overwhelm me so much so that I came face to face with having to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I’m trusting God to work it out. I’m learning to just stand when I’ve done all I can. During the two weeks, my husband and children showed me just how much they loved me through their support and care. Tears are welling up in the corner of my “good eye” (LOL!) just thinking about their gentleness.
 
I am getting a clearer picture of this particular verse:
Romans 8:17-18 - and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
 

As I suffer with Christ, he gives me grace to do what he assigns me to do. He gives me the strength to serve. Sorry folk, I refuse to use “I need to rest” as an excuse to not do ministry. I get plenty of rest. Also, I am only operating in ministry at a fraction of what I did pre-illness. Jesus served while hanging from a cross. He did what he could do while in a circumstance of suffering. I’m just trying to be an imitator of Christ. I’m doing only what I can when I can while I can.

Love  to you all! - Roline

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ouch! I hit my head

First, I allowed myself to be stressed about something that is out of my control. It was something hurtful but I can’t do a thing about it. Also, the day has been full of my receiving news of several family members being hospitalized and/or treated at the emergency room.
 
I was still feeling somewhat sluggish the entire day. I didn’t realize I was out of my very much needed eye drops. I had my daughter to bring me to the store to buy more. Upon leaving the store, as I was getting into my daughter’s car I hit my head. I call it the “demon car,” because when I attempted to get into it, in my mind the roof lowered itself and hit my head while I was getting in at full speed. OUCH!! I literally saw flashing stars on impact. That car was trying to take me out! When we got home, I started feeling a little light headed…just a little bit. Currently I have a headache that’s out of this world. I took a pain pill, however, I am trying to stay awake so that I can monitor my body.  To add, the back muscle spasms wants a piece of me today! They spasms are no joke and they don't play fair! Uuuuggghhhh!! I declare, TOMORROW WILL BE A BETTER DAY!
 
Yes, I took a pic of me in pain and Catherine's demon car. When you see it,
you better hide your momma
and hide your babes,
because the demon car
wants to hit your head!  LOL!
 
 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Oh, Dear!

You know that old guy in the church whose hair is barely holding on? Every church has him. He’s either an usher, deacon, or choir member. Although his eyebrows and mustache is heavily gray, he is a faithful supporter of Miss. Clairol # 1 (jet black), and has a huge receding hairline with little hair fuzzes here and there that he refuses to cut off. You know where I’m going! I’M THAT GUY! LOL! I use to make fun of that guy, and now it’s me! OH, DEAR!  My hair is somewhat growing. That is, as much as it is growing, it is falling out. But, I do need a haircut! LOL!  I’m loving wearing head wraps. If I had known I would be this much into them, I would have not spent money on two wigs.
 
This last month I have been silently suffering. I started having sporadic muscle spasms in my back which my doctor thought was not related to the tumor. About 2 weeks ago I returned to the doctor in severe pain from the now frequent spasms. One of my meds was increased to help settle the spasm. It’s better, but now I am concerned about the root cause. The increase of meds has caused me to sleep more during the daytime. I am also still dealing with the facial palsy that is affecting my left eye. Some days my left eye drips water like a dieting fat guy sweating at an all you can eat buffet.
 
I’m learning to live with my new normal. I’m back to speaking and preaching. The doctor has given me suggestions of what to do before I speak to minimize pain and discomfort. Thus far the methods has worked. Sickness is no excuse to not serve! After all, this is for God’s glory.
 
Let's get back to the hair. The sunroof is still on deck, and the Red Sea is still parted. The pics posted from top to bottom shows the progression, with the bottom pic being taken today. I am so grateful to have a husband that really doesn’t seem to be bothered by my appearance. Talk about through thick and thin----we didn’t think it would apply to a hairdo! I am grateful to have a man who has inward substance. He loves me the way Christ loves the church ---- UNCONDITIONALLY! I’m blessed!



Be blessed,
Roline

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Do you really want to help?

Written yesterday, 4/13/2015

Today was one of those days that I wasn't going to be afraid to ask for help. I was excited to get a
call from someone who asked, "do you need anything?" I replied I'm hungry, fatigued, home alone, and nothing is cooked! Just when I was about to ask her to bring me something to eat, she quickly cut me off and said, "go and get some rest" and then ended the conversation. Maybe I should have left the sob story out and spoken quicker. Lol!

I know most people are sincere, but stuff like this makes it hard for me to ask for help. This is not the first time this has happened during my illness. I've had people to say they were coming by, but were no shows nor called to alert me. SIGH!

So what's my current status: I'm hungry, fatigued, home alone with nothing cooked, therefore I'm plan to go to sleep, HOWEVER, my neighbor and church member Alindria Carroll responded to brought me dinner.

I am learning lessons on how to be a better servant. I have not been a good servant. The lesson for me today is to make sure when I offer service that I mean it. Sometimes it’s the spiritually correct thing to ask others if they need our assistance, but when we do not allow the ones we serve to respond with what their needs are, it is like extending a helping hand while keeping it in your pocket.