Condition keeps April Doss from fulfilling her dream
by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star
Feb 10, 2014 | 2287 views |  0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend | print
April Doss wants to be a nurse in the worst way. There are only two things holding her back - chiari and syringomyelia - both neurological diseases.

April worked all of her life until fairly recently. She started out before she was in her teens by helping brush hair, shampoo and clean her mother’s beauty salon.

Now though, she can only do a few things, and she’s limited to what she can do.

“My heart has always been in nursing and helping take care of people,” said April. “A lot of people wondered why I didn’t follow my mom and go into cosmetology like she did. But I just love caring for people too much, especially the elderly.”

April worked at Piedmont Healthcare Center in Piedmont for five years, and then transferred to Doctors Med Care in Jacksonville for a year and a half.

Her illness causes many discomforts, two of which are severe headaches and shaking of the hands. In fact, for a while doctors thought she had migraines and treated her for them.

She had gotten to the point that she had to stop giving shots because her hands shook so much. That, fatigue and a few other things made her realize she could no longer work.

She had brain surgery five years and needs another brain surgery, but is afraid to have it.

“The doctor wanted to go in and drain a cyst on my spine, but then he said he was 99.9 percent sure I’d come out of it without the use of something,” said April.

That something might be paralysis or loss of vision and/or speech.

“When he said that, that made my decision for me,” she said. “I just have to watch I do. I can still cook for my family, and I can still drive, but I have my limits. If I’m cooking or cleaning, I have to take breaks. I just have to sit down and rest. And sometimes I just have to go to bed.”

April said her faith is getting her through.

“I don’t know what everybody else believes or how anyone believes, but I know my God is the reason I’m still walking and seeing,” she said.

“When you have two doctors telling you that you should be in a wheelchair or blind, it’s nothing but God keeping that from happening.”

April was born and grew up in Jacksonville. She married at 19 and moved to Stephenson in Jackson County. She moved to Piedmont seven years ago.

Her parents are the late Carter and Sarah Ann (Ingram) Doss of Jacksonville. She has two sisters. Myra Williams lives in Jacksonville and Hilda Parris lives in Coldwater. Her brothers John David Doss and Kenneth Doss live in Piedmont.

Both of April’s children attend Gadsden State Community College on basketball scholarships. Sloan Garner is 20, and Sarah Garner is 18.

Both are Piedmont High graduates.

“They’re both very good kids,” said April. “I’m very proud of them.

They help me out a lot. If it wasn’t for them Tommy, my family and friends, I don’t know what I’d do.”

Tommy Roberts is April’s fiancé.

April graduated from Jacksonville High in 1990. She attended Jacksonville State University for a year. She studied nursing at Gadsden State.

She is a member of Extended Hand Church in Piedmont.

April said before her illness, she enjoyed doing a lot of things. Now, her favorite thing is spending time with her children and Tommy.

“I used to go to all of my children’s ballgames,” she said. “Now I can’t go to the games that are played away from home.”

Before her illness progressed, she enjoyed traveling. She’s been to Cancun twice and always made regular trips to Florida.

She still enjoys relaxing on the lake.

Four women had a role in helping April learn to cook. Her mother, her sister Myra, her sister-in-law, Denise Doss and best friend, Tammy Noah Williams.

“My mother worked a lot of hours at her beauty shop,” said April. “So, when she got home, a lot of times I had her supper on the table. I paid attention when she cooked, and that helped me learn.”

Dorito Pie is a favorite with her children. April dedicates one of the recipes she is submitting, Strawberry Pizza, to the memory of her mother.

“I watch a lot of cooking shows,” said April. “I’ve tried to start cooking healthier meals for my family.”

Contact Margaret at


Doritos Pie

1/2 bag of Doritos
1 pk. taco seasoning mix
1 lb. hamburger meat
1 can of 16 oz. refried beans
2 c. shredded Mexican four cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare meat by instructions on taco seasoning pack. Mix in can of refried beans. Set aside. In a 9x12 dish, arrange Doritos. Pour meat and refried bean mixture over the Doritos. Top with shredded Mexican cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Can serve with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and taco sauce.

Mayo Biscuits

2 c. self-rising flour
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Mix ingredients well. Spoon out on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake until biscuits are lightly browned.

Chicken and Dumplings

4 chicken breasts
4 cans biscuits
2 chicken flavored bouillon cubes
1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
Salt and pepper

In big boiler, boil chicken until tender. Remove chicken from chicken broth. Add bouillon cubes to boiling broth. Shred chicken breast and add back to broth.

Roll biscuits out and cut into quarters. Roll in self-rising flour and drop in boiling broth. Cook until dumplings are no longer doughy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry Pizza

1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
1 c. melted butter
1 c. chopped pecans

Sift flour. Combine with melted butter and pecans. Press into 12x9 inch pan or dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.


2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (softened)
1 lg. container Cool Whip (thawed)

Cream confectioner’s sugar and cream cheese. Fold in Cool Whip and spread over cooled crust.


1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. water
2 T. cornstarch
1 small pkg. strawberry jello
1 pt. fresh strawberries (sliced)

Combine sugar, water and cornstarch in saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.

Remove from heat and whisk in jello and strawberries. Pour over filling. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
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Condition keeps April Doss from fulfilling her dream by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star

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