Monday, September 17, 2018

Nifty Love

I am revisiting the task of clearing more space now that Kris and Kali are back under the same roof.  6 years later.  And 17 years of a house filled with all the things a sentimental mom saved, it's starting to bust at the seams.  First off, Kris has a thing for shoes. You'd think it'd be me, but I am good with my basics.  And nothing more.  Both kids, including myself, have the natural tendency to keep hold of the little things we feel most attached to.  

As for me, I have saved ALL. THEIR. CHILDHOOD. THINGS. 

From bibs, to spoons, to rattles, to, you-name-it.  The one thing I've held close are their books.  From my journey through nursing, to the joy I felt while reading to Kris.  Those things made me proud to be a mama. Poor Kali missed out on the nightly, mid-day reading because I worked full-time, and that little girl was lucky if I remembered to lay out her clothes for the next day.  

Kris and Kali have so many children books.  Some I want to keep.  Others I feel should move on.

How cute is this book donation house....

From leaving one behind, or just the thoughtful kindness in giving to others of something that gave you much happiness. 

Books. 

Kris was always a big reader.  Still is.  Although now he's lucky enough to sit on his laptop. 

He's an intellectual listener and thinker.  He's deep in thoughts. 

He was the boy that would ask how deep the ocean is.  Or how cold the bottom of the lake may be. 

Kali, she's the compliant one.  The early bird.  The one on task. The one to do the right thing. For those around her, and for herself. 
She's punctual to the core.  


Wish me luck in building, or finding a way to donate "some" of our old books. 

We've got plenty!



I hope you all had a peaceful weekend.  I cooked (Eggplant Parmesan).  I visited a little birthday party for "Brody" whom turned 2.  He was a happy little clam just steering the wheels of Renee's boat. 

The simple things in this life. 

Books.

Anchor dropped, sitting behind the wheel with his little chubby toddler hands.

Naples Bay- September 15, 2018- Happy Birthday Brody!

(Kris always attracts little kids.  Maybe he gets it from his mama- This little boy "James" was filled with questions for Kris.  From sharks, to fish, to boats. Kris filled his ears with stories.  Making sure to polish him of love for the of ocean life.  Sharks are okay, just respect them- Showing him videos and recounting a couple neat experiences of his own- Those two little guys were surely in good hands on this beautiful Saturday afternoon)

Life.

Sunsets.

Salt water.

And friends. 


May you all have a healthy, love filled week.  

Be kind.  

Peace be with you....

This Mama Lisa

Friday, September 14, 2018

I Know.


"I know this world can be a little much at times, and it wears you down as it clouds your mind, but even here you are free to let go of those things, and merely be. You do not have to sort through everything. You are free to let go and trust in this space. You are free to believe: Even after a thousand nights that all felt the same, mercy is still on the horizon. And it WILL bring a new day". 


Faith
Love
Patience
Prayer
Truth.

Will always prevail.



Healing.

Heart.

Body.

Soul.




Lisa 




I wish you all a good weekend.  Reflect on your purpose.

Just be nice.



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

One Of My Bookends.

Shelley celebrated her 25th birthday last Saturday.  Not twenty five, but ya know, close enough. This girl has taught me a thing or two about life.  She was one that grabbed me by the neck one day after weeping and made me promise to put my mask on for oxygen before others.  Some days, I forget this tactic, and then a light goes off, and I think..."Lisa, you first".  And it's because of Shelley.
She's the one in the group that will waltz into Mothers Tavern with me and stand in a corner just to listen to live good ol' rock and roll.  Sometimes we can just catch eyes and laugh at our surroundings.

She's the one that will text me the morning of labs with prayers just before.  She is the positive reinforcement when I fall to the negative side.  

She's the one that showed up at the hospital during those first weeks when I pushed EVERY one back because I just couldn't deal. She made me step outside and sit next to roses in the rose garden.  The very roses I am in love with to this day. 

She accepted so many no's when I wanted to say yes but was just overwhelmed.  And then later as the days turned into weeks and months and healing became more of our subject versus the other side.  She was there.

Our daughters are best friends, and the rhythm of our friendship falls into place more times than not because of them.  #laborday #notourparty 

I think wholeheartedly that friendship and sisterhood in friendship is what keeps us going.  More times than not I catch myself leaning on them for support.  Whether it was about raising teen girls, to a young adults finding their way after college, or lab results that seem wonky. 
Sometimes its the lifestyle of working women who get to exhale when the time is right midweek for dinner.  

She brings life to this world.  She's a midwife. 
Stories of bringing life into the world always captivate me.
Most especially on a full moon night. 

She arrived at 7am in Tahoe to stand at the first finish line for Kali at her first Triathlon with flowers and champagne.  Just hearing Shelley's voice will resonate with Kali for the rest of her days.
She's always there.




Sandy, Donna, Jane, Can't remember her name, Edie, Anna-Maria, Esther, Birthday girl, Susie, Roxanne, Maria and me!  Sunday September 9, 2018--


Shelley, I hope you celebrate many more years on this earth.  I hope you feel love from all those you gather around.  You've made every single lady standing here in this picture feel special.

I thank you for your friendship. Love. And most of all, laughter.

Love you Shell Bell....

I am so grateful you've initiated all this love from one to the other throughout these years..

Friendship.

Sisterhood.

Commonground.


click click woop woop..

Leese


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fighting For All.


September is Blood Cancer month.  It saddens me a bit to have to acknowledge such a thing.
Wishing so many weren't effected by cancer. Honoring this month is more than the hard memories.  It's the journey and people we've met along the way.  From Jonathon (Rest In Peace honey), to Alex (so proud of your strength Ally), to all the nurses (Sara Irons, kick ass nurse with THEE BIGGEST heart in all the nursing land), to Jenny (almost 2 months post transplant, and super exhausted and in the fight, but kicking butt, and I'm so proud of you girl!--She asked me if it's normal to be so sleepy and out of it, and I just have to keep reminding her she's a newborn with no immune system) 

Rest In Peace Jon...You were such a fighter

Kris is fighting the fight every day post transplant.  Something that looks better on the outside is a fight every day, and like last night, all night.  That guy does not sleep.  He's up all night with stomach issues.  

Watching some lose the fight, when I have the chance to talk to Kris every day.  

Some do not get the chance.  



 First week after diagnosis 2015- Super duper stoned on Rick Simpson oils (the one and only thing that allowed him peace and an appetite)



Weeks before we jumped into the battle. That cross around Maria's neck. 


 4 weeks in at Kaiser.  Sweetest nurse.... 2015-  First time he felt sunshine in 4 weeks.  


Walking into City Of Hope with my warrior bag for the fight!  And FIGHT we did!


Piranha, here's your marrow! YOU LIFE SAVER!!!  #GERMANROOTS 



A week before coming home! 


First weeks home after transplant February 2016-  Hannah on his lap - Swoon....




I hope you all remember to count your blessings.  This life is fast.  It's hard. So so hard.  So when you're feeling sorry for yourself, remember the ones in this fight.  The ones that get up every single day and go to work even when they don't feel good.  Remember the mom that doesn't get to say hello or goodnight to her son because of this horrible disease.  
Let the petty stuff go....(hard for me, trust me....)


And just keep on swimming.  


Today is my 23rd  Anniversary at Gaylord's

Here I am 2 years in.  

You go girl. 





 All my love,


This Lisa Lynn

Mama Warrior For Life!

 Happy Birthday Rachel!  Can't wait to celebrate you.  Twenty Five is a beautiful number....It certainly looks good on you...xo




Friday, August 31, 2018

And On The Fifth Day

What a week kids. 

Lots and lots of driving. 

Lots of working.

Lots of thinking.

Lots of red lights.

Lots of buying different medicines.

Lots of long receipts from CVS. All the lolz

Lots of tossin' and turnin.

Lots of big long hugs with Bill. 

Lots of cuss words under my breath.

Lots of holding my breath. 

Lots of long stares up to the ceiling.

Lots of losing my cool to knuckleheads.

Lots of Advil.

Lots of jugs of cold water. 

And then you have one night split in the week with the girls in your life that make life sweeter. 
Meaningful. 
They are my community that forces me to join.  Even when I want to head home, take a shower and crawl into bed before dark. It's them. 

Lisa, Jane, Shelley, Susie, Maria, Roxanne-- August 2018--

Woke this morning with gratitude for an able body.  Although I feel like I'm losing my mind at times, I must show gratefulness for a body that can move.  A body that can stand up every day. We made it through yet another week.  More deep breaths.  More achievements.  More failures. More answers.  More questions.  Smiling really hard on the outside.  Especially after talking with my dad last night.  The man that affirms me of my strength.  To keep strong and keep pushing through. 

 “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors the same.” — Kipling 


And on the 5th day, it became Friday.  And on Friday we sit back and exhale.  

Happy Labor Day Weekends You Worker Bee's! 





This Mama Lisa

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pulling Up Together.

I can remember back to the elementary school days where I'd get Kali ready to drive off to the "first day" of school.  Always the mystery of what the scoop was on the teacher. (Kali's biggest concern) Was she nice? Strict?  Mostly rumors from the year before.  The jitters in full swing. I can only remember one teacher she was not too stoked about.  It was the gritty look she'd give to those that misbehaved (Kali's words).  That look surely made Kali fretful.  As a matter of fact, when I come across that school year picture (3rd Grade) I remember her name, and most of all, just how scared Kali was of her. She looks nice to me, but in Kali's 3rd grade opinion....just not so. 
I'll spare the name for any that may know her.  lol


We'd go from AYSO teams, Spring Select, Club, and high school teams, to various events (Camp Fire Girls-BMX racing), and she'd go through the car ride jitters on the very first day of them all.  I'd assure her as we pulled up that "Every little thing is gonna be alright"-  That the first moment of meeting teachers, coaches, colleagues, and other new humans in general is just awkward.


But ---  "It's gonna be alright"......



Camp Fire Girls-  Caroling at Christmas Time -  Cuties!


She'd step out of the car each and every time with an empty tummy- Because who eats on the first day.  lol
And who eats before a new practice with a new team. 


The car rides there were always a tad bit quiet.  Sometimes we'd have to stop for a potty break. 

The first weeks away in college.  Texting or calling me with every ounce wanting to come back home.




Until she joined her sorority, made new friends and moved on in this life. 

#thewayitgoes  #nomoremama

Today she's at a new job.  In a new city.  In a new environment.  

  

I tossed and turned last night like a burrito getting rolled up.  The same ol' bullshit.  Mind racing from all the things a woman worries about.  Some probably relentless and useless.  While, the others quirk my soul from years of wisdom and hard work.  Mostly, the genuine form of just being that..A woman.  A mother.  Most importantly a mother.  


Toothless = Priceless = LOVE

Silly me, texted her to make sure she made it.  Second, reminding her to take notes.  Hoping she remembered the snacks she made.

Motherhood. 


You've worked hard for where you will go.  Don't look back.  And if this isn't fit for you, well, keep searching. And, DO. NOT. STOP.
#studentloans  


Kris and I made it through the concrete jungle of Hollywood yesterday afternoon.  A sick dude, albeit always a bit anxious, we made it to and from.  Not sure how any of the people that commute (Hey Rox) do it each and every day. Guilty of making a couple crazy u-turns, we were outta there by 5:45.  He guided me with Wayz (saying that right?) it's some app that gets you home the quickest way.  He's got a queasy stomach, I had to pee, was starving and just over all exhausted from working early and putting on my momcologist-ask-all-the-questions-hat/parking structures/traffic/labs/nerves.

Labs look good, he's lost more weight.  Knee shows bone spurs.  We opened a new can finding he's got something goin' on in the downtown-julie-brown-butty-area.  Inside, not the outside as we thought.  And for the record, don't google the words the doctor gives you when you get home because you will fall down a slippery slope real quick and the good ol' soul just don't need that right now.

Scheduled with surgery consult this afternoon.  Tumor(s) growing on the inside, so a scope and biopsy will rule out the deal. 

At one point on the way home last night he said I was "acting a little spicy and angry"-  
Really, I was driving like an asshole.  And I don't drive like an asshole.  
But just the same ol' same ol'. I'm tired.

I'm tired of seeing him sick. I'm tired of fighting for answers. I fucking hate cancer.  I wish he wasn't dealt this fucked up card.  I wish he could just go live and go on planes, and cruises, and get back to fishing and diving.  
I wish I didn't lose my cool on him when he hocked a big ol loogey out the window or in the bag in my car.  I wish I didn't have to carry a tray full of alllll the meds. I wish we didn't have a puke bag. 
I wish I wasn't on fever watch. I wish I could just watch him live happy. 
Grateful for transplant, ungrateful for my attitude as we continue to navigate through.


Wow. Vent over.


We'll wait for more answers.  Just another quest to help him feel better. 


I'll keep praying hard.  Asking for forgiveness because I cuss under my breath way too much.

I'll keep asking God to show me signs, because that's what I really thrive on.

I want to know it really is the TRUTH and the way. Instead of always second questioning it all.

I will pray for Bill.

I will pray for me.


Today, I'll gather with the girls that always tilt me back up.  Sometimes staring at me laughing across the table as I sip wine. Sometimes they watch me vent with sadness.
Sometimes their advice is what helps me believe.

It's already midweek....

To all of you out there pushing through.  Don't stop.


And never EVER stop looking for the answers you are in search of. 

They matter. 

None of us asked to be placed on this Earth.  And if you're handed the role of Motherhood, I guess you better buck up and be ready. 


#shesgonnakillme


Yours forever,

Even when we're not pulling up together anymore.

Be strong.

Get it done. 

Love hard.  Because sometimes, that's all we have.

LOVE.

This Mama Lisa 



Tuesday, August 28, 2018

There's Always Next Year

We planned a trip to Tahoe to watch Kali compete in her first Triathlon.  We had to cancel. 
I kept telling myself, it's okay Lisa, there's next year.  God willing, I will be there.
Her dad will be there.  
Was a heartbreaker to have her that close to my parents. And to miss it all. 


Thanking all my sweet stars that my best friend Shelley went in lieu of her mama.  
This isn't her first time. (She chaperoned 5 girls when Kris landed in the hospital for a week)
On Saturday morning I woke early to try to catch Kali before she jumped into the brisk waters of Tahoe for her 500mtr swim.  I missed her.

Soon I received a picture from Shelley.  Kali taking off her wetsuit, to jump on the bike.



Guess what?

I cried.   #shocker

More pity party on my side than anything-
The wonder of should I have went, or is my heart decision to stick with Bill my soul mate a better choice.  He's stood by me in the hardest time of my life.

There's always next year. 


Grant did the Triathlon last year.  This year their family would compete as a team. Craig (Grant's dad) had colon cancer removed a few months ago. A diagnosis that took place weeks before the kids graduated.  A nightmare, if you will.  And so in true Rapoza style...the one and only way to get-back-up in the game of life, is to move on. And move on they did!  All 5 of them.  Competing up high in the hills of Lake Tahoe.  We had to cancel our trip last minute per Bill's request.  Those words were harder to roll from his mouth, than for me to digest.   This is life.  

Again, we've been to hell and back and most likely in my wicked negative mind, probably back through hell again.  

The beauty of this life is -- Good Friends.

It's having a daughter that is strong enough to compete.  It's having a daughters boyfriends' family that love Kali as one of their own. 

It's the love from my best friend and my MOM, whom never showed interest in things we'd desire as young girls.  She thrives on watching Kali compete in anything--now.... 




It's this life that shifts.  It hurts.  It shocks.  And is beautiful, and then awful. 

It's moving through what you know is good and right.



Shelley, thank you.  Mom, thank you for your banners!

Rapoza's....you are one heck of a family to Kali.  The bond of strength, and community.  You prove that hard work pays off.  I lived through your pictures all weekend.  Thank you both.


Kali....Grant.....



You make me so proud.  You are starting your new job this week.  Fretful you'll be.  
Don't forget how strong you are.  It's built into your roots.  It's your core. 
Keep your head up when things get wonky, you'll get through I promise.
Put your ethics to work, and your strong communication skills out there.  Go chase what you deserve. 
And yes, traffic will suck.  But that's life in Southern Cali.  

If you pray, please pray for Kris.  We're headed back to Sunset Oncology today at 4:00pm (don't be jealous you Hollywood 101 fwy lovers).  He's down with yet another gnarly virus.  No vaccinations will be given that he needs so bad. Per moms discretion. 
But at least we'll talk the talk with the docs. Discussing the unexplained continued severe knee pain.
  His new girlfriend surprised him with a cruise for his birthday (sadly the minute I saw the card, my tummy dropped -hey there germvillecruiseship-his-mom-is-a-freak-party-pooper)
This afternoon hopefully we'll discuss ongoing issues.  He can't do labs because he's sick, so he'll do them at the end of the week. Per his moms request.  
Med plans, (I want to so badly wean him from some of his immune suppressant meds)-  Is there options to come off chemo- (he's nauseated all day every day).
Such a double edged sword.  One makes his scleraderma feel better, but takes all his immunity away.
Twenty nine year old man, doesn't deserve this.
None of us do. 


Corey, if you're reading this- DON'T you worry honey, he's gonna be in your wedding this weekend even if I have to put on those wrangler jeans, cowboy hat and do it for him! HA!



This life. 

Hope you're all pushing through.  

Pray that you stay healthy and able. 

To see things next year.

That's always the grandest hope.








This Mama Lisa

Kali, I will watch you next year.






Monday, August 20, 2018

Truth



For the last few months Bill and I have worked every ounce of our souls at work.  Switching hats, juggling through all we need to for survival.  It really seems it's been that way for years.  But for me, these last 6 months have been extra brutal.  Mix in my case of frantic worry about everything-under-the-sun, and you had a girl that needed a breather last week. I took Friday off. 

My sons birthday. 


My grand plans were to sleep in (sleeping in for me is 7am)- Get up at my leisure, in jammies, maybe read a little, clean and organize, and have lunch with my girl and Shelley. I was woken by our asshole neighbors dog whom cried for 2 hours straight after she left (why do people get dogs if they work full time #selfish).  I've tossed treats to her before, simply because my belief in being angry at the dog is useless.  Just another notch on my list of humans I can't stand.  #selfish. #jerks

I received news that Jonathan (whom we were in transplant together, I felt extra close to him) had passed the day before.   You guys.  
I went from tilting the pinball in my soul, to pure sulking, laid back down in my bed and just bawled my eyes out. 

The morning went on like this. 

All. Day. Long. 

I could not stop crying. 

I wore no makeup. 

I always ask God to show me signs that he's out there watching over me.  That he knows my fears.
That he gets my sadness.  That whatever is to be, is just gonna be. 

And yet.

I could not stop.

The weekend is over.  My Sunday was filled with cooking.  A dinner shared with Kali and Grant.

Lunches stacked for Bill and I all week. 

The love in my heart still full. 

And a reminder of this quote I actually have hanging in my home. 




Because really, we have no control.

The only control we have, is how we deal with what's dealt.

And so, one minute I am in hysteria.  Broken for Jon's mama. 
Broken because I hate cancer.
Broken because Jon was SO optimistic to live. 
He truly believed he was going to be healed.  He just knew it. 


And then hours later you have dinner sitting across from your 29 year old son. 

Blowing out candles and preparing to embark on a quick weekend trip with his girlfriend.




And then life looks breathtakingly beautiful.....again.

Even when you still can't shake the sadness that crawls up your back.

Pictured here is your friend Lisa sandwiched between the love of her life, and her best friend on the way back from a show Bill worked-

One word. #Beerfest
Two words #laugh hard 


Zacky, if and when you read this:  I am proud of you.  I am proud that you are taking the leap of change.  To move to a new state.  To try NEW things, even though I am quite sure you're scared.
Go smile at the stranger there and make new friends.  If you're nervous, remember you can get through it.  If you're angry, sleep on it. If you're lost...keep asking.  And don't stop until it's clear.
Take care of you.  You matter.
We love you.

I hope you all have a good week.  

This Mama Lisa- aka CRYBABYYYY


Friday, August 17, 2018

Twenty Nine





Kris is Twenty Nine today.  A day I feel honored to type. 
29.

I was listening to my Pandora station this morning and a song came on by John Denver that made me cry.  I know, laugh with me.  CRYBABY.

The words rang true about this life.

Cherish every minute.

I am so so grateful to be able to say "Happy 29th" to Kris. 



TWENTY NINE.

A few years ago we celebrated a birthday dinner he could hardly get through.
Little did we know what was taking over his body. 

I am also honored to see pictures of him now with friends.







With his dogs.  Especially Skipper who is madly in love with Kris.
The bond of finding eachother at the perfect time.

Twenty nine.

He twisted most over moving back home. Because of pride.


He works every day even though some days he just wants to sit on the couch and be still.

His body is feeling the wrath of radiation.


Of the massive amounts of chemo and chemicals it absorbs daily.

Twenty nine.

Getting discouraged some days when he knows his forgetfulness is a real deal.

Never tossin in the towel, just making check lists, and pulls back in the driveway more times than not.  

Pills. 
Doors locked?
Water off?
Lights?

Chemo.


Twenty nine.

Given a new chance. 

A delicate one that holds no boundaries or proof.

No guarantees for any of us, and so we love hard on the days we feel the weakest.

Twenty nine.

Listening to his mom rattle off labs, or advice of med changes.
Taking wipes from her hand to wipe a cell phone down one minute, but then picking his nose because his habit to clear his nostrils is just 100% a habit.


His strong Republican belief makes him save and 
live within his means. 
Working even on the days he doesn't feel like working.

He believes in love.





His closest of friends lingered in the distance as he fought for his life, and yet they pick right back up when together.  Like last weekend. 
Corey, thank you for hugging your brother tight with gratitude last weekend. 
When you can't drink at a bachelor party, and the gangs goin' gang-buster....you do it for love.
For best friends. 


He has a mom that has fought from the moment she heard his first breath, through all the days he continued to fight for breath.  She's been his rock, and she's been his biggest fan.  

She's a momcologist and she's a warrior. 

Twenty nine. 












Picture taken June 2015 (little did we know...)

 Never one to play sports.  Loves to talk. Loves friends. And loves life.  Always wakes with a smile. 

Needs food pretty quick after waking...or watch out.  LOL

Kris and Trevor 1994


His NEW 1st Birthday!  Surprise!  He was shocked!


He's twenty nine. With a new birthday of  January 13-

Born at 5:49 am on August 17, 1989-  To be reborn at 5:00pm 27 years later. 

Kris, I hope you feel protected and surrounded by love for the rest of your days.  I hope you fulfill the dreams that fill your heart.  

Twenty nine. 

Pretty amazing if you ask me. 




I hope the next 29 are filled with love. Happiness. HEALTH...and most of all, good kisses...and warm long hugs....


Kris and Rachel Summer 2018



Happy Birthday son.  You deserve so much.  

You really do. 

I will always wave the biggest flag for you-

I took a day off today. For me, for rest, for reflection, and to celebrate the birth of my favorite son.


Twenty nine years of loving you, 
Your Mama