There is so much more to life than Bob!

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Karin, my kindred spirit and bosom buddy(think Anne Shirley and Diana Barry), was looking over the blog.The thought of making my life public made me a little nauseous, so I desperately needed her feedback. I might be loud and boisterous, but when it comes to my private life I am, well, private.

“What do you think,” I asked, scrutinizing what I had written.

“Well, do you want it to be all about Bob,” she asked, taking off her glasses in a way that always makes her look way more wise than I.

“Not really, but that is where I am right now.”

“Agreed, but Alisa, you are so much more than this,” she encouraged… and ya know what, she is right.

Bob might be what is growing and stretching me, but if I were to neglect to share all of the joys I have in the midst of tragedy this would be just another sad story about a miracle waiting to happen. I read them all the time. It seems there is a new Facebook page everyday, “Praying for this person or that person.” They update the world on their latest treatments or news. My heart breaks for them, their loss, their pain. It does, but this is not all there is to me. The kids and I are silly- down right goofy- and we laugh well together. If I were only to share with you the sorrows, you would only be getting part of the story. Yes, I’m wrestling with hard issues and trying to understand how God is good in all of this. I cry. I cry quite a bit.  But, I also love well and laugh beautifully. I adore my children, my family, my friends and most of all my Lord.

This space is to share it all; how my 13-year-old son was mistaken as my boyfriend because he is 6 feet tall (that was just plain weird); how I sat in my car and cried because I was scared; how the last date I went on was so disastrous that I had to switch into ‘counselor’ mode just to help him make it through the evening; how I ran through the sprinklers of a stranger’s yard just to make my kids laugh. Only to return to the car to have them lock me out!! These are the memories that I have when I close my eyes and I see my life.

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Follow up appointments are on the calendar

I scheduled my MRI and follow up appointment with my neurologist yesterday. We are set for October 13 and 15, respectively. Yes, it made me afraid. Even when I hung up the phone, I just wanted to crawl into someone’s arms and close my eyes. Funny, how we have these moments in life where we feel like a child again.

I’m scared, pop.

Arms would feel so safe right about now.

I tried to prepare my kids that I might be more emotional as I approach these appointments. We were driving home after  school (three different schools to be exact)“Guys, I just want to give you a heads up. I might be a little more weepy-emotional- than I usually am.” It was quiet for a second, then my middle one jumped in. “Mom, I just don’t see how that is possible. I mean really, last night you cried while we were watching the Chipmunks movie.” “Yeah,” my son quipped, “ we love you ma, but I’m not sure how much more you can cry.” Hmmm. They had a point. I started laughing as they brought up all the ridiculous things that I have cried over.  When Mulan cuts her hair and join the army.  A Johnny Test episode.(yep, definitely a low point)  Any commercial with a soldier returning home.  Oh, I love my babies. They keep me grounded, which is exactly where I need to be.

Gamma Knife Radiation

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After putting together my dream team which consisted of my sister Tasia and sweet friend Swati (note- if you are ever in this type of situation I would strongly advise taking exceptionally intelligent and remarkably beautiful women with you. Let’s just say we were treated VERY well), I switched my treatment over to Cedar Sinai. In May of this year I underwent a Gamma-Knife radiation treatment. This was their first option since I was allergic to pain medication and the tumor was small enough to attempt at ‘freezing’ it rather than removing it.

The Night Before Treatment

My older two children were with my folks in Hawaii and my youngest was with my sister and sister-in-law. I was grateful that they were taken care of, but being home by myself was, well, lonely. It was a sad reminder that there was no one there. After being married for 12 years, I still feel the loss of no one lying next to me in bed. I suppose I always will to some extent. I knew there would be two of us receiving the treatment the next day, and as I laid there in bed I thought about who he/she was and how they must be feeling. Lord, comfort them. I know they are scared. Lord, let them feel that you are near.

Radiation Day

Boy, this was a tough one. My sister Lea and Swati went with me. The doctors were upbeat and lively. “We decided to do you first.” Wonderful. “We figured since you have had three kids, you will handle the pain better than the other guy.” Fantastic. Talk about pressure; I felt like I had to perform. “I’m sure it won’t be a problem.” I smiled broad and confident, acting as if this was a piece of cake. Bad choice. Wrong choice. In this particular procedure, they screw in four bolts down to your skull. This will hold a metal halo in place that is needed to correctly administer the radiation. Let’s just say that I only remember the first one going in before I passed out. Yep. Out cold. So much for birthing three babies.

I eventually made it through the entire day, but I won’t be the same. I won’t ever be the same. More sober. More quiet. I am not sure how to explain it quite yet, but it changed me. Life seemed more fragile. It was all so surreal; life could be taken at any moment. It was at that point I began to slow down.

 

He began to slow me down.

Lord, I can’t say I understand or that I see this as good, but nonetheless, here I am. I am listening.

Here’s the scoop

So, to fill you in on a little more info, here’s the scoop. When I fell and broke my pelvis in 2013 (yep, it’s been an insanely brutal few years), I had a severe allergic reaction to the pain medication, which made me hallucinate big-time. I’m talking birds were flying in the house, a man’s head rolled off his body. It was getting a little cray-cray here. The pain-meds also left me with a little love gift- ringing in my ears. While the hallucinations finally subsided, the ringing did not. Told by my general doctor that there was nothing he could to help with this condition, I went to USC Medical Center. That led to a series of tests, which led to discovering a lump in my throat that landed me on a table undergoing a CT scan of my head and neck. The lump was nothing, but what they did find was a few nodules. They said it was most likely nothing, leaving out the part that the were talking about my brain and not my neck. You can imagine my surprise when I went in for my follow MRI and it was of my brain. A week later I found myself in front of a neurosurgeon, perplexed and a little confused. “Do you know why you are here, “ the neurosurgeon asked. “Well, I thought this was an issue with my neck, but since I am with you I am guessing it’s got to do with my head.” He looked right at me and said,” Honey, you have a brain tumor.” I laughed, more out of shock than finding it funny.

Most would say they stumbled across it, but God doesn’t stumble, at least not my God.

Meet Bob

When I moved through my divorce, my desire was to just feel loved. Coming out of a relationship where I felt alone and not enough my request to the Lord was simple; “I just want to be loved.” Five years later I am thrilled to say that I am. I know what it’s like to feel loved – adored-like no other and it’s better than I ever imagined. I get what it’s like to move from the honeymoon phase and into being let down and disappointed, even devastated at times, only to slowly, very slowly, work together, moving towards one another creating a deeper love than you had at the beginning.

And I credit all of this loving, growing and stretching to Bob.

This blog is to introduce you to Bob and the impact he has had on my life. “What!!”, my friends would yell. “Why haven’t we met him? How dare you keep this secret!” Truth is while I wish he were a man, and a hunky one at that, he is not. He is a brain tumor. Yep. There it is. A brain tumor. Even the words make you just stop. They hang in the air with silence around them, don’t they?

Diagnosed in March of 2014 with a non-cancerous, slow growing meningioma, I have aptly decided to refer to him as Bob. Somehow it makes it all the more manageable. As a single mom of three and a full time student earning my masters in marriage and family therapy, Bob was unwelcome. Unless he was hot and loved the Lord, there was no room in my life for an unwelcome visitor. Yet there he was, challenging me, pushing me to make the most of my life, to make everyday count. While it’s been crazy hard, I have to admit he has made me a better person. So who was is that I talked of, who overwhelmed me with his love, disappointed Me and drew me close once again into something quiet, yet peaceful. Well, that was The Lord.

This blog is a space to share the pains that come with wrestling with Bob, talking with God,navigating the chaos of raising three children, balancing a full load of classes and the down right craziness that comes with dating- yes, dating- in the midst of this wild ride.

My prayer is that through our tears, our suffering, our grief, we may find joy. My hope for all on this journey through life that a garden may grow not once we pass through the desert, but right there, smack dab in the middle of it.

Here’s to the journey ahead
Alisa