Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pilot for a day!

The Pilots-for-a-day and the 2 real pilots

I just cannot put in to words what kind of day it was yesterday. I was just amazed what time, effort and money that was spent on these 8 boys. We started at 7:45 and had breakfast in the place where all the pilots "hang-out" and met with 3 pilots. The boys then went in and put on their flight suits (that they got to keep) with the exact same kind of badges that the pilots have and a helmet bag that the pilots carry their own helmets in. They were given a pilot's coin, that represents the squadron they are on. Seems like they cannot be caught without this coin and have regular "coin-checks" where they are rewarded with a drink of their choice.
On to the equipment room where we were shown what the gear looked like and how it is worn. Very interesting! We then loaded on a bus where we were taken to a building where the boys were able to go in and actually fly in an F-16 flight simulator! They were able to stay on it for about 20 minutes or so. Marcus bombed a few ships, took a dive into the water, but somehow came out ok.
We then loaded on the bus again and went to the hangers where they service the F-16's. There they were able to walk around the plane, touch it and then actually able to sit, yes SIT in the cockpit and have their picture taken professionally. I have never seen so many smiles on kids faces before, especially Marcus.

Sitting in an F-16 cockpit! A dream come true.

The words say it all! "lets roll"

After "hangin' out" (hahaha) with the planes, we went back to the squadron's hang out and had some lunch. It was so nice to meet other people who have gone through similar circumstances. There were 2 other teens there with Marcus, one of which has a brain tumor as well. It was nice because Marcus was able to talk to someone who has similar interests, and been through so much stuff like him. They changed emails, so hopefully they can keep in touch.

After lunch we went out to the airfield where we were able to sit on bleachers and watch an air-show of an F-16. It really is amazing the things those pilots can do and handle physically. The pilot and aircrew of the show came over and talked to the boys and signed some pictures for them as well. They took pictures with them and were able to ask all kinds of questions. The press was there and the boys and parents interviewed with them.

This is how close we were to the plane taxiing!

We then went back to the Squadron where the boys were given a framed picture of the F-16 with signatures of the entire squadron on it and a hand-carved model of an F-16. When they were called up, they received their new "call sign" names. The pilots don't get their names until they earn their wings, so the trainers give them their names according to their personalities, last names, or something they did during training. A few kids names were: "Sun" Tanner (last name) "Side" Burns (last name). When they called Marcus up, he said.." we had the name "Rush" picked out for this pilot, but after seeing him with the press, we decided to call him Marcus "Hollywood" Russell. Wonder where he gets that from? It must run through the name!
He then was pinned with his wings and was given a plaque with a certificate printed on a full-size picture of him in the F-16! WOW... is all I can say!

"Hollywood" getting his wings.

It touches my heart that these brave men and women who risk their lives everyday for us, would do so much for my son and these other children. There really are some good people in the world. Thanks to Make-a-wish and other people who donate their time, these children will have some GREAT memories that will hopefully erase some of the bad ones they have.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Night at the VFW...

We had a wonderful time at the VFW, and the night was just great! They treated us like royalty! We started out the night meeting the Hummer at the Hill AFB museum, where Uncle Marty, Aaron and Marcus got to ride to Salt Lake in the loud, crammed, non-airconditioned Hummer. The word Marty used was "industrial". They took pictures and video of Marcus driving up and getting out. We all went in and met lots of wonderful people who do so much for others. They introduced Marcus and started giving him so many gifts and making him feel like "part of the military". He received both air-force and army "honorary" dog tags with his name on them, a veteran's flag, and a special "generals coin" that a high-ranked officer gave to him. She told him that is was given to her by someone (who was in the first infantry division and first ones into Bagdad) to give to someone she sees doing a good deed, being courageous, or brave. It was a really neat thing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Changing again....

I knew this would be a long process, but we are now trying medicine #4 on Marcus. Tonight he will start a new medicine that is given for seizures and for aggressive behaviors. It has to be monitored by blood tests, that I am sure Marcus will NOT want to do. Just trying to get Marcus to do anything right now is painful because we know he isn't going to do it or out comes the bouts of anger and "tantrums". I have to coax him to take any kind of medicines, so I won't tell him about the blood tests until he is on this for a while and if it is working, maybe he will feel better about things! YEAH RIGHT! The Dr. did give a good point though, he said he doesn't act this way at school, only at home, so that means he is able to control it. So not sure what is going on in that head, but all I know is that I can't take it anymore. We just made an appointment for him to see a Therapist who has dealt with children with cancer.
I think all tensions are on the rise because Marcus's MRI is on tuesday next week. Things always seem to get bad before that. We call it PMS... Pre-MRI-Syndrome.
ON A GOOD NOTE... This saturday is Marcus's VFW party and the whole family is going! Even Uncle Marty who will be here. I was hoping that Marcus would be more excited about it, but he doesn't really seem THAT excited. BUT..... instead of a Black Hawk Helicopter, they were able to get Marcus and his Scout troop and Leaders on a KC-135/refuler! On may 14th, they will go up and be there while they refuel some A-10's!!!! I tell you, I have never seen so many MEN (leaders) get so excited in my life. It will be a GREAT TIME!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Changing meds...

Well, the first medication Marcus was on, didn't work at all. All it did was make him tired which in turn made him grumpy! NOT GOOD. So yesterday he started the second option. He said it made him really tired, but he hasn't been sleeping much so I am wondering if it is both things. I am hoping that the meds will help him sleep as well.
In good news... I got a phone call from Make-A-Wish and they gave me a phone number of a woman who found out about Marcus and wanted to do something for him. She is a manager of a "Cantina" (yes, it is a bar!) but it is a military bar and a customer of hers works for MAW. When they found out that there was a kid that loves the military they decided they wanted to do something fun for him. They are having a birthday party for their "group" (can't remember the name of it, sorry) but they want to invite Marcus, John and I to it. They might be able to come pick us up in a military HUMVEE! They want to present Marcus with a Veterans flag and a Generals Coin, plus give him lots of other cool things. They are looking into getting him a chance to ride in a Black Hawk helicopter! This sounds go great and the woman and her co-workers are so excited to do something for him.
Now a dilemma, this will be 3 things that Marcus will be doing in the next months. The other boys, Aaron especially gets very jealous and I agree, it would be hard to watch your brother get to do all these things. So John and I are trying to think of something we can do that is special with Aaron. He is still rebelling and not wanting to do his homework. He doesn't do any homework, but aces the tests! So I know he needs some special attention. We are thinking that maybe we could take him to Salt Lake and spend the night, taking him out to do some fun stuff. Maybe a Bees' game (baseball) or maybe even a Jazz game. We are still working on it, so we will see what happens.
Uncle Marty (John's sisters husband) is coming out next week from Maryland. He has never been to Utah so he is excited to see the great outdoors here. Hopefully it will stop snowing by then! It will be fun to have him here and hang out with the boys.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ok, latest picture!

Well, after running into Allison at Walmart, she mentioned that there wasn't a picture of myself on my blog, which never really donned on me. So Here I am. A rotten picture and yes, I have gained weight. This is clipped out of John's Family Picture that we took in Arizona back in November. I have lost a little weight since then, but I have not been able to find a picture other than this one. So, there you go. OH, and for those of you who don't know, next to me is John, my dear sweet husband of 17 years! Gosh, if anything this will get me motivated to loss some poudidge, if that is a So while I was at Walmart I purchased a whole new pilates workout with all the fixen's. The weather is finally getting warm enough that I can probably start walking in the mornings or evenings. I really should blow this picture up and have it where I can look at it everday to motivate me!!
So there you go, Allison. Now that you already know what I look like, here I am... in my full glory.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A place of Peace...

I know I have posted a few times of the behavior problems that Marcus has been having, but there are no words to express my feelings of despair when he has a major explosion and hurts someone, verbally and especially physically. There are times where I have had to come between him and one of his brothers, and the thought has crossed my mind that I may have to jump in front of him and take a severe blow for one of them from a person who is not "Marcus". There have been many days where I go to bed sobbing, wondering if our family/marriage can survive this part of the trial. Even though the "MONSTER"...aka cancer (as Aunt LaRae calls it) isn't there, it feels like there is a different kind of one in Marcus trying to destroy our family.
On Easter, my Mom (thanks Mom) sent me a link to a website that has brought me so much comfort to me. I visit it daily to feel the love and strength I need to get through the day. I can't wait until these images are available for purchase so I can put them where I can see them all day. These photos are on display in the Visitors Center of the Arizona Temple in Mesa, Arizona. I hope I will be able to see the the display sometime soon. Here is the link.... if you can, go to the blog part and they have made a new clip of the photos which is beautiful.

As far as Marcus goes, we finally were able to get him into a Psychiatrist and he started medication last night and so far so good. Day #1 is down, keeping fingers crossed that this works for him.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I don't know how to say this.....

BUT.... cancer has struck our family AGAIN! Ruth (20, almost 21) was just diagnosed with cervical cancer. She is my niece, my oldest brothers daughter who just got married a year and 1/2 ago. I am not sure about what stage it is, but for some reason they think it may be at stage 3, which doesn't sound right, but they will find out more this week. I just can't believe we have 3 people in our family battling cancer right now, not to mention Jessica who has been fighting for her life since the day she was born, almost 20 years ago! All of this is just gets so overwhelming sometimes.