Thursday, September 25, 2008

Family Pictures

Well, being the SLACKER that I am... we hadn't had a family portrait done since before we moved to Utah. That was in 2003! So here is our crazy family!

Its been a while....

But I wanted to just update a few things going on here. Marcus finally had his 3rd dose of chemo on tuesday (Sept. 22) in clinic. His platelets were finally right where they needed to be (barely) to give it to him. We got there and had problems with his port (central line) and finally had to re-access it again. They finally got it started around 2:00 pm. They gave it to him slower and pre-medicated him pretty well. He did get the cramping, nausea, and some diarrhea. He wasn't near as bad as last time, but they still wanted to watch him overnight. We got home yesterday afternoon.

As far as the next dose, that is scheduled for Oct. 7th. But they will be doing it in-patient just to be able to watch him close and maybe even separate the dose over 2 days. =0/ Might as well, we end up staying anyway. Marcus is doing ok today, but still pretty sickly. I am sure it will take a few more days to get his strength back. The Dr.'s are going to try and wait to do a scan after the next dose of chemo. So sometime in October.

He still has double vision, dizziness, and no balance. I guess the best way to look at it is that he hasn't gotten worse. That means (hopefully) that the tumor has at least slowed down a little. We will find out after the next dose and see if it is doing its job.

Our family is struggling, but the community, family and friends have been such a blessing to us. I don't know how I could ever thank so many people, but the support is wonderful! We love and appreciate everyone.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Benefit Dinner for Marcus

We made it home on Monday Evening (8th of September) from the hospital. His sodium levels finally leveled out and is currently on sodium pills.

Tuesday, September 9th, some good friends of ours put together a Benefit dinner for Marcus. It was just unreal how many people showed up. We imagine that over 1,000 people were there. Macey's (a local grocery store) donated all the food and goods, flyers were printed up and delivered by Marcus's friends, Huge posters were posted in Macey's store, it was announced over the radio stations, and "Big Blue" (USU's mascot) showed up. It was very over-whelming to see so many people come to support Marcus and our family. Marcus did feel up to going and was swarmed by his friends and others who love him. It has made a world of difference to him. He has been smiling more and has boosted his spirits.

Thank you to all those who helped in anyway to put this together. Especially Holly and Cameron Wright, Brett Mathews and the Executive Council of Mountain Crest, the Mountain Crest Marching Band, Macey's Food and Drug, Ace Banner and Sign, Square One Printing and all those who spent time preparing the food, baking their delicious baked goods for the bake sale, and those who spent hours over the grill cooking the burgers and dogs. You all have given so much more than you realize.

Thanks to all those who came and supported us. What an amazing act of kindness and love. You have shown love in a way that has given us all hope and given Marcus a reason to fight harder than ever before.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Still here!

They still can't get his sodium stable enough to send him home. They did some other tests and his thyroid levels are off so an endocrinologist will be coming in today to check things out. His Brain Tumor specialist won't be in until tomorrow, so I imagine we will be here tomorrow as well. What he has is cranial salt wasting and for some reason his body is getting rid of more salt than what he should be. His vision is worse now than before and can't see much at all, so he has been wearing an eyepatch of some kind to help. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of it soon. It is getting realy old for him and all of us. He just wants to come home.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

At the "BIG HOUSE" again!

Yesterday, Marcus recieved his 2nd dose of Irinotecan and Avastin. Things did not go well at all. He started with diarreah, then the vomitting came on, then the horrible stomach cramps. He was acting a little more confused than normal yesterday anyway, but it got worse after that. They had to send for the medications and that seemed like forever before they were able to get it all under control. =0( Poor boy, didn't know where he was or what was going on. He kept apollogizing for the mess he made in the bathroom.
He is feeling a lot better today, just sleeping a lot, which is good. They had told us that we could go home, if his sodium levels came up with the sodium added to his iv fluids, but they didn't. So here we are again, for another night. I guess it is good we stayed because if they don't get those levels up, he is at a higher risk for seizures. They will be giving him higher doses of sodium in his fluids and will be checking his levels every 6 hours. (Thank goodness for centrl lines, he can sleep through those kind of blood draws!)
It is so very hard to keep positive and watch him go through all of this. His face is getting more and more swollen everyday because they still can't tapper the steriods off, he gets pretty confused, onery, and spacey. I have to remember that it isn't him that his acting that way, its all the crappy medicines, chemo and of course the "beast" that has taken over his brain. I keep on pushing forward, keeping faith (cause I have no other choice) that the Lord knows what is best for him and all of us.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's a GIRL at the Russells!!!

I know, that is hard to believe, but saturday we went to Petsmart and adopted a beautiful, 6-month old kitten. I knew she was for us the minute I saw her. She is the most outgoing cat I have ever known. She loves everyone, even strangers who come to visit, she has to climb up on them, smell them and cuddle with them.
We have FINALLY found a name for her... STELLA. (After the skunk on Over-the Hedge) She is very sassy and has taken over the house with ease. She never acted nervous when we brought her home and she purred for hours as she investigated her new home. I just know she was meant for us. The boys love her, and believe it or not, she loves them. When they leave for school, or go to bed she meows for them, and goes looking for her playmates.
I think she is what our family needs right now. She has brought some smiles to our faces, even Marcus's, which has been hard to do lately. We are so happy to have her!

Pictures of Hawaii!

I finally got around to uploading my pictures, so here's a few of the many pictures we took on our trip. ENJOY!

At the airport when we arrived!

Marcus in the ER... he was such a great sport!

At the USS Arizona Memorial

Aaron and Marcus at the Memorial. What cuties!