Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium

Day 1 of our vacation, and we are already going strong. Usually we sit around and discuss things to do, but this morning we just got up and left. We ended up traveling 2 hours to Gatlinburg, TN to hit up a few attractions that the kids have been talking about, with the main one being Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium downtown.

We have been in the area many times before as we have family close by, and we have an article about Dollywood.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium

Before we start in strong with the Odditorium, it is important to note that on the way to Gatlinburg, Carter noticed an earthquake ride on the ride out. He was ecstatic about it since he has been extremely in to disasters and such lately. Part of his homeschooling lets him get excited about certain aspects. Earthquakes is the current excitement.

Straight from their website “Get up close to a car completely covered in crystals, see a dragon made out of recycled scrap metal, check out the National Anthem on license plates from the 50 states, you will not believe the beautiful Last Supper artwork made out of lint!”

Now lets talk about Ripley’s!

  • They had an amazing military discount! For the military members, it was 50% off, and each dependent received a 30% discount. For all four of us, it was about $50.00
  • There was 3 floors of great stuff, and was easy to navigate. There were times it got a little crowded between major exhibits, but there was enough small ones between that kept Carter and Kinley entertained.
  • The type of exhibits were awesome. We were a little worried about what would be showcased, and if some of them would freak the kids out, but we were wrong. It was great, and the kids loved it.
Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium
Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium
Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium
Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium
Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium

Earthquake Ride

After leaving RIpley’s, we had to take Carter to the Earthquake ride. We paid just as much for that as the Odditorium, but Carter was super stoked about it. Kinley, not so much. The ride was fun, and little outdated, but for a couple of children, especially a child with autism and currently pumped about earthquakes, it hit the mark

Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium

Lastly, we made a pit stop at Mad Dogs creamery, and got some ice cream. Great way to top off the afternoon, and get ready to swim.

Join 404 other subscribers

First Hand Experience Processing VA Benefits For Retirement (Part 1)

On an ordinary Tuesday in December, I woke up with the realization that my retirement request had been approved and I would be walking out of the Marine Corps in July 2019. A great sense of satisfaction swept over me for a great career coming to an end…. then the unadulterated panic began to set in. As a million thoughts raced thru my mind, I quickly wrote a laundry list of the big items that I needed to accomplish in order make that mythical smooth transition from military life to the “real world”.

1. Where to retire to?

2. Buy a house?

3. Write a Resume.

4. Find a Job!

5. Kid’s school.

6. Ceremony stuff.

While each of these initial concerns were certainly a process in themselves, in fact I could write lengthy posts on each one, the procedure that was nowhere on this list that I felt turned into the most difficult was the VA Disability claims process. I guess I naively thought that it would be self-explanatory process with everything laid out to support the veteran.  You would think that 25 years of experience would have taught me better. There was more paperwork than I imagined, confusing directions, contradictory information, and general sense from many people that you are lying to scam the government.

Where am I now? Two weeks ago, I finished my exam process and now sit waiting for the rating decision. My rating doesn’t matter for the purpose of this post, I just wanted to share 5 lessons I learned along the way of filing my initial claim that I believe would be beneficial for a service member starting this process.

1. When to file

The VA now offers a Pre-discharge option so that you can file 90-180 days before you get out and receive benefits right away. It would seem like a no brainer to use this option, but so many people I talked to were waiting in order to “go see the doctor one more time” or “too busy at work to deal with the VA right now.” Allow me to refute both these arguments.

First, you can continue to get military treatment after filing your claim. The real truth is that everyone needs to be going to get your injuries documented especially in the last year or two of your career. You have endured physical and mental hardships that most people could not dream of. Ensure you take care of yourself for the sake of your family and those that love you. If you try to rush everything in the last 6 months, you will have legitimate injuries that will get left behind. It is more important to get the process going than to wait for an MRI that may or may not change a previous diagnosis. Once you get a rating, you can always request a rating increase based on new medical information.

Second, if you are in the transition process, let go of the reins. I am not advocating going ROAD (Retired On Active Duty), but I do believe that that you can accomplish several missions at one time. Can you still be a vital cog in your command and get your VA claim filed? Absolutely!! I had a lengthy claim for a variety of injuries and issues, I missed a total of 2 days of work. In reality I could have made it back one day, but my wife and I had an extended lunch together. I know guys who take more than 2 days of leave to go fishing. Nothing wrong with that, but if you can miss work to drink a cold one on the lake, you can certainly miss a couple of days to ensure you have the medical care you will need later in life. On that same note, if you are expecting to get a new job once you transition, do you want your first conversation to be about the time off you need to go to VA appointments? Unless you hit the jackpot with a job, you will be taking unpaid leave to do what the military owes you for time to take care of.

Third, the sooner you file the sooner you rate benefits. For instance, if you use the Pre-discharge system, your benefit date is your end of active service and you will receive benefits 30 days after. If you wait until 2 months after you retire to file, the start date for benefits only goes retro to the date of filing. For example, if your EAS is 22 July, but you don’t file until 12 October then when the VA finally settles your claim (117 day average for a Fully Developed Claim), then your benefits effective date is 1 November. Why would you willingly leave money on the table? Depending on your rating this could be several thousand dollars. I don’t know about you, but that could seriously pay down my daughter’s upcoming orthodontics bills.

 2) Getting started (VSO or Not)

The subject of a VSO (Veterans Service Organization) was one I was really conflicted about going into this process. The first time I attended transition seminar a VSO rep gave a 5 minute brief on how to claim things we may or may not actually suffer from. I vowed at that moment I would not compromise my integrity for a few dollars from the VA.

Part 2 of this article will be released soon! Hand your own two cents regarding this topic and want to expand on the first two tips, share below in the comments sections

This article was written and produced by Jeremy Owens


Our Trip To UNC Chapel Hill

My Experience To Chapel Hill

It is that time of year again, and we are looking back on our annual trip to UNC Chapel Hill. We go every 18 months now and meet with Carter’s brain surgeon that performed the original brain surgeries to remove Carter’s brain tumor when he was two. These normal trips can drive up anxiety, and really get the entire family up in shambles. Two trips ago, they couldn’t get an MRI and consult on the same day, so we had to do the 4 hour drive twice. In between, a nurse told my wife over the phone that she thought there was some regrowth, and had our family in chaos for the weeks it took to get us back in. Just for the surgeon to tell us everything is fine, and nurses should’t read scans for the first time with a patient on the phone.

Well this time we had our own little issue to worry about, as Carter has been getting migraines since October and they bumped up his MRI by a few months to make sure everything is fine. Not to mention, we also had Carter getting his shots ( recently, and he was terrified to go here at all.

So we left on July 4th to drive from Chesapeake Virginia to UNC Chapel Hill. We stayed at the Hampton Inn for the night, about 2 miles from the hospital, since Carter was scheduled to be the first one on the scanner and we had to be fully checked in and ready to go to sedation by 6:30. The kids love staying in a hotel, and it was free for us so it was enjoyable.

(I will be doing an infographic and post for military families to explain medical travel and travel pay soon)

This morning, everyone got up and was ready to go. There is no drinking or eating for anyone, since Carter can’t until he gets off the scanner. The entire family doesn’t say anything, even 7 year old Kinley understands that her brother can’t eat and drink, so she waits until he goes to sedation. Let’s just take a second there, #proudparent moment happened when she didn’t mention it one time. She was a trooper and just sat patiently until Carter was sedated.

Carter still has to get gassed and then sedated with an IV for his 45 minute brain scan, as he will not sit still for the MRI to do its job. We are hoping next go around he will be able to watch a movie on the goggles and not be sedated, but we will see. I promised him no shots today, and that I would protect him. After the scan, he rose out of his sedation like a boss, long before the nurse had anticipated. He started to try and rip out his IV, and of course he called us a liar and that we tricked him. I tried very hard to explain that he didn’t get a shot, but that he got a medicine to keep him asleep, but it didn’t matter. We were liars to him, but we cured that with a new movie and some Buffalo Wild Wings.

We left the hospital around 9:30, and had a few hours to get Carter some food, and take him to get his movie. He picked Garfield, going back to our old comic strip days. We had a 1:00 appointment with his buddy the surgeon, so we didn’t have time to nap from our early morning wake up.

Clear Report, No Brain Tumor

Once we got to the Spine and Imaging center, we eventually made it back to see the surgeon, who informed us that the image looked great, no regrowth, and the headaches were not from the brain or any tumors. Kelli had migraines as a child, so of all kids, why wouldn’t Carter get something else he needed to fight through. All in all it was a great day, Carter is doing fine, and we made it home safe and sound with enough time for me to jam this article up. We are so excited, and relieved from this trip. We continue to thank God for his healing power, and will get ready for the newest adventures we face down the road.

Don’t forget to subscribe below and follow us through our adventures. We love new readers, and love to collaborate and have discussions. Thanks for everyone that commented at supported us through this trip on our Facebook page at From Tumor 2 Autism Join our community on our Facebook page for up to date news, giveaways, and great content.

Join 404 other subscribers

Signs & Symptoms of Pediatric Brain Tumors

Signs & symptoms of pediatric brain tumors can gradually appear & become worse with time or in some cases they can suddenly happen so as to cause seizures. Tumors within the brain can often raise pressure within the skull. Intracranial pressure can be caused by growth of the tumor, swelling in brain or due to the blocked flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Common signs & symptoms of increased pressure in brain include headache, nausea, vomiting, crossed eyes, blurred vision, balance problems, behavioral changes, seizures, drowsiness or even coma in some children. Brain tumor surgery for many children can be an excellent solution to overcome these problems.

Other Signs & Symptoms in Children

Other signs & symptoms of a brain tumor in children can occur within the first few years of their lives & include loss of appetite, irritability, developmental delay & a drop in their physical & mental abilities. Parents may also notice increase in their size of head & in some cases along with bulging of soft spots on skull, usually among children who are too small to complain. General symptoms of a brain tumor in children of school-going age include fatigue, poor performance at school alongside changes in personality. Doctors can also tell about pressure inside the child’s skull by looking in the eyes for swelling of the optic nerve.

Symptoms of a Brain Tumor in Children in Other Parts of the Central Nervous System

A brain tumor in children or within the spinal cord can cause several signs & symptoms including problems with specific functioning of that particular region, including the following.

· Brain tumors in areas which control sensation or movement can cause numbness or weakness in specific parts of the body & which most often are on one side.

· Tumors in or near parts of the brain which are responsible for language may cause problems with speech or understanding words in some cases.

· Tumors which are located in front part of the brain may at times affect personality, thinking & language skills.

· Tumors in areas of brain known as basal ganglia typically are found to cause abnormal body positions & movements.

· Brain tumor in children occurring areas which control coordination may cause trouble in walking or with other types of functions including eating.

· Tumors located on the back side of the brain or around pituitary gland, optic nerves or other specific cranial nerves are found to cause problems with vision.

· A brain tumor in children in or near other cranial nerves can also lead to balance problems, loss of hearing, trouble in swallowing, or weakness of some facial nerves.

· Spinal cord tumors in children are found to cause weakness, numbness or lack of coordination in both sides of arms and/or legs, as well as bowel or bladder problems.

Nevertheless, having one or more of these problems does not necessarily mean that the child is having a tumor since most of these symptoms can belong to other reasons as well. But then, if you notice any of these symptoms which do not go away but worsen over time, it is time to see a doctor & to find out the underlying cause of the problem including considering brain tumor surgery if required.


The quality of brain tumor surgery is at par with the best in the world. Neurosurgeons in India are globally recognized to be some of the best & many of whom have in fact initially trained & experienced for decades in developed Western countries like the United Kingdom, Canada & United States before returning to their homeland.

Article Source:

Celebrate Independence Day – In Your Own Way

Independence Day has arrived and each one of us has a unique way of celebrating it! There are some that are hosting a party to make it memorable, and there are others on the road.

The United States has spent the day celebrating its Independence Day, which is also known as the 4th of July. The holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Most people often enjoy this occasion by going out for picnics, having fireworks displays and attending or participating in parades.

Some people choose to commemorate the day by engaging in their own personal activities. They could get a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it. The transcript is only a page or two and is considered to be one of the greatest documents ever written. This is a good way to remember the freedom the founding fathers fought for and why we should still fight for it today.

Others choose to hang the American flag from the roof of their home, work place, or car. You can also look for other places to display your flag proudly. You could hang it on your scooter or bike. The main point is to show your patriotism.

Even though the 4th of July requires Americans to engage in deep thought, it is important that you also have fun. You should celebrate Independence Day with a party. You can have a party you want to celebrate Independence Day with your family, relatives or friends.

You can gather your close friends and family and organize a wonderful Independence Day party. You can display patriotic decorations, participate in entertaining games and cook some good food for everyone. Party rental has bounce houses, water slides, and other party rentals to make your party a great one. Your 4th of July party will start your summer with a bang!

With the right kind of red, white and blue decorations, you can show everyone your patriotism on the 4th of July. However, it is important to remember that this special day is not just about parties and good food, it’s also about honoring those who fought for the independence of our country. With party rentals you can do this and still have fun.

For us, we are traveling today. Carter was scheduled with his annual MRI scan tomorrow morning, so we are spending the night in a hotel, another favorite thing for the kids to do. Carter does this every 16 months, to see if any of the brain tumor has grown back since his second surgery. So far his head has been clear, and we thank God for that everyday.

We celebrated yesterday, and went to the Chesapeake City Park and watch the fireworks. For the first time in ten years, Carter didn’t want his ear covered, and enjoyed the fireworks very much! He made up a game of how the lower igniting fireworks were having a competition with the higher ones. It was an interesting voice over to listen to while watching the display above 🤣😂

It was a great celebration for us, and we are now settled in our hotel and ready for tomorrow. He will be on the scanner at 6:30 in the morning, and by 1:30 we will be sitting down with his brain surgeon and going over the scan. We have been lucky enough to have the same on from the beginning, and it’s great to see her every year as she watches Carter grow.

We will give feedback tomorrow, and let everyone know how this years scan goes. Enjoy your 4th, and celebrate hard.

Subscribe to our blog here

Autism Discussion – Is Autism Curable?

The word “cure” in regards to autism is a controversial term, and often brings up a heated debate about what this word really means for autism. But, what about the word “recover”. Does this have its play in the language of autism treatment?

So the phrase that starts this debate…….“Autism is curable.”

Before we get to far into this, I am not meaning to stir up the hornets nest, but interested in no kidding educational conversation on the topic. Leave out emotional responses and just have a friendly conversation.

This is a statement some people use to indicate that autism is a disease or health condition that can be overcome. Others have vehemently argued that autism is not a disease process at all, and therefore there is nothing to be cured from. The traditional medical community viewpoint is that there is no cure for autism and only supportive treatment such behavioral modification and drug therapies are options worth pursuing. 

So in this aspect, it depends on who who talk to when bringing up this conversation. In my experience, when you talk to a family, there is no magic pill, no cure, as it shouldn’t be identified as needing one. My family for example, choose to see Carter as gifted and intelligent.

To fully understand the concept of cure we need to make a distinction between what is commonly called ‘cured’ (a return to a previous state of health before a change had occurred) and ‘recovery’ (the act of regaining health that was previously lost). Traditional medicine, and even those in the autism medical community realize that there is no known cure for autism, although there are different treatments available including biomedical autism interventions that can help individuals on the autism-spectrum such as diet, i.e. gluten-free and casein-free diet and/or the specific carbohydrate diet, nutritional supplement intervention (including multivitamin/minerals), Methyl-B12 therapy, Respen-A, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, detoxification, anti-fungal treatment, and much more, as well as non-biomedical therapies including applied behavior analysis (ABA), speech and occupational intervention. Traditional medicine even has treatments which are mostly drugs such as Risperdal to suppress aberrant behavior. However, none of these treatments are curative. 

I despise using the word ‘cure’, and I don’t in my internet postings, lectures, or writings when discussing experiences with Carter on the autism-spectrum. Here is an analogy. If you have an accident and break your arm, and overtime your broken arm heals to the point that movement is restored and it appears indistinguishable from before the accident this would indicate a recovery from your injury. However, your arm would still have suffered the injury and therefore an absolute cure from the accident (and subsequent broken arm) is not possible. You still had the broken arm. However, normal function in your arm has been regained…you recovered!

With that being said, there is the Brain Tumor portion of Carter’s life in addition to the Autism aspect. However, we are still careful on how we choose our words. We do not say Carter is cured from his brain tumor, we feel as though he is recovering. We feel as though he is healed, from a religious standpoint, and we thank God everyday for this. Carter was hurt, he was broken, now he is not. However cure would say that the tumor will never come back, and he is back to his regular self when he was first born. In that case, we would Not continue to return to Chapel Hill every year for MRI’s and Neurosurgery consultation, but we do. We actually leave in two days on July 4th for his next one.

Some say similar concepts applies to autism. Children (as well as teenagers or adults) are not cured from their autism. However, some individuals are said to recover, losing their diagnosis, and appear indistinguishable from their peers. In these cases, medical providers state that their autism was reversed, most or all symptoms of their disorder have disappeared, and they now function typical of other people but they will always have had what is classified as autism. Again, highly controversial and debated topic.

So what do you think? Is autism curable?

Episode 3: A Veterans View

5 Minutes of Fighting

“Damn it’s hot! I hate sitting in this turret with this flight suit and MTV on.”

We have been driving around for 6 hours now, and the days only get hotter as we go on. Not to mention, the vibe I am getting right now from the locals has shifted, and something isn’t right. After 4 months of mobile patrolling, I hate this truck, I hate this place, I hate this MK-19, I hate everything. It’s time to go home.

“Whheeww! That was close. Watch out for that white truck!”

Hatred and depression turns into excitement and adrenalin. This white truck comes from the rear of the convoy, and slammed to a halt in the middle of the convoy. Everyone just freezes, anticipating what follows from a situation like this.

The platoon sergeant gets out of his vehicle with a few Marines and talks to the drivers. The gunners set up security and start scanning around our perimeter. The vehicle is sent on their way after a thorough search. The Marines load back up in the vehicles.

The radio chirps, “Truck 1, push to…?”

Immediate bursts of heavy machine gun fire starts to slam into my truck! I have no idea where the rounds are coming from, there is no way to look over the turret either to see with the heavy bombardment of lead hitting the MK and the turret.

Then the heavy retaliation of fire begins from our side, and we attempt to gain fire superiority. I can finally get my head up and return a shield of 40mm grenades jumping from my weapon system. I am tuned in to my area of responsibility, with a target locked on an enemy position. As I am firing, truck three begins driving with their gunner firing rapidly at the same position I am. His back is to me, and they are about to drive right in front of me.

Without thinking, without a thought process and what is happening, I release my trigger and control grips completely, watch the truck glide in front of me from left to right, and then I reengage.

Within 60 seconds, the engagement is over. We look around, crack a laugh that everyone is ok. Two more hours of patrolling left, even a small firefight doesn’t give us a chance to return to base early.

“Damn it’s hot! I hate sitting in this turret with this flight suit and MTV on.”

A Few Moments in the Eyes of Parents With an Autistic Child

Background Setting

We found a new beach, one that wasn’t nearly as nice as the one we wrote about in our Outer Banks post, but much closer than the two hour drive. We were there with Carter’s buddy from ABA, some friends from across the street, and I showed up a few hours behind them since I was at work. Kinley is playing with her friends, and I just got done playing Frisbee with the kids in the water, and decided to take a break from the waves and sit down.

Live Action

“Shew, those waves wear me down”, Although I am a Marine, I still get wore out at the beach, don’t judge me.

“Carter, stay close”

I sit down next to Kelli and her friend, as I am ready for a break. My legs are sore, I am trying to catch my breath, and determining if going out there with four kids around the ages 8-10 is a smart move on my part. I may need to work on making better decisions.

How have you been Mr.B, haven’t got to see you in a while with work and all?”

Immediately we hear a scream from Carter that makes every adult in a 100 meter radius turn towards him thinking he is in trouble. As soon as we look his way, an orange ball is flying through the air like a missile. He isn’t in danger, he is mad. Super mad!

“Carter, what is wrong. Calm down, take a breath, and explain what is going on”

The response, more throwing and stomping the ground. He begins to run our of the water as he attempts to get as far away from the water as possible. He is mad at the beach, that much we know. He sits in the sand and crosses his arm, and just says “nothing”.

“What’s wrong Carter?”


“What is it buddy?”


We normally get a response like that for a few minutes until he calms down. We have learned to give him his space, and as long as he isn’t putting himself in danger, that he will open up in due time. After some probing, we finally figure out what has made him so made. He buried the Frisbee, and got distracted and forget where in the water he buried it at. This doesn’t help us out at all, as none of us know where he buried it at. I look around for about five minutes, scraping my feet on the beach floor trying to stir something up, he is still mad though as I have no luck.

Then, with the flip of a switch, he gets up and is no longer mad. He starts to play with the watering pot, and has already forgot about the Frisbee. You see, that is how it works in his head. He changes directions so often, you can;t keep up with him. He can have these meltdowns anywhere, and you can try to calm him down as much as possible with no luck, but eventually he will just switch off and move to something else as though he didn’t just throw three controllers and try to smash the television. That is just how his brain works.

Ten minutes later, Kinley was coming in for a drink and stumbled upon the Frisbee buried in the water. Carter didn’t care at all, he acted as though he had never seen it before in his life. It is what it is, things could be worse. They could be better, but they can always be much worse. Carter man is a special fella, and we love every little bit of him.

Before we get out of here, wanted to throw out a plug about our new shirt on the shop. Let us know what you think, you can check it out here

Join 404 other subscribers

Announcing the From Tumor 2 Autism Shop

Good day to all, and what a wonderful day it is. Here at From Tumor 2 Autism, we are so excited to announce the opening of our shop section in our online store. With an already existing military themed shop, we decided to branch out and open a section within the shop named From Tumor 2 Autism to showcase some specially designed items.

Some of the items currently up are some specially designed stickers, apple watch bands, and some autism awareness apparel. There is so much more to come with this shop as well, so be sure to check it out regularly.

You can visit the shop now at

You can also click on the shop link on the menu header as well to take you to the shop.

Also, we are about to give away a free item on our Facebook page, so if you haven’t like our page yet, head over there now to get entered in the drawing here