Don Bowen’s Miracle 2009-10-31

October 31, 2009

Don 5-22-05

On October 31, 2009, my Lord threw His loving arms around me tightly, invited me to enjoy life in this new world of His and pronounced me cancer free.  He promised you and me a miracle if we prayed BIG, and He has kept His promise.

Memorial services will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, November 28, 2009 at the Northwoods Community Church, 10700 N. Allen Road, Peoria IL 61614

Praise the Lord for His goodness!

Don

Don Bowen Update 2009-10-31

October 30, 2009

Since  I’m no longer able to tell my dad what to write, I’m using the newest technology with him that he has frequently asked me about.  No need for any form of electronic equipment or material, I just transfer my thoughts through the air to anyone who happens to be tuned in.  My dad has found the frequency, so he’s tuned in.  Here I am at work, transmitting to my dad:

Don resting 102709

Quite a few family members and friends celebrated my 51st birthday (Oct 29) during several days.  I know they had a good time with each other even though I slept through it all.  They may not have been aware, but I did ask CNA Sharon to give me a bath so I’d be presentable at my birthday party activities.  Clean sleeping goes with clean living.  Both are important to me.

Don and CNA Sharon 102709Nurse Jan Student Nurse Terri

Nurse Jan and Student Nurse Terri from Saint Francis Hospice make sure my vitals are OK.  They translate what they hear and see into their counsel for Eileen so she’ll be sure she is giving me what I need.  I keep being reminded of how I’m unable to get along without the special women in my life.   Thanks Sharon, Jan, Terri and Eileen!

I know I missed visiting with my friends, Mike and Jodi Wiggins, but they had the honor of taking my place of sitting in my green, Green Bay Packers chair.  I’m sure now they will be cheering for the Packers to win in the future.

Mike Jodi Wiggins

Long distance visitors from Austin TX who work with me at UnboundID (www.unboundid.com) include (right to left) Kevin LeMay, Andy Land, Neil Wilson and Steve Shoaff.  On the far left, from San Francisco CA, is Chuck Mortimer – former colleague at Sun Microsystems.  You guys have helped to give my career real meaning and excitement – THANKS!

Chuck Mortimer Steve Shoaff Neal Wilson Andy Land Kevin LeMay

I’m so  blessed to have loving family come to see me.  My sister Sue, her husband Al and daughter Alissa came from Macomb.  Some of Eileen’s family also came on Friday, Oct. 30: George and Joan Boddy (dad and mom) and Paulette and Chris Boddy (sister-in-law and brother).  Eileen’s brothers, Mike and George Boddy with early Saturday morning Kelly.

Sue Al Alissa DeRoosGeorge Joan Paulette Chris BoddyMike George Boddy with Kelly

Today is Halloween, so my friends and family are celebrating.  One of the family’s favorite card games, Dalmuti, drew the following players: Joey Eells, Lauren, Neil Wilson, Steve Shoaff, Megan, Liz Wiertel, Kevin LeMay and Andy Land.  Megan finished as the Great Dalmuti.  Kelly dressed as a “nerd” for a party with a couple of her “nerdy’ dressed friends.

DalmutiNerd Kelly

When words fail me, I turn to the Psalms – like:  (I’m happy to let you share them with me)

1  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.  Psalm 23

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Update 2009-10-26

October 25, 2009

It’s been hard to train a new camera man to understand that pictures take up less space than the words required to send the equivalent message.  Here’s chair to bathroom to bed:

Don chocolate pie & whip creamDon's bathroom toiletDon's 1st Livingroom bedPackers are, of course, beginning and end.

Garbers and Monohans came over so Mike and I could celebrate our birthdays together.

Don & Mike Monohan birthday cakeGarbers & DonLisa, Todd, Carolyn, Katy and Daniel

Amy came home for a 3-day fall break from Indiana Wesleyan University and baked some sugar cookies to paint with her grandmother – renewing an activity Amy had with she visited her grandmother when Amy was in grade school.

Cookie girls Amy Kelly AndreaCookie girls Amy Kelly Andrea 1Amy, Kelly and Andrea

I experienced my first non-visit with two special friends: Mike Wiggins from Bloomington IL and his sister Jodi from Crystal Lake IL.  They brought a caramel apple pie and a peach pie.  Everybody else enjoyed their visit and the pies they brought.  I was struggling with an extended period (about 8-10 hours) of severe stomach pain.  We were unsure of the cause, but Jan the nurse came with a couple of suppositories and some special medication – including morphine – which gave me some relief.  Mike and Jodi – my apologies for not hosting your visit in a manner more suited to my joy that you came to see me.

Mike Jodi Wiggins Julie FrankMike, Jodi Wiggins and sister Julie Frank with pies.

I am very proud to tell you that my youngest daughter, Lauren, is becoming a guitar player.  I’m sure she’ll be on stage before you know it.  Only then will I be able to show you a picture of her with her guitar.

My energy level is so low at present that I’m unable to host visitors for any meaningful kind of visit.  Eileen will know with a phone call if a visit from anyone would be useful for you or me.  Thanks for your prayers for me and my family and for understanding that I cherish your friendship – even if I can’t speak to you now in person.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Update 2009-10-22

October 22, 2009

There has been a lot of regular living going on in my house since the last posted message.  I’ve had a few visitors which I always enjoy, but nothing like the busy house we had prior to the last blog.  My energy level only permits me to move with assistance via wheel chair on the main floor of our house from my chair in the family room, to the bathroom and my newly positioned bed in our living room where Eileen sleeps on our couch near my bed.

I’ve had several medical helpers come to help me as recommended by my doctor.  Nurse Jan has come several times to check with Eileen on how I’ve been doing since she was here last: what meds have I taken, what kinds of pain I have had and how severe have they been, where I have had the pain and what remedy was tried.  Jan provides many suggestions for my care and is always available for any questions Eileen may have.

CNA Sharon came for the first time this week to give me a full body bath – in my bed.  Everyone agreed that it might be hazardous for me to try to take a shower – with or without help.

I did enjoy seeing two special visitors from my high school days in Macomb Illinois.  Victor Daniels, special Policy Adviser for the Governor of Arizona, honored me by coming all the way from his busy schedule in Arizona.  Bryce Dexter, Director of Development for the School of Arts and Sciences at Western Illinois University (and excellent impersonator of Elvis Presley), helped me recall our fun days together in high school.

Victory Daniels 1Bryce Dexter 1

My pastor from Northwoods Community Church and his wife, Cal and Susan Rychner, came by for a welcome visit.  After all, Cal is an ardent Packers fan.  We talked about family members, where they are, what they are doing and the usual struggles of parenting children in ther teens and twenties.  We prayed together and praised God for His goodness.

Cal Susan Rychner 1

Two couples who visited and escaped my camera were former neighbors and close friends, Nate and Sherry Miller, and former college friends, Fred and Laurie Martin with their daughter, Meredith.  While Fred and Laurie were visiting, a 17 year old youth landed the plane he was flying at the busy intersection of Willow Knolls Dr. and Allen Road.  That intersection is about 1 mile from my house.  The youth escaped the plane before it burst into flames and completely burned up and no other injuries were reported.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Update 2009-10-14

October 14, 2009

The lab results on 10-09-09 indicate that my body is not now, nor will it be strong enough in the future to receive any further chemo treatments.  Eileen, my family and friends are now responsible for providing me with pie and ice cream anytime I ask.

My brother and four sisters were here for the weekend to visit and attend my church with me.  It was good to see all of them at one time and enjoy some past family stories. (Sue, Julie, Barb, Anita and Steve in back. Dad, me and Mom sitting) and (Just Look and guess who is who!) and (Sue kisses Don) and (Mom and me with my blue halo).

Brother Sisters Parents 2009-10-11Whole Family 2009-10-11Sue Kisses DonMom and my blue hallo

Cousin Tom Bowen, sister Anita Meltzer, cousin Nancy Bowen, sister Sue DeRoos, Mom and frequent visitor Joey Eells spent some time entertaining me and enjoying my attempts at humor in my family room.

Family in My Living Room

Katie and Keith Seibel joined John Chaney and his son, Mark, for a great visit with prayer and scripture.  Then Katie and Keith demonstrated the sound of two shofars (rams horns) they brought back with them from Israel.  Shofars were used by the Israelites when they went into battle against their enemies. They wanted me to hear the current version of God’s people going into battle against my cancerous enemy.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shofar

John Mark Cheney and Katie Keith Seibel 2Keith Katie rams horn shofar

Kevin Lemay, my very special friend from Austin TX who works with me at our company, UnboundID, came to spend several days with me.  Jim Rinella, my college friend/roommate   from Colorado who works with the Navigators, came and spent a week at my house.  Everybody should have a great friends like Kevin and Jim.  John and Bev Burnham have been long time friends who have prayed BIG for me.

Kevin Lemay and DonJim Rinella DonJohn Bev Burnham 1

Now for those common parts of daily living.  Doing wheelees in my wheelchair, dancing with my wife to and from the bathroom and best of all, eating chocolate pudding pie.

Don wheelchairEileen Don Dancing 1Don chocolate pie 1

It has been good to be with my family and friends during this past week.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Health Update 2009-10-6

October 6, 2009

Lab results on Friday, 10-2-09 indicated platelets were too low to permit chemo therapy.  Dr. said we’d wait to see the lab results next Friday, 10-09-09 to see if additional therapy can be permitted at that time.

Visitors have continued to shower me with their good wishes, delicious food, enjoyable conversation and prayers.  Here are some pictures:

Steve Shoaff (long time friend and CEO of UnboundID), me, brother Steve and father Bob.

Steve Shoaff, me, brother Steve and father Bob Bowen

Church friends, me, Mark Burnham (long time friend and Financial Consultant).

Jennifer/Bob Thiel and Mark Burnham

About 40 members of my Northwoods Community church came for a visit at my house on Thursday, October 1.  We sang, prayed and read scripture for over an hour.  Afterwords, each member introduced them self to me since several of them were new to the choir and to me.  Enjoy as much of this 10 min. video as you like.

My high school friend, John Distefano (Management Consultant from St. Louis) stopped by for a visit so we could recall some of the exciting events of our youthful days.

Today, the two families of my close friends and former business partners in Lighthouse Software, Mike Monohan and Todd Garber came to my house for one of their frequent visits.

Friends in Prayer

Friends in Prayer

Parents, Monohans and Garbers

Parents, Monohans and Garbers

It has been good to be with my family and friends.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Health Update 2009-09-30

September 30, 2009

I have employed another guest editor. My dad is writing this for me. Strength has been elusive today. I was interviewed by Dave Marks from my Northwoods Community Church this morning regarding the meaning and value of biblical scripture in my life…. I confessed before the camera that God’s word in the scriptures has sustained my life in the past and the present. HE is in charge. I know it, I thank HIM for it and praise HIM for all HIS love that I enjoy.

Dave Marks and Don

Dave Marks and Don

Last Monday the Dr. told me that my body was, at that time, unable to withstand further treatment. On Friday of this week, I will have laboratory work that will determine whether or not my body can handle treatment that day. The Doctor will decide, with my consent, if and when the next treatment will happen. His opinion was, on Monday that further treatment may be as harmful to my body as it may be beneficial. Stay tuned for the report after next Friday.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don Bowen Health Update 2009-09-23 In this update: Last week’s update, Current Health, 25th Anniversary, Megan’s Play

September 23, 2009

(from Wendy)  This blog was started after the last MRI and now includes the last treatment.

2009-09-14

Don) The MRI on Tuesday night went well.  It was not uncomfortable. It was pretty painless and quick. We got results on Friday.  We anticipated getting chemo on Friday but a lot of things changed.  The results of the MRI showed increased enhancement meaning potentially more tumor.  As a result it was decided we would once again change the course of treatment.  It was expected that this would begin immediately but insurance denied this request.  As a result, we will begin the new treatment this Friday using Avastin and. carboplatin   Carboplatin is new but I took the Avastin for a year.  Avastin is pretty harsh and has a number of strong side effects.  I would appreciated your prayers about the side effects that include mouth sores, fatigue, weakness, decreased white blood count, headaches, loss of appetite.  My biggest concerns are my mental state, lack of exercise and overall weakness.  By weakness I mean that when I sit for a while, which is all I seem to have energy for, and then get up I often can’t make it to my destination.  This is scary for me and for Eileen and the girls.  Going up and down stairs is the worst of course.  I wish I had a funny story to tell about these moments because I enjoy laughing at myself but it’s really not very funny.  Of course some people could make a joke or two about lying on the bathroom floor but if you ask Eileen she will tell you it’s not funny.

My parents came and spent the night last week while Eileen went to Indiana with Amy to move her in at Indiana Wesleyan.  She is transferring there after attending ICC last year.  Katy Garber also goes to IWU so Eileen and Amy traveled in caravan with the Garbers.  They moved the girls in and stayed for orientation activities.  Amy is already having a great time in college.  She participated in a cardboard regatta boat race.  Her group’s boat won and she stayed dry while all the others ended in the water.  Amy is studying media design which is no surprise as she has been creatively filming and editing video around the house for years.

Speaking of school, Megan has begun her senior year at Bradley on her way to becoming a dietician.  She is appearing later in September in Bradley’s musical, The Pajama Game.  This is especially fun for Eileen as the Pajama Game is her favorite musical and also Eileen’s mom’s favorite.  Megan plays Gladys and will be singing and dancing.  Can’t wait to see it.

Kelly is a Junior this year at Dunlap High.  She is singing in the Northwood’s choir now.  What a blessing to see her helping to lead worship and use her gifts for God.  Lauren is in eighth grade.  Christian Center soccer has just started and Lauren made the first goal of the year for her team.

One highlight of the weekend was Megan’s 22nd birthday.  She asked a few friends over and my parents came too.  My dad, her grandfather, was the dealer and the bank for a rousing game of Tripoly for coins (supplied by the bank).  Dad did this for us back when Eileen and I were dating 27 years ago.  Everybody had a good time and Liz and Joey seemed to be the big winners.  The Monahans came and Wendy brought a carrot cake for Megan because carrot cake is healthful.  (Wendy thinks that 2 Cups of carrots cancels out the 2 Cups of sugar.)

(Wendy)As usual we waited for the moment when Don would say his famous line, “I don’t really like cake but this cake is good.”  He always says this and has for years.  He’s not a “cake person” he’s a “pie person.”  However, after hearing this line every time we have cake I have decided that he is a “pie person who likes cake.”  The thing that makes it funny is that he always acts like it is the first time he’s ever said it.  As most of you know I am helping to facilitate the writing of the update.   The feedback must be positive since, as you all know, Don wouldn’t let me anywhere near the blog if it wasn’t.  We haven’t played any games lately so he’s not bitter about being beaten.

(Don)  I need a miracle, I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don

(Wendy) And now for today’s update 2009-09-23 In this update:  Health Update, 25th Anniversary, Megan’s play

(Don) On Thursday night we went to see Megan perform in The Pajama Game at Bradley University, in which she had a leading part.  We have been anticipating this for many months.  She did a fabulous job as Gladys which is a demanding role with singing and dancing.  The last performance is Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm.

On Tuesday we celebrated our 25th wedding Anniversary with a very spontaneous little party after Lauren’s soccer team won their game.  Lauren scored again.  Thanks to all who sent us well wishes in the mail, email and Facebook.  Of course we had Dairy Queen ice cream cake to celebrate.  The Monahans and Garbers were here along with Liz and Joey and Megan’s friend, Jake.  I’m sorry I could not invite everyone to share it with us.  You are all very special to us.  We really appreciate the part all of our friends and family have played in the past 25 years.  We also appreciate the yummy food you have been bringing. It sure makes Eileen’s day when she doesn’t have to cook.  Thanks to Michelle Gasper for the two nice meals this week.

I had a check-up with the doctor today because we have been concerned that my pain medicine is too strong but that was not the determination.  I will get another check-up on Monday to see if the trouble I have been having is part of the disease.  Still concerned about weakness, strength and mobility and confusion which we will continue to monitor.  For now the meds will remain the same.  Next check-up on Monday and treatment on Friday 10-4-09.

(Wendy)  Don has been experiencing a lot of confusion for the past week.  At first it was mostly at night but now he has trouble during the day also.  He tried to explain to me how he was feeling and I cannot imagine how terrible it is to not know where you are.  This coupled with fatigue has made for some pretty hard days for him and for Eileen and it is scary for the girls.  Please be in prayer about this, friends, and for Eileen as she continues to be wife, mom, household manager, caretaker, etc.

(Don)Things are hard these days but God is still in control.  He is good all the time.  I really want you to know that I am praising Him as He walks with me and with my family through this journey.

I need a miracle, I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don

Don Bowen Update 2009-07-03

July 3, 2009

In This Update: Macomb Heritage Days, First cycle of new treatment ends, rough week, First Platelet Transfusion,Funnies about having to be treated like I’m 70+

I wish I had immediately uploaded my pictures from Heritage Days in Macomb, but I didn’t and Kelly took the camera on her Chorus trip to Boston. I did have a good visit and felt pretty good most of the time. I got to see friends like Tony Setser and Dave Distefano who I had not seen for a very long time. There just wasn’t enough time to reminisce. Macomb was a great place to grow up. Just one more thing I’m indebted to my parents for having provided.

Last week was pretty tough, which I’m sure you figured out not seeing any updates. My head hurt pretty bad and the pain pills did little to help. I hope some of it was from the chemo pills I was taking on this new treatment. I finished the last IV for cycle 1 last Monday, but still had pills to take every day at lunch until Thursday. I did pretty well for the 14 days  of pills and only threw up once. Constipation is still a problem, but I’m succumbing to advertising and actually bought some Activia to see if  it can help. I’ll let you know.

I was looking forward to no more needles until the second cycle which starts next Friday. However, that was not to be. Thursday morning I had to get labs according to the treatment protocol. Later that day they called to tell me that I had very low platelets. So low they wanted me to have a platelet transfusion this morning. No wonder I’m not getting enough sleep. I have to get up early every day and get poked with needles. We got there around 9am, but because the blood they gave me, caused me to break out in hives, we didn’t get home until 2pm. Have you ever seen the movie Hitch where Will Smith breaks out in hives and sips an entire bottle of benedryl? It wasn’t near that bad, but my upper lip did swell quite a bit.

I wish I had little video snipets  of Eileen caring for me. It reminds me of the apes manicuring each other. She’s always straightening my shirts or tucking something in or picking something off of me. I haven’t seen her put anything into her mouth so maybe that means I’m not slobbering too bad yet :-) It is amazing what I’ll run into if someone doesn’t guide me or hold my hand. I’m pathetic. One of the side benefits of today’s hospital visit was getting to see my nurse Jerrie from OSF 1700. It was no surprise to learn how legendary her reputation is and how much she is loved. I’m so thankful God made people that want to be nurses and give themselves like that. Can you imagine having to stick your own arms?! :-) I can’t.

My dad and brother are coming over to spend a few days with me next week and it will hopefully be quality Father and Sons time. My Mom will join us for part of it.

I have been reflecting a lot this past week on selfishness and how selfishly I have lived my life, by far my biggest mistakes. This is pretty surprising for someone blessed with parents like I was. Unfortunately selfishness produces worse vision than even brain tumors :-) It was a comment from one of my daughters that restored some of my “vision”, but it’s not really the way you want to understand. She wasn’t even saying it to point out my selfishness, but God wastes nothing.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

(John 10:10) I never mean these to be sermons though it is how I hear them from God :-) so I’ll stop there, but if you want “the rest of the story”, feel free to call or send me an email.

I’m still expecting and praying for a miracle, God’s gonna deliver it, PRAY BIG!

Don Bowen Update: 2009-06-20

June 20, 2009

In this update: Aho’s Visit, Power outage, New treatment starts, Ambien story, Megan update, Liz visits.

Our good friends Brian and Debbie Aho stopped by for lunch at Avanti’s last Wednesday.

They are the reason Eileen and I moved to Peoria back in 1984. They are experts at dealing with tough issues and really ministered to us even though the visit was short. It was fun to be reminded about how wise and caring they are. There was lots of passion, emotion and many tears shared. Of course Brian asked for a few hair tips. Kidding!!

Thursday night we had an amazing storm and lost power for over 14 hours. I’m thinking seriously of getting a battery backup for the sump pump. Fortunately Garbers invited us over for dinner and to stay cool.

Supposedly Thursday night I was under the influence of Ambien and told Kelly I would be happy to see a movie with her, but didn’t want to be in it. She says she kept trying to convince me the movie was already finished and they didn’t need me to be in it. I think her mom put her up to it.

On Friday on the way to my first new treatment I handed Eileen a bottle of anti-nausea pills in case I needed them. She looked at the bottle and said, “Zofran, What am I supposed to do with this?” I said, “did you just say, “Girlfriend, what am I supposed to do with this?” Even Kelly thought she said that. I don’t know what it would mean, but when your wife starts calling you “girlfriend” I think you’re in trouble. Do your kids call you dude yet? Even I say Dude all the time. See, I am sick.

We had Connie take care of us for the IV and though I assured her it wasn’t her fault I was in real pain. If they are all that painful I’m in real trouble.

Connie, you did fine and we’ll try again, unfortunately, on Monday.I’ve been praying for your condo water issues.

It only took about a couple hours and that was with labs. I have to take 4 chemo pills right before they inject the Velcade and then I have to take another 4 every day at lunch for 14 days. All this fun repeats every 21 days.

It didn’t make me too sick and I still have a bit of an appetite. I’m even planning to sing at second service tomorrow, which is a great Father’s Day present to me.

Friday night Liz came by with her brother Jason, his wife Sarah and their cute little girl Allison, which was fun.

I edged the yard today for probably the last time. It’s just too dangerous. I almost tripped over the stairs in the front that I didn’t see. I could just imagine me falling head first into the blades. I also ran into the dead end sign on our property. I hoped Eileen didn’t see, but I guess she’ll know now. Time for me to trade money for youth and energy :-)

Megan is doing better in San Diego, but if you would continue to pray that she can sleep every night we would all appreciate it.

Happy Father’s Day to our dads and all of you who are dads. God bless you

I’m expecting a miracle, God’s gonna deliver it, Pray Big!


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