Don Bowen Update: 2008-01-24

Lots to update you on: Treatment, Packers, Vision, Head/Hair, Sleep, Diet, You. I’ll try to keep it short, but it’s not easy (when you wait this long).

Treatment

Not a lot has happened since my torture tests last Thursday. I asked you to pray that they would not find anything on the MRI. I got word today that they did find something, but believe it is swelling due to surgery. I asked you to pray my oncology visit would be earlier than tomorrow, but God knew better so tomorrow at 3pm it is. My friend Mike is loaded and ready. We haven’t heard from Dr. Berger at UCSF yet,. Dr. McGee said the CT scan and MRI images should be fused and ready by Friday, so I asked him today if we could start my radiation on Monday. It’s been 3 weeks since surgery and I’m ready to get started with this fight. I told the girls last night that it could make my hair fall out. Then I added it wouldn’t affect my beard, mustache or eyebrows. Almost in unison they said, “So, basically no difference” 🙂 I was hurt. My hair is well over a quarter inch long now. Truth be told that is the one side effect that might be ok, it will save me cutting and shaving it.

Packers

God is amazing. How else do you explain the fact that Bear fans were actually praying the Packers would win?! I was too, though I kept telling God that I was well aware it was totally unimportant. I actually think He answered, but true to His character He allows us to have a will. The Packers looked like they wanted to lose and they did. I know many of you were pulling for them just for me. Thanks. For maybe the first time ever I was over a loss, a big one at that, in a minute. Amazing what life threatening cancer can do. 🙂 God is going to heal me so I can see them win it all next year. I would probably even try to attend.

Yesterday I sent a text to my friend and old boss John. “I need some help. Call if you can”. Only moments later came the response, “I cannot get the Packers into the Super Bowl”. See, I picked up funny from my friends 🙂

Vision

As you may have read, my surgeon said my vision would get worse after surgery and though we didn’t think it had at first, it turns out he was right. It was my eyesight which was the real trigger for me that something wasn’t right. Things would pass out of my left peripheral vision and I would say, “Where did that car come from?” I couldn’t see to find the left edge of the TV, monitor, page or even price tag. I kept seeing these incredible deals 🙂

There is no (big) issue with my eyes. The problem is all in my brain. The eyes take in images and the left side images go to the right side of the vision processing center, which is where my tumor was located and removed. That’s why I can’t just close my left eye, though it has poorer vision, and see better. It impacts both eyes.

If I focus on the bridge of your nose I will see your left eye clearly, but where your right eye is I see a light image of some kind, like CRT burn-in. I had Eileen stand just in front of my left shoulder as I looked straight in the mirror at my own nose. I could tell someone was there, but not who. When she moved to my right shoulder, “Oh, hi honey!” 🙂

One big thing that has changed is that my brain is becoming more accustomed to this new state of vision. As a result it doesn’t tire me as it did initially. God is good. I do much better in low light than in bright light. The two basketball games I attended were tough.

Head/Hair

My head is healing pretty fast as you can see below (click it it for a bigger pic). It looks much better, though I could really use a haircut. The pain was pretty constant since last Thursday, with a few exceptions, until today. It was not bad this morning, but got worse this afternoon. Probably because I’m working and talking a lot.

It’s weird to touch my head on the right side because it’s numb from surgery and feels like someone else’s head. I can also feel the heads of the screws they put in to hold my head on. Kidding!

17 Days Later

Sleep

I actually think the strong headache I had all yesterday was from lack of sleep. I use ambien frequently since coming home and amazingly it has not worked as in the past when I traveled. Night before last I only got 4 hours, but last night I got pretty close to 8 and only had to get up twice. I think a big part of my problem is finding a comfortable position for my head because just the pressure on the pillow causes some pain. I expect this will get better each day as I heal.

Diet

I’m preparing for war. I heard cancer feeds on sugar so I’m cutting that out. I told Megan last night I want to do anything I can to make sure I’m around for them. Giving up sweets is a small price to pay. I’m also drinking lots of water (for me). I hope my body adjusts to it soon, otherwise my new chair is going to have an oval seat and a flush handle 😉

You
All of you have been truly incredible. I am continually amazed by the number of people that are praying for me – all over the world. The meals people have brought have been fabulous. The cards and other gifts have brought us to tears way too many times. I wish I could explain how humbling it is to be served and loved like this. It’s hard, but it’s also wonderful. I could never thank you enough, but I am preparing to pass on every single act of kindness and generosity when I’m better. Not in an attempt to repay, but rather to magnify the blessing to others.

If you’ve wanted to visit, call or email and have held off, the coast is clear. I’d love to hear from you. People energize me, which is why you are all so important. If you don’t know what to say, please! Just tell me what you’re up to or let me handle it 🙂 You are NOT intruding. You want to know and I want you to know. How else can you pray effectively?

God has truly been my “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”Psalm 46:1, but he has also used all of you to encourage me and hold me up. Please stick with me. I’m about to start a 6 month war next week.

Top Prayer Items

  • Complete healing – all cancer cells killed completely everywhere
  • Restored vision
  • Complete night’s sleep each night
  • Elimination of all pain
  • No side effects during treatment
  • Strength for Eileen and the girls – not strong, but strong in the Lord
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