Don Bowen Update: 2008-01-28

One down, 29 to go! When I said it would be a battle I’m guessing many of you, definitely those who have walked this path before, knew what that meant better than I did. Today was a wake up call, but I am not discouraged. 30 minutes ago I didn’t think I’d get to write this until tomorrow, if then. God is good.

My radiation appointment was for 2:45pm and so I took my chemo pill at 1:45. Unfortunately I hadn’t eaten anything since around 8:30. I won’t make that mistake tomorrow. By the time I was at the office for radiation I was plenty hungry. However, as a former wrestler who did all kinds of stupid things to drop from 130+ to 105 I’m pretty used to that strong feel of hunger. Monday’s may not always be this way, but they were really late. I didn’t get called in until about 3:40. Now I was really hungry.

I was about to ask if I could have a cushion under the back of my head to avoid the pain I’d experienced before, but quickly saw that the machine was going to be zapping me from underneath too. Bummer šŸ™‚ Pain will have to be my friend.

I hopped up on the table and a few seconds later they attached my mask as you can see below (click here to see others).

If it looks like just a nice snooze, think again. My head hurt immediately because once again it was right on the cut where they opened up my head. I actually thought for a second, “Too bad I don’t have longer, thicker hair” šŸ™‚ The pain was only part of the problem. That mesh looks pretty big from here, but from underneath it feels tiny and your face/head is pulled down very tight. You can’t really open your eyes much and definitely can’t open your mouth. This makes swallowing difficult, but it’s made even harder because the part around the neck is very tight on my throat. I don’t have a bad case of claustrophobia, but enough. You guys must have been praying, otherwise I don’t think I would have made it. I think humming songs out loud also helped. Chinese water torture doesn’t have anything on this šŸ™‚ Fortunately this first time was a bit longer and the next 29 should be slightly shorter.

I got pretty hot during the procedure. Someone had told me to envision being in the cold. But I must not be good at envisioning. It didn’t help. šŸ™‚

When I got done we talked briefly with Dr. McGee. I mentioned that his nurses told me he speaks Zulu and French. He said, “They must have forgotten about my German” and had a big smile on his face, which was nice to see. He is clearly brilliant and thank God he likes Peoria. He prescribed more decadron, which is a steroid that reduces brain swelling. I guess radiation can cause swelling that produces headaches and that should help.

Here is a picture of what I’m taking

By the time I got home I was either super hungry or nauseous. I chose to believe the former and drank a protein shake and ate part of a pear. When I started feeling worse I decided to see if the anti-nausea ativan would help. I also asked Kelly to bring me saltine crackers, but I was too late and ran for the bathroom seconds later. That’s just not something you ever get used to, is it? šŸ™‚ Three heaves later and my stomach was back to square one. For a few minutes I felt better, but after eating a bit of chicken casserole it started to come back. I thought, “I’m pregnant!” šŸ™‚ Actually I’m sure that is much worse, so excuse the poor attempt at humor. What I really thought was, “This is not going to be an easy 6 months”. Praise God the second antivan kicked in by about 8pm and right now I’m not feeling too bad. So Eileen is pushing food. Ah, love šŸ™‚

So, I think tomorrow I’ll take the ativan for nausea around 1pm, the chemo at 1:45 and maybe even have of a tramidol for pain around 2:15. I’ll let you know if I get better results.Ā  We move to 8:45 on Friday instead of 2:45. I think that will make the fasting part a bit easier, but we’ll see.

I asked one of the nurses if I would be able to light lightbulbs with my hands. She said, “No, but you can replace all your 75 watt bulbs with 60’s now” Does no one tell these people that cancer patients are the comedians, not the help? Sheesh šŸ™‚Ā  I asked Eileen if my kisses were more electrifying and she said, “Same”. Even my own family! I would have been good with a lie šŸ™‚

Parts of this journey are lonely. All of you have been fantastic – and don’t stop. But it is the nature of the beast. Thank goodness God is there with me every step of the way. I’m learning to feel his presence and can’t imagine how anyone could do this without Him.

I’m going in for “soaking” prayer again on Thursday night, hopefully at 6pm. When I went last week I had Amy take me. When I told her it was people praying for me at church for 50 minutes, she said, “Dad, 50 minutes? Now that is a ridiculously long time, don’t you think?”. I told her it would go by in the blink of an eye. She asked if she could go again the next week šŸ™‚

Depending on how I feel I may actually have an opportunity to be on stage singing at all services this weekend. Would that be amazing?

Continue to pray. Complete healing and a cancer free body is #1, but removal of side effects is definitely #2 now.

Love you all!

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