Don Bowen Update: 2008-02-04

Had a really good day today. Got up at 4:10 and ate my sandwich and woke before the alarm at 6am to take the anti-nausea pill, sparing Eileen. That would be a perfect schedule for the whole week. Pain was minimal, but I’m telling you my long hair is making the mask more cramped. Eileen and Mike laughed when I told them, but it is time for the clippers.

I was done with treatment by 9am! And that included the weekly X-rays and me getting pictures of the plates they use to control where the radiation beams hit. Here’s what a plate looks like:

There are five of these plates for my treatment. I tried to count the amount of radiation time for each plate today. It is only seconds per plate and I thought I counted 10, 7, 6, 3.5, 6 for a total of about 32.5 seconds. Doesn’t seem like much to me, but it is very intense. Here is “head” where the plates are placed (sorry it’s so blurry):

This “head” is what comes over the top of me after they put the plate in. When they ended today and took my mask off I looked up and saw the last plate:

Pretty cool. The staff there have to be wondering what I’m going to want to take a picture of next. One of the techs said, “Are you telling a story about how this works?” How? Are you kidding. I’m just trying to show what it looks like! šŸ™‚ Also, is anyone else worried about the fingerprints on that thing?! I’m taking Windex with me tomorrow šŸ™‚
Had my first bloodwork done today to see how my body is reacting to the radiation and chemo. First step was take the blood. I’ll never be good at doing this – never.

She said she’d been doing this for 15 years. I said, “Well, then you’re an expert” “No, but I’m pretty good”. Couldn’t she have just played along? It actually was pretty painless and I told her she needed to draw my blood all the time. I went in at 1pm so that by 1:45 when I met with Dr. Geoffroy the blood processing would be done. She said, “It takes about 30 minutes, if the machine works.” Huh!? šŸ™‚

The meeting with Dr. Geoffroy went well. He told us (me, Eileen and Mike) that my white cells, hemaglobin (red cells) and platelets were all normal. I was praying for something amazing, but I don’t know what I expected, “unbelievably normal”? šŸ™‚ I don’t do gray, remember? Normal seems gray to me. Normal is, according to the Dr. expected after only one week. Inside my head I was thinking, “Oh, yeah, well wait until it’s still normal after the whole thing!” Hey, they didn’t cut out my competitive brain cells! šŸ™‚

We also talked about steps after the radiation treatment in 5 weeks. Once again I learn something that I would have thought someone would have mentioned. Mike and I were both thinking we would need to be ready with MRI info, etc. to determine whether participation in the Duke vaccine program would be appropriate so we could start right away. But PRAISE GOD! There is a 3-4 week “recovery” period after radiation! Excellent. It isn’t clear exactly when the MRI will be done, but it could be during that period. I’m wanting to go to Duke if that is a possibility. Funny thing is that UCSF called me tonight and wanted to register me. I asked what they were registering me for, thinking it was too early to make a decision on a clinical trial – how naive. They just wanted to put my info into their system for processing. She asked for my social security number. Hey, I’m in the identity business. I said, “Rita, how do I know you are with UCSF?” She said, “Well, I’m calling from there now. ” “But how can I confirm that?” “Well, you can call back at this number and don’t take any options.” Sure enough. After listening to WAY too many options for everything except cafeteria take-out, the phone rang and Rita answered.

I’m registered at UCSF.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

I need a miracle, God specializes in them, pray BIG!


One Response to “Don Bowen Update: 2008-02-04”

  1. justin Says:

    I have a suggestion for the hair problem: shave the sides and just leave the back for some padding, which you could then braid into a pony tail. It would be trendy and your daughters would no doubt, find you very “hip”.

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