Don Bowen Update: 2008-03-01

I just finished my fifth week of radiation and chemo! Only one week to go! More importantly only one week to go for decadron, the steroid that I think is producing most of my side effects – head pain, poor sleep and serious constipation. Yes, I’m trying everything on that last one.

Let me recap the past few days and then tell you about today


I started my (last) seven days of “boost” radiation on Thursday, which focuses directly where the tumor was located. The first 23 days hit the tumor and the area around it where the tentacles of this cancer may have moved to hide. Ir was the second day in a row where I had real pain just resting my head on the table. It’s that same point on the back of my head.

I have a ridge there now and I told Eileen that I think it is a defect in workmanship :-). She asked me if I wanted to go back and have them fix it, which I don’t think is near as funny, do you? I cut my hair Thursday morning and I swear the difference in space under that mask was noticeable!

At soaking prayer Thursday night I got to pray for an incredible five year-old, Danielle, with a sever restrictive eating disorder, and her mom, Rebecca. What an incredible little girl. Reads like a fifth grader, has amazing energy and man does she love Jesus. She prayed for me and my tears just flowed.

” I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15


No pain during radiation, which was great. I was really happy to be done with five weeks and felt great.

My best friend from high school and best man in my wedding, Kent, visited me in the morning. He is the one that shared Christ with me in college and I couldn’t be more thankful. I wanted to get a picture and post it of course, but he turned me down. First time. Does he not understand this is about me? 🙂

I got to meet with some old Caterpillar co-workers in the afternoon and we had a great time catching up. When I was leaving I remembered I wanted to get a picture. Unfortunately I was in the lobby and the guard at the desk immediately informed us that not only were pictures not allowed, but I shouldn’t have even brought the camera into the building 🙂 Strike two on the pictures for the blog. I almost felt like I’d brought a gun into the place. Fortunately I’m meeting with an even larger group at Cat next week and my friend, Rowland is going to get an official photographer 🙂

Friday night we got to be subs at a bunco party with lots of good friends. My eye was really bugging me and seeing the three dice was often a problem. The goal is to roll sixes. Games are to 21 and very short. You get a point for one, five for two and an immediate win for three, also called a bunco. You play 40 games as a couple. We ended with a mediocre 38-42, but did have two buncos to make the five-way roll-off.

Five-way roll-off

Brian, at the head of the table, smoked us, but then he was the only one who rolled both of the buncos for his team. Hey, I always have to justify losing. I’m not sure why I didn’t let Eileen roll. During one stretch I rolled five sixes in seven games, which is pathetic! Thanks for the pic, Hays!


I actually think I got close to six hours of sleep. Felt pretty good when I got up and had a great time praying while walking my four miles. I had been thinking about making a quick video for YouTube and asked Megan to help me shoot it.

(Here is the link for those who get this via email)

Right after I shot the video and posted it I started feeling as bad as I’ve felt since this began. My head was hurting, right eye really impacted and I felt very weak, like when you get a sugar low, and I was forced me to lay down. I felt a bit better after a shower later, but was forced to lay down again later in the afternoon. Could be a number of things. The “boost”, I’m pushing it too hard or all the junk food I ate last night is attacking me 🙂

Mike and Joe came over and we played cribbage, which was fun, but I couldn’t even move my own peg my eyesight was so bad. We got to use a fancy cribbage board I had bought Mike and Wendy 10+ years ago. The pegs and cards go in the right side, which closes. See, fancy 😉 Oh, and I won only one out of five and that wasn’t a real win because we didn’t really finish.

Fancy Cribbage Board

Mike and I also talked to my friend, Sherry’s cousin, Colleen, who has the same cancer. She’s been getting treated at Duke and had lots of very helpful information for us. I have to confess, I actually felt physically ill hearing what may be coming next, but I’m ok now. I’ll share more details later, but we’ve basically determined I’ll either go to UCSF or Duke. Pray for this decision. My insurance covers UCSF as in-network, but Duke is out-of-network. When I heard one of the drugs by itself could be $30K/month, I was shocked. Fortunately God is still in heaven and nothing shocks Him! I’m confident he’ll take care of all the details and in ways I can’t imagine.

Megan was home this for a good part of the day and it was good to get to sit and talk with her for a while. I’m really enjoying the adult interaction with my kids as they get older.

I was going to sing at church tonight, but came to my senses around 2pm and told them I’d have to pass today. I could just see myself collapse on stage and freak people out. OK, I was really more worried about my wounded pride 🙂 It was hard for me to back down, but I was compelled. I’m hoping to still sing tomorrow morning, but I’m not going to push it if I don’t feel better.

I knew there would be tough days and today was right up there. I’m sure it isn’t the worst I’ll have and I’m very mindful that so may of those I’m praying for would love to have days this good.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

One of the people I’ve been praying for is a 12 year-old boy whose tumors were doubling daily. The last update said the tumors have now been shrunk by almost 90%! God is answering this boy’s prayer army and answering BIG! One of the verses his dad shared is just perfect.

“All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.” Isaiah 41:11-12

As he said, the context is different, but it definitely captures the heart of God toward His people’s enemies and cancer is my enemy.

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


One Response to “Don Bowen Update: 2008-03-01”

  1. Joe Says:

    Wow, That’s a lot going on in one person’s life. I found your blog because of the cribbage reference, but good luck and best reagrds to you.


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