Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

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!


Don Bowen Update: 2009-06-15

June 15, 2009

In this update: Latest Dr. visit, Treatment plan in place, Wendy wins? Megan heads to CA

I meant to write over the weekend because so much has happened. When we came back from vacation we still hadn’t figured out what to do next for treatment. I wrote that my arms wouldn’t let me do the other clinical trial, but after more thoroughly reviewing my options and talking to Mike it made the most sense to go with what seemed the least attractive because as Mike said, “Now is the time to be aggressive”. For those of you that want more details here is the link to the clinical trial

I personally don’t like reading anything about this illness on the internet so I have Mike and other friends read it for me. I’m not sure how people without someone like Mike actually make it. When you have to make really hard decisions, I mean decisions that deal with life or death – yours, you need lots of wisdom and someone who cares as much as you do about the end result. Mike qualifies big time. My only regret is having to drag him through this. I will be having IVs twice a week, on Friday and Monday, two weeks in a row and then have a week off. We’ll continue to do this as long as it appears to be working.
Want to see what I do while waiting for the doctor to see me?

Hey, I want to get my money’s worth and those are some cool toys 🙂

Here is me signing my life away to get into the clinical trial,explained by Jordan.

You should see how bad my handwriting is, especially since I’m left-handed and can’t see on the left.

After signing up I was off to Saint Francis to have an EKG, Chest X-Ray and a more current MRI. When Melissa finished doing my EKG she said she was going to fax it “across the street” and then call them to make sure they got it.I was really impressed since far too many times simple “across the street communication had not happened and become a real issue. Thanks, Melissa!

I haven’t heard the results from the MRI yet, but I hope to by sometime tomorrow. Pray the head aches I’ve been having are not an indication of any increased growth.

Friday night Liz invited Pam, one of her fellow interns at OSF to some over and they taught her how to play 8-card golf .

Wendy and I played a game of cribbage first and amazingly she won. No, I’m not kidding, she really did. OK, don’t believe me. Later I heard Eileen saying it would never make the blog and I heard Wendy shout, “It better be in the blog!” I couldn’t resist yelling back, “Did we play cribbage tonight?” and Wendy said, “What?!” Mike laughed with me and said, “She makes it so easy, doesn’t she?” 🙂 Yes, she does. I at least got to warn Pam about her.

Saturday morning we took Megan to the airport. She’ll be a counselor at a camp in La Jolla CA until August. She did the same thing last year and we missed her then too.

On Sunday my head was hurting pretty good so I just napped and listened to the last round of the St. Jude Classic. I kept hearing what sounded like a woodpecker and thought I was losing it, but a short while later I finally spotted it above the front door and grabbed this picture. No idea why it kept pecking at the window. Can you see it there on the left?

I’ve been listening to podcasts on marriage by Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel, which I’d highly recommend, but tonight I went back to Psalms. It’s no wonder God called David a man after His own heart.

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!

2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!

3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.

4 All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing praise to your name.”

5 Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works in man’s behalf!

(Psalm 66: 1-5)

Don Bowen Update: 2009-06-10

June 10, 2009

In this update: Treatment plans STILL unknown, Dad visits, Boddy graduation party, vacation photos, vision humor

Sorry it has been so long since my last update. No excuses, especially since I really need your prayers. After I came back from Duke we thought we knew the treatment plan. I went to see my local oncologist and he said he wanted to speak with me about something he thought would be better. He couldn’t get me in for a week. When we finally met he suggested a clinical trial out of Mayo using two drugs that you couldn’t pronounce, even if I could spell them. I asked Duke to weigh in with their opinion and got a call last Friday night from Dr. Reardon saying he thought that was a reasonable way to go. I had already filled out the 14 page “entry” form so it seemed we were set. We left the next day for a graduation party at my brother-in-laws and short vacation to the Wisconsin Dells. Monday I got a call from Dr. Geoffroy’s office telling me that the trial had been closed because of a recent abstract saying the results had not been favorable. They wanted to know if I still wanted to participate. After talking to Mike, who read the abstract, we decided not to. As Mike said, it is positive to have this information beforehand, but what should we do now? Well, I’m still waiting for input from Duke. If I had to guess I’d say we will probably do the Avastin / VP-16 initially recommended by Duke, but I asked them if they had any magic bullets 🙂 Hey, if you don’t ask, you don’t get, right? One of the other choices was another trial which requires IVs twice a week for two weeks in a row followed by one week off, but pills every day. Unless Duke pushes me that direction my arms just won’t let me go there.

My biggest concern is that I’ve now gone 5 weeks without any kind of treatment. That isn’t good and I can tell. I’m hoping we start doing something this Friday when I meet again with Dr. Geoffroy. Pray something happens soon.

My dad visited me last week and helped me work on some financial plans. We ate some incredible Baked Ziti from our friend Sandy Cross and also got to play a bit of cribbage.

We couldn’t remember a few rules about scoring so I called Wendy. She said, “So I hear you need my help.” See how she is?

Saturday we attended a graduation party for our niece Kayla and nephew Nick. It was also their dad Mike’s birthday (Eileen’s brother.

Sunday we headed to the Wisconsin Dells for a short vacation. Little did we know how short it would be since we must have picked up the flu at the party. Lauren got sick right away and though she felt a bit better yesterday we still decided to head home. Good thing. She was more sick when we got home, Kelly was throwing up all night and now Megan is sick. Pray the rest of us stay healthy and they recover quickly. I just came back from getting a bite to eat and Amy said, “I need to get out of here. This place is infested.” Then she said, “The germs are probably just circulating. That’s not good” 🙂 Such positive thoughts 🙂

There were three indoor and three outdoor water parks, which were all very impressive.The first night we ate at this Moose restaurant and got cool hats.

My vision has gotten even worse so that I have to have someone guide me wherever I walk. After we ate Eileen and the girls walked away. I wanted to follow, but was like a deer in headlights. Eileen looked back at me and I could hear her say, “Girls. You can’t just leave your dad like that!” 🙂 Reminded me of when we forgot to watch my little sister Julie at Lake Michigan and the tide swept her out. I think my mom said something similar to me and Sue. Now I’m that little kid. “Can you walk faster?” “Please try to keep up”. All you older siblings – give ear 🙂

That night we played Indian Poker for Pretzels, but people kept eating their chips 🙂

Just climbing the stairs to those rides showed how out of shape I am.

We all enjoyed the last day because the Sun came out. I’m not sure how many people got sick from the glare off my extremely white body, but getting a few rays felt good.

It has been a difficult couple of weeks, but I remain confident in God and His goodness. I know to many that may sound strange or even foolish, but as I told my friend Tamara today, the scales don’t lie and the good side is EXTREMELY weighted down. I was listening to a podcast on the way to Wisconsin the other day and struck by this passage in Isaiah 60, which I’m taking as a promise from the Lord:

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.

2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.

3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the arm.

5 Then you will look and be radiant, (and I’m pretty sure tan too! 🙂
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come.

(Isaiah 60:1-5)

I am expecting a miracle, God’s gonna deliver it, pray BIG!

Don Bowen Update: 2009-05-31

May 31, 2009

In this update: Duke Trip details, vision update and stories, Treatment plan?, Joe’s graduation party, American Hero, Rachel Chaney Wedding

I should have written about our trip to Duke, but was just being lazy. Other than the bad news we had a great time. I love to spend time with my girl.

Eileen and I got to Raleigh early on Sunday morning. My friend Ken O’Berry picked us up at TDU, we picked up his fiance Jean and headed to an art museum for a great brunch. After we ate, Ken and Jean took us back to our friend’s Rob and Kim Singleton, where we were staying.

We had talked about entertainment rooms and I had described Singleton’s 100″ HD TV screen and Jean really wanted to see it.It really is quite impressive. Especially when you see Planet Earth from the Discovery Channel. Of course seeing the Packers on it would be the ultimate viewing experience.

I’m still waiting to hear from Rob if his neighbors thought they were selling their house. It had to look weird when they saw two strange couples, one looking like they were showing the house to the other. We just laid around Singleton’s house for the rest of the weekend. Here we are watching other Planet Earth episodes on the big screen.

On Sunday we ate dinner at one of our favorite places – Outback, but we always split a meal. I’m sure the servers love us. “Here come the cheapskates.” 🙂 . On Monday we decided to eat dinner at The Melting Pot where they serve separate fondue courses. It’s something Eileen had wanted to do for a while so we splurged. At first you think you’re going to leave hungry, but that could’nt be farther from the truth.

Here we are getting ready to start the most important course – milk hocolate fondue. That little tray has strawberries, bananas, brownies, cheesecake, pound cake, rice krispie treats and marshmallows. The chocolate was so good I didn’t want to leave any behind.

Tuesday morning I had my MRI and Petscan. I panicked when they said they wanted to give me an IV for the contrast, but was very happy when she said it would be a small needle and the same IV could be used for the Petscan. It was my very first Petscan, which is where they inject you with radioactive sugar to see where the cancer is located. They had to test my blood sugar level, by pricking my finger. I hate that too and tried to talk her into using the IV, but she couldn’t. I then asked her how low it has to be to do the Petscan. I was pretty sure I still had chocolate fondue flowing in my veins and thought I was in trouble. Fortunately it was only 110. After they inject you with the sugar they want you to take a 45 minute nap. Once she put the warmed up blanket on me I asked if we could make it a couple hours :-).

It took us forever to see my Duke doctor. Far longer than ever before. When he finally came in and told us that it wasn’t good news it really was a shock to both of us. How does it change this quickly? I don’t know, but it did. I asked him if he was worried by what they saw and he said they were concerned and we should change what we were doing because it looked like the current protocol was not working as well as it had. Dr. Reardon said they had a couple clinical trials we could participate in, but when we learned both would require us to start treatment at Duke and travel back to Duke once a month for the first few months we elected to do one of the regimes on our own. The plan was to do Avastin (IV) every other week and take something called VP-16 21 days out of every 28. I can’t speak for Eileen, but I was only half there for the discussion. It’s weird. Surreal. We hugged. We cried a bit. We had a short pity party – very short. Our heavenly Father still sits on the throne and He is not surprised. God is good – period. I think the hardest part for both of us is that we thought we were going to get a break from treatment and the limitations of a treatment schedule. You know, they say God doesn’t send something your way that you can’t handle. Can I just say I think God is very optimistic! and doesn’t understand how wimpy I am!:-)

As if we hadn’t had enough dessert for an entire week, Rob and Kim made their incredible homemade ice cream Tuesday night and we ate A LOT! It was nice to be with “family” and be distracted.

Thursday we went in for labs expecting to start the new regime. However, we soon found out that Dr. Geoffroy wanted me to consider a different clinical trial and needed to talk with me about it first. So we don’t know what we’re doing and won’t find out until Wednesday morning. I trust God, but I confess this is hard for me. When you feel like you have a time bomb ticking in your head you want to treat it as quickly as possible. The fact that my headaches are now worse and pretty constant makes it tougher.

My vision seems like it is a bit worse, but it’s definitely not better. Eileen is a great seeing eye wife and she is getting good at remembering not to walk close to objects so that she runs me right into them.(No, Wendy, you may NOT fill in for her!)

I forgot to mention some of the stranger vision problems I’ve had in the past. It’s only occurred a few times, but once I thought everyone had put on wigs and facial hair until I went to ask Eileen what was going on and was startled to see she had hair everywhere too. That same night everyone I looked at appeared to have a big pasted smile on their face. I looked at Eileen and asked her if she was doing it and she said no, so I realized my brain was really playing tricks on me. It has only happened twice since then, but when it does it’s bizarre. Next time I need to look in a mirror to see what my face looks like.

Friday we went to Monahan’s for Joe’s graduation party. I almost tripped and fell on Kelly’s purse and lots of shoes at the door. I’m still investigating whether Wendy had anything to do with it 🙂 Check out this sweet quilt Wendy’s mom Carol made for Joe.(sideways)

On Saturday we got to attend the wedding of our friends John and Susie Chaney’s youngest, Rachel. It was a beautiful wedding. I got overwhelmed emotionally watching John dance with Rachel.

I desperately want to dance with each of my daughters at their weddings. Eileen kept saying, “We are going to need a much bigger dance floor.” Yes, our girls are dancers and can seriously “bust a move”.

I got to grab this picture with their oldest son Matthew, who was just awarded the Silver Star for his actions on September 10, 2007. He is a real American hero and I’m quite proud just to know him. When I read the military write-up it blew me away. He lives with pain every day that would keep me in bed. God bless you, Matt.

I have been reading in Joshua lately and got encouragement from a couple different friends who are reading there as well.This verse in particular both encourages and challenges me.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

(Joshua 1:9).

I’m expecting a miracle, God’s gonna deliver it, pray BIG!

Don Bowen Update: 2009-05-27

May 27, 2009

In this update: Duke results

I apologize for not sending this out last night, but I wasn’t up for it.

Unfortunately we did not get the results from Duke we had hoped for. The MRI and Petscan showed what they believe is new tumor growth and it is in the same place as before. This was hard news to hear. We had hoped to be done with treatment and now we will need to continue.

Dr. Reardon said we could participate in a couple clinical trials for different drugs, but it would require us to return to Duke for the first treatment and every month for the first few months. Treatment is more important than our personal schedule or cost, but that just wouldn’t work for us. As a result we will start a new regimen of Avastin every two weeks (intravenously) and VP-16 daily for 21 days out of every 28. I hope to start this on Friday provided my labs on Thursday look good enough.

As I’ve said many times before. God is good when things are good and he is STILL good even when things look bad. His ways and thoughts are so far above ours that it is hard to understand. But we totally trust Him and continue to ask Him for complete healing. Continue to ask Him with us and we will see Him make our joy full (John 16:24).

Specific prayer requests:

– Complete healing

– Restored vision

– No headaches (these have increased, but at least I know why)

– No fear and total peace

I will write more later, but I need to grab a quick shower and catch a plane back to Peoria.

I’m expecting a miracle, God’s gonna deliver it, pray BIG!

Don Bowen Update: 2009-05-22

May 22, 2009

In this update: No treatment, forearm pain, Duke here we come, very small world, vision humor, Eileen’s green thumb

I had labs on Wednesday to get approval for my last treatment, which was supposed to be today. Unfortunately the white blood cells and platelets were really low. So my doctor said I could do it again Thursday, but wasn’t hopeful. I know all of you were praying it would happen, but sometimes God just knows better. I am still really hurting from treatment two weeks ago. So this is best. We’ll try again next Thursday so pray for that.

My arms are really hurting just washing them in the shower is quite painful. No wonder I hate needles. I could describe them to you, but “a picture paints a thousand words” right?

The great news was Duke still wanted us to come out for my PET scan and MRI. They will somehow fuse them together and see if there is any cancer we need to worry about and what will this next phase look like. I’m scared to take a break from chemo, but man could I use it. Unfortunately they are going to poke me at Duke so I need to suck it up 🙂 We’re looking forward to seeing our friend Ken O’Berry and meeting his fiance and staying again with Rob and Kim Singleton. 90 degrees here we come!

Wednesday night Mike and Wendy came by and we played euchre for the first time in a while. To prove that I can turn the other cheek after Wendy tried to kill me with the metal beam at her church, we let her win. I think it took an hour for one game and we may or may not have tried to throw it just so we could be done.

We went to see their son Joe, play baseball tonight and she made fun of me for admitting to a former pro player that I became scared of baseball after I was hit in the eye with a whiffle ball from about 4 feet away and blind for three days. She was quite abusive, but I will continue to be the bigger person (and winner).

Listen to this small world story. Yesterday Amy and her boyfriend Josh went to St. Louis to see the Cubs and Cardinals. I decided to call my friend Phil Bradley who is the Assistant to the Executive Director of the MLB Players Association. I asked if he had any connections in St. Louis to get Amy and Josh to meet players. He said probably not, but if they got there early enough he’d see what he could do. Well they didn’t make it. So I’m telling Mike at the baseball game and this guy says, “You know Phil Bradley?” then he tells me he played baseball with Phil at Missouri and they were close friends. Small world? That’s nothing. We get introduced to his wife Lori and find out she went to Western, where Eileen and I met. Here’s how it went: (pretty much)

Lori: So when did you graduate?

Eileen: ’83

Lori: So did I

Eileen: What dorm did you live in?

Lori: Corbin

Eileen: No Way!

Eileen: What floor did you live on?

Lori: 4

Eileen: (louder) No Way! That’s where I lived

Both are now looking for pictures 🙂 Lori spent all her weekends working on her MRS (I barely know her and I’m already teasing) and Phil would sometimes drive her back from Columbia to Macomb. We came back home and I had to grab the camera and go back to get a picture. What an incredibly small world! (Jim pitched in the Braves organization after college)

My vision has really been a challenge and I don’t like the amount of time I spend with my eyes closed, but they really hurt. Still, God uses it to provide humor. I finally had to break down and have Eileen cut my toenails. On Mother’s Day she told me “I’m not your mom”, but if you would have heard the conversation while she “manicured” me, it sure seemed like it. “Quit your whining you big baby.” “Put your foot back here” She is spending way too much time with Wendy 🙂 I like my nails to be as low as you can go with minimal blood letting. Don’t tell her, but I did some of my own maintenance by feel.

I’m still taking Ambien every day. Ok, I admit it. After 17 months I’m addicted. First I’ll get past brain cancer, then I’ll deal with ambien. The other night Eileen claims she found me asleep at my computer and I kept trying to work as she dragged me to bed. Then she claims she found me asleep on the toilet. Whatever! Do you see any pictures? Exactly. If it happened there would be pictures, trust me. And she would have called Wendy. You don’t know these women, but I do.

I will have to say, Eileen’s really developed a green thumb. She takes care of the yard and the landscaping and it looks awesome.The grass is lush and really nice to walk in barefoot.

For the past few days I’ve been listening to podcasts from and they had Dave Ramsey speaking. He is really smart about money and quite funny. His big thing is getting out of debt and says, “Live like no one else now; so later, you can live like no one else.” Anyway, he’s been big time broke and in debt and said he was reading Proverbs 6:1-6, which says:

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have struck hands in pledge for another,

2 if you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth,

3 then do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go and humble yourself;
press your plea with your neighbor!

4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.

5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise.

He said to himself, “Great, God. I don’t get the gazelle thing at all and how that relates to money.” Then he was watching Discovery Channel that night and it was about gazelles. Coincidence? They said that cheetah’s are gazelle’s worst enemy and cheetahs are faster than gazelle’s, but you know what? Gazelle’s only get caught 1 time in 19. Why? Because they are highly motivated to RUN!!! 🙂 And that is what we should do when we are tempted to spend money we don’t have and take on stupid debt. The podcasts are free on itunes or you can watch the video here: (but hurry).

Please Pray: NO CANCER on Petscan or MRI, good labs next Thu, restored vision, no pain, complete healing.

SPECIAL REQUEST: Would you please pray for my friend Tim? He has the same cancer and really needs a miracle.

I’m expecting a miracle, God’s gonna deliver it, pray BIG!

Don Bowen Update: 2009-05-17

May 17, 2009

In this update: treatment hangover,vision update, first golf outing, Scrabble pieces, work associates

I don’t know if it is the cumulative effect or what, but the treatment I had over a week ago is still affecting me. I can feel it hardening in my stomach like concrete setting up. You’ve probably never wondered which is worse? Constipation or diarrhea? But let me give you the answer, just in case it comes up in casual conversation at a party. Constipation is FAR worse. It has been the source of some of my biggest cries for help 🙂 I’m also fighting mouth sores a bit more this time and those are painful too. Thank goodness for Alum. I’ve actually shared some with friends. It is a dry white powder and when I gave it to one of them in a small plastic bag I felt like a drug dealer. Tastes terrible and burns, but it totally works.

My vision has not improved yet, but keep praying because I’m confident it will. It really has brought new meaning to “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” I hold on to rails (usually) when I walk down stairs. I try to let Eileen cut food for me because it would be easy to hack off fingers on the left, where I can’t see. Plus, I’d have to drive myself to the hospital and no one wants that. Walking outside on my own is totally out of the question. So, if you see me out there I’m probably on ambien and you should escort me home 🙂 One of the more frustrating things is not being able to distinguish people who aren’t VERY close. Don’t be afraid to yell out, “Hey, Don, it’s so-and-so” 🙂

I am constantly thinking about how many things I wish could speak to me, like my Mac. I truly marvel at how people with much more limited sight do it.

I can actually see the best when I first get up, but it degrades quickly and I’m not sure why. I am far from blind and very thankful for the vision I do have. I went to the eye doctor on Friday and they said I could see 20/20 with my glasses. I am a good guesser 🙂 He said I definitely do not have glaucoma. I hate getting my eyes dilated. It prevented me from seeing most of the day. Sadly I am seeing the neuro-opthamologist this Tuesday and have to do it again.

Saturday I went golfing for the first time this year at the Macomb Youth For Christ golf outing. My friend Doug treated us again and we had a great time. That’s code for played poorly and didn’t win.

I actually hit the ball well for not being able to see it. I didn’t say straight, just well. Putting is a real challenge because right-handed golfers like me try to see the hole in their left peripheral vision, which I no longer have. However, I sank a few medium length putts and a 20-25 footer on the last hole.

There was a $15,000 prize for a hole-in-one on the 17th hole. Due to all the rain we played the back nine twice. Despite Jeff and I praying for success, none of us did. Half went to the golfer and the other half to Youth for Christ. Of course we were praying for their half :-), right, Jeff?

I had four layers on, including my Packer hat because it was super cold and winds were 20-30 mph and didn’t let up. After three holes the non-stop wind was hurting my head bad enough that I had to go to the clubhouse for two holes. However, I recovered quickly and had the strength to finish 18. I can’t wait to get out again.

I rode with my friend Dan and once again he let me drive the cart a bit, which was much riskier this year. We took another video, though it isn’t as funny as last years, but take a look.

I asked our friend Jim Eller, who runs Eller Cabinets, to make me BIG Scrabble pieces for Eileen for Christmas. He gave us three of the pieces today after having to start over once. They couldn’t be more perfect. I shouldn’t be surprised because Eller is known for top quality wood working.

Eileen will add the letters B-O-W-E-N with their point values and they’ll be perfect with the rest of her “over-size” motif in our basement. Thanks, Jim!

Megan, who will be a senior studying dietetics (to be a registered dietician), made dinner tonight. She made sweet and sour red cabbage. What?! How much am I paying for this? She and Eileen liked it, but me, Amy and Joey don’t have refined taste buds. Fortunately she also made confetti cake cookies, which were quite good.

I don’t know what kind of business associates you have, but I have been in the Identity Management business now for a little over 12 years and I have to say mine are some of the most exceptional people I know. Even my competitors send me encouraging notes and pray for me. It is amazing, humbling and quite encouraging.

I’m expecting a miracle, God’s gonna deliver it, pray BIG!

Don Bowen Update: 2009-05-09

May 9, 2009

In this update: private Bradley Family weekend, Remi visit, Wendy!, stable MRI! lunch w/ Dan, Prom Girls, One more treatment!

A week ago Friday Eileen and I went to see the Newsboys who performed at our church. We found out that we are just not front row concert goers. Maybe my head hurt so much because of that. The drums were literally moving our clothing. The concert was great and we really enjoyed it. Afterwards we got to be first in line to meet them, thanks to our good friend Dawn Henderson.

One of my favorite parts was near the end when the drummer, strapped into his drums, elevated off the stage, rotated forward and then started spinning while he kept playing. Here is a link to the video on YouTube, but turn off your speakers first. The sound totally overpowered the mic in the camera.

Saturday night we kind of had our own personal Parent’s night at Bradley. Megan invited us to dinner AND SHE PAID! Ok, well, she used our money, but it’s the thought 🙂

We were to attend a performance by Hypnotiq, a hip-hop group Megan was in last year, and then attend the play “Death Trap.” Near the end of dinner Megan dramatically pushes back from the table and says, “Mom and Dad, how are you with surprises?” Almost in unison we said, “What kind of surprise?” She says, “Well, there is a startling surprise in the play.” We both reswallowed our hearts and told her we’d seen the movie. Funny girl, huh?

The play was great, but of course I had to take a picture of the set. Next thing I know Megan’s roommate from last year is telling me that I am creating a liability and no pictures are allowed. Not like the first time I’ve been told I created a liability. 🙂

It got both of us pretty excited about seeing Megan play the role of Gladys in The Pajama Game in September. Don’t miss it!

On Sunday we got a surprise visit by our friend and former neighbor, Remi Boutielle. We works for Cat in Grenoble, France and told us that he missed being one of the hostages a few weeks back by only five minutes.

Right after Remi left we went to see the Monahan’s play handbells at their church. A few seconds after I walked in the door I heard the sound of metal and was hit by a 50lb piece of door. It hit my shoulder and knocked me down, but fortunately missed my head. I know what you are thinking. Did Wendy plot this diabolical deed? Have I beaten her one too many times? That was my first thought too. However, having been recently educated on mysterious plots by those clever Bradley students I first did some investigation. To my surprise I found out that not long before, Wendy’s own father, 81 years old, mind you, was hit with the very same beam! I have decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I clearly need to be much more watchful. (read dramatically) HA! Look who just walked in! Stand Back!! 🙂 (She really did just walk in).

I sent out an email update on this, but in case you aren’t on that list this was a pretty hard and scary week. My vision is still very bad and so my oncologist ordered another MRI onWednesday rather than wait until May 26th at Duke. Part of me was relieved, but I knew it could show growth and worried that two treatments from the end I would be starting over with surgery. We were shocked that even as late as 8pm Thursday night we didn’t  have word on how the MRI looked. I finally called Dr. Geoffroy and he very calmly told me that the MRI showed no change and I was scheduled for treatment. I was thrilled, but also felt a bit ungrateful. Why had it taken so long? Why do I still have vision that is decreasing and headaches? I was immediately reminded of the ten lepers, only one of which went back to thank Jesus. Then God also reminded me, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Little did I know when I memorized that verse many years ago how literal it would become for me.

My good friend Dan came by and took me to a late lunch Thursday and it was the perfect distraction. I guess I do look a bit thin. I’m down about 22 lbs since this began, but once I’m off this chemo I should fatten up nicely.

Both Kelly and Amy went to Proms tonight. Kelly with a friend to Notre Dame who asked her from work (of course I interviewed him) and Amy went with Josh to crown the next queen from Dunlap. Don’t they both look beautiful!

The emotional and prayer support I have received from all of you has never been more felt or appreciated. The emails and notes on facebook help immensely. I had my 22nd chemo treatment yesterday and though I can’t say I looked forward to it, it constantly reminded me of God’s faithfulness and goodness. I even took the IV in my left arm for the first time since the start. ONE MORE TO GO!

My decreased vision is hard at times. It’s bad enough that I can’t drive, but watching anything on TV is not the same. I know, maybe that is a good thing, but I’m not a huge TV watcher anyway. I can still listen to golf 🙂 I still turn lights on by habit.

Please keep praying for complete healing of vision and cancer. I want to see my girls marry and see their children. But more than that when you pray for me, pray that God consumes me for others and Him. I’ve known for a long time how selfish and self-centered I am, but I think being ill like this can be easy for me to use as an excuse. I don’t want it to be. Most people in the world would do anything possible to have one day of “suffering” like I do. I’m so blessed and want to LIVE that way, not just THINK that way.

I’m expecting a miracle, God’s gonna deliver it, pray BIG!

Don Bowen Update: 2009-05-01

May 1, 2009

In this update: vision status, walking obstacle, IHOP, new perspective and tagline

Hey, it hasn’t been a week yet, I know, but I needed to send this out so you would know how the latest, and can pray accordingly.

My vision has not gotten better, and in fact, has gotten worse. The latest development this afternoon is that left side images are constantly retained, causing me to see what I saw and what I’m seeing now on top of each other. Typing this is no small feat and will absolutely require more of Eileen’s editing 🙂

Yesterday we walked together outside. I’m not sure why I was on the left side, but I was and I ran right into this bush, which bounced me back out and into Eileen. She said, “Did you not see that?”, but I really didn’t.I kept walking on the left.

Today we were prayed for by a team from the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. These young people are impressive. Their love for the Lord, faith and passion are fun to be around.

Kyle annointed me with oil he has used at these sessions. Amanda told us that all week she had been hearing the name “Don” and “Donald” and felt very called to pray for me. Afterwards she said, “I kept getting images of a builder and building being done. Does that make any sense?” I said, “Well I’m not a builder (of physical things), but I am building God’s kingdom.” It got me excited. God is definitely not done with me yet. (Sidenote: I don’t think anyone wants to see me wielding a hammer or using any power tools, especially air guns 🙂 Jenna was moved to tears and wept before she prayed and it really touched my heart. As she prayed I saw light in my head. I’m not kidding.

I had a great walk after I returned home. I told you that the other day I spent the time thanking God through my life. Well, today I thanking him for things I’ve wanted in my life which he has provided. Stupid things, but I’m positive they’re from him. I wanted to have a nice house – never dreamed of what I have. I wanted a nice lush green yard. Hey, I said they were stupid. I was tired of mowing weeds and dust. With the rain we’ve had, lush is an understatement. (No, Nate it isn’t up to your standards :-)) I wanted to sing on a stage. The reality has exceeded my dream many times over at Northwoods. I always wanted to write and to journal. Well, I have a blog. I wanted to impact the lives of many others. Only God can exceed wants like that.

I wanted to play for the Green Bay Packers, but God knew they needed me as a fan. I wanted sons, but God knew I needed daughters, and boy was he right. I wanted an easier life, but God knew I needed to be completely dependent on Him. I am SO glad I got only some of what I wanted. If you look hard, I’ll bet you can see the same thing in your life.

Yesterday I wasn’t down, but God knew I needed some encouragement. First I got a note from a friend and former salesman at Sun. Mac told me he was golfing with his cousin who was talking about tough times so he told him the “Don Bowen” story and it encouraged him. Well that encouraged me!

Then my friend Susie called me to say that a customer had called in about a claim for brain surgery. Susie told him that subject was close to her heart because of a friend who had brain cancer and also had brain surgery. He said, “Do you know what kind it is?” She told him I had a GBM and he said, “That’s what I have.” She pointed him to my blog and said it encouraged him. It became very emotional for me. OK, not that it takes much, but now I was really encouraged. God delivering another want, right when I needed it.

IF SOMEONE POINTED YOU HERE. Especially if you have a GBM like me, please know that this blog is primarily intended to keep my family and friends up to date and aware of how to pray for me. But it is also for those who need to be encouraged or encouraged to see things in a different light. I don’t believe that is possible without Jesus, but my friends will tell you that I don’t beat anyone over the head with that. Just because I have experienced something, especially anything unpleasant, does NOT mean you will. Your journey can and I pray WILL be better, and I hope you experience even more of the joy and laughter I have in the past 16 months. My vision  changed significantly three times as I wrote this update, but I am going to follow James 1:2-3:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Today was a big day for me. Things have gotten worse – or so it seems. However, when you ask me how I’m doing I’m going to say, “I’m doing well and it’s going to get much better.” I’m going to make a concerted effort to have my words support what I really believe God is going to do. As a result I’m changing the tagline I have been using from the beginning.

I am expecting a miracle, God is going to deliver it, pray BIG!

Don Bowen Update: 2009-04-29

April 29, 2009

In this update: last temodar, vision worsens, DeSoto, Baskin Robbins, Brooke is 21, 2nd place

I usually write in chronological order, but I want to start with what I really need prayer about. Today for the first time in a while my vision got worse. So much so that I had to stop work. I have been pushing myself a bit hard so I hoped rest would help. It is bad enough that trying to do things on my computer are very hard. Bad enough that I actually have started taking decadron, the steroid I hate. Please pray that it reduces swelling, which in turn reduces the pain and restores vision on my left side.

Megan came over tonight so we could go to the Baskin Robbins 31 cent per scoop special and I said, “If my vision doesn’t get better mom may have to start helping me do my job.” She immediately responded, “She already does everything around here.” It wasn’t a criticism and I didn’t take it that way. If I didn’t have the amazing wife I do I would really be in trouble. God is good. Oh, we got 10 scoops for $3.41 and my cappuchino chip and mint chocolate chip were fantastic. You always have to get mint chocolate chip, don’t you? I will say the chocolate and peanut butter was darn good.

I took my last day of temodar pills yesterday and I hope I never have to take it again the rest of my life. This has been a tough round for me, maybe because I was off an extra two weeks. I don’t know. I think the worst part has been the nasty taste in my mouth, but I am very thankful I don’t have any cancer sores. Sidenote: I find putting alum on my cancer sores makes them heal faster. I gave some to Joey tonight and he is not quite as convinced and left still in pain.

Speaking of thankful, I spent my entire walk on Monday thanking God for things in my life starting at the beginning. I could pray for hours doing that and was brought to tears thanking him for parents, siblings, teachers, jobs, friends, wife, kids, protection, Him, etc. Like Julie Andrews said, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” Try it. I know times are tough and life is hard, but changing your focus will change your perspective. This really works, which should be no surprise because it is exactly what God says in Philippians 4:6-7.

Saturday night we rented a movie from Redbox and saw this beautiful 1957 DeSoto and met the owner, Leroy Thompson, who had restored it himself. The interior was impressive, but the paint job is just exquisite.

I’m always so impressed when I see workmanship like this that I totally can’t relate to. It causes moments of insanity. I think, “I’d love to do something like this.” and then reality steps in and says, “You can’t even fix the grout in your tub” and you go back to admiring Leroy and his car 🙂

Sunday we got to celebrate Brooke’s birthday with her parents Blake and Brenda, who live in Springfield, IL. Where was Brooke’s boyfriend of 4 years? Well at the Cubs-Cardinals game in St. Louis, of course. He missed some great angelfood cake and berries.

I would have posted another picture, but Amy was wearing a Pujols jersey, since her boyfriend is a Card fan, and I just couldn’t bring myself to disappoint her grandfather like that.

I always used to have angelfood cake for my birthday and it occurred to me on Sunday that it may not have been my mom making a commentary on my behavior. Though in my defense I have to say that my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Anstine just turned 99. I was quite tough on her, but maybe that made her more resilient? OK, maybe not. Many of my other teachers retired after having me in class. It wasn’t because they were thinking, “Once you’ve taught the best, why try to educate the rest.”

Tuesday I didn’t really feel up to going to trivia night, but I’m glad I did. I have to say, it’s no wonder Dunlap School District is one of the top in IL. These kids are very smart and fun to hang out with. I had hopes of winning, but we tied for 2nd and then won the tiebreaker, which was “How tall, in feet, is Mt Everest?” I had no clue, but Spencer immediately said, “29, 738” (or something), which was the closer answer. Eileen and I together combined for the answer to “What is the only anagram of the word “continued”?

For the second week in a row we did not have the help of Todd, Diane or Sarah Houseman. I don’t know where they were, to his credit Levi was there and is a faithful member of team Quinine. His parents raised him so well, but what happened to them? 🙂

I can only imagine how may mistakes Eileen had to correct tonight.

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