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Don Bowen’s Miracle 2009-10-31

October 31, 2009

Don 5-22-05

On October 31, 2009, my Lord threw His loving arms around me tightly, invited me to enjoy life in this new world of His and pronounced me cancer free.  He promised you and me a miracle if we prayed BIG, and He has kept His promise.

Memorial services will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, November 28, 2009 at the Northwoods Community Church, 10700 N. Allen Road, Peoria IL 61614

Praise the Lord for His goodness!

Don

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Don Bowen Update 2009-10-31

October 30, 2009

Since  I’m no longer able to tell my dad what to write, I’m using the newest technology with him that he has frequently asked me about.  No need for any form of electronic equipment or material, I just transfer my thoughts through the air to anyone who happens to be tuned in.  My dad has found the frequency, so he’s tuned in.  Here I am at work, transmitting to my dad:

Don resting 102709

Quite a few family members and friends celebrated my 51st birthday (Oct 29) during several days.  I know they had a good time with each other even though I slept through it all.  They may not have been aware, but I did ask CNA Sharon to give me a bath so I’d be presentable at my birthday party activities.  Clean sleeping goes with clean living.  Both are important to me.

Don and CNA Sharon 102709Nurse Jan Student Nurse Terri

Nurse Jan and Student Nurse Terri from Saint Francis Hospice make sure my vitals are OK.  They translate what they hear and see into their counsel for Eileen so she’ll be sure she is giving me what I need.  I keep being reminded of how I’m unable to get along without the special women in my life.   Thanks Sharon, Jan, Terri and Eileen!

I know I missed visiting with my friends, Mike and Jodi Wiggins, but they had the honor of taking my place of sitting in my green, Green Bay Packers chair.  I’m sure now they will be cheering for the Packers to win in the future.

Mike Jodi Wiggins

Long distance visitors from Austin TX who work with me at UnboundID (www.unboundid.com) include (right to left) Kevin LeMay, Andy Land, Neil Wilson and Steve Shoaff.  On the far left, from San Francisco CA, is Chuck Mortimer – former colleague at Sun Microsystems.  You guys have helped to give my career real meaning and excitement – THANKS!

Chuck Mortimer Steve Shoaff Neal Wilson Andy Land Kevin LeMay

I’m so  blessed to have loving family come to see me.  My sister Sue, her husband Al and daughter Alissa came from Macomb.  Some of Eileen’s family also came on Friday, Oct. 30: George and Joan Boddy (dad and mom) and Paulette and Chris Boddy (sister-in-law and brother).  Eileen’s brothers, Mike and George Boddy with early Saturday morning Kelly.

Sue Al Alissa DeRoosGeorge Joan Paulette Chris BoddyMike George Boddy with Kelly

Today is Halloween, so my friends and family are celebrating.  One of the family’s favorite card games, Dalmuti, drew the following players: Joey Eells, Lauren, Neil Wilson, Steve Shoaff, Megan, Liz Wiertel, Kevin LeMay and Andy Land.  Megan finished as the Great Dalmuti.  Kelly dressed as a “nerd” for a party with a couple of her “nerdy’ dressed friends.

DalmutiNerd Kelly

When words fail me, I turn to the Psalms – like:  (I’m happy to let you share them with me)

1  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.  Psalm 23

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Update 2009-10-26

October 25, 2009

It’s been hard to train a new camera man to understand that pictures take up less space than the words required to send the equivalent message.  Here’s chair to bathroom to bed:

Don chocolate pie & whip creamDon's bathroom toiletDon's 1st Livingroom bedPackers are, of course, beginning and end.

Garbers and Monohans came over so Mike and I could celebrate our birthdays together.

Don & Mike Monohan birthday cakeGarbers & DonLisa, Todd, Carolyn, Katy and Daniel

Amy came home for a 3-day fall break from Indiana Wesleyan University and baked some sugar cookies to paint with her grandmother – renewing an activity Amy had with she visited her grandmother when Amy was in grade school.

Cookie girls Amy Kelly AndreaCookie girls Amy Kelly Andrea 1Amy, Kelly and Andrea

I experienced my first non-visit with two special friends: Mike Wiggins from Bloomington IL and his sister Jodi from Crystal Lake IL.  They brought a caramel apple pie and a peach pie.  Everybody else enjoyed their visit and the pies they brought.  I was struggling with an extended period (about 8-10 hours) of severe stomach pain.  We were unsure of the cause, but Jan the nurse came with a couple of suppositories and some special medication – including morphine – which gave me some relief.  Mike and Jodi – my apologies for not hosting your visit in a manner more suited to my joy that you came to see me.

Mike Jodi Wiggins Julie FrankMike, Jodi Wiggins and sister Julie Frank with pies.

I am very proud to tell you that my youngest daughter, Lauren, is becoming a guitar player.  I’m sure she’ll be on stage before you know it.  Only then will I be able to show you a picture of her with her guitar.

My energy level is so low at present that I’m unable to host visitors for any meaningful kind of visit.  Eileen will know with a phone call if a visit from anyone would be useful for you or me.  Thanks for your prayers for me and my family and for understanding that I cherish your friendship – even if I can’t speak to you now in person.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Update 2009-10-22

October 22, 2009

There has been a lot of regular living going on in my house since the last posted message.  I’ve had a few visitors which I always enjoy, but nothing like the busy house we had prior to the last blog.  My energy level only permits me to move with assistance via wheel chair on the main floor of our house from my chair in the family room, to the bathroom and my newly positioned bed in our living room where Eileen sleeps on our couch near my bed.

I’ve had several medical helpers come to help me as recommended by my doctor.  Nurse Jan has come several times to check with Eileen on how I’ve been doing since she was here last: what meds have I taken, what kinds of pain I have had and how severe have they been, where I have had the pain and what remedy was tried.  Jan provides many suggestions for my care and is always available for any questions Eileen may have.

CNA Sharon came for the first time this week to give me a full body bath – in my bed.  Everyone agreed that it might be hazardous for me to try to take a shower – with or without help.

I did enjoy seeing two special visitors from my high school days in Macomb Illinois.  Victor Daniels, special Policy Adviser for the Governor of Arizona, honored me by coming all the way from his busy schedule in Arizona.  Bryce Dexter, Director of Development for the School of Arts and Sciences at Western Illinois University (and excellent impersonator of Elvis Presley), helped me recall our fun days together in high school.

Victory Daniels 1Bryce Dexter 1

My pastor from Northwoods Community Church and his wife, Cal and Susan Rychner, came by for a welcome visit.  After all, Cal is an ardent Packers fan.  We talked about family members, where they are, what they are doing and the usual struggles of parenting children in ther teens and twenties.  We prayed together and praised God for His goodness.

Cal Susan Rychner 1

Two couples who visited and escaped my camera were former neighbors and close friends, Nate and Sherry Miller, and former college friends, Fred and Laurie Martin with their daughter, Meredith.  While Fred and Laurie were visiting, a 17 year old youth landed the plane he was flying at the busy intersection of Willow Knolls Dr. and Allen Road.  That intersection is about 1 mile from my house.  The youth escaped the plane before it burst into flames and completely burned up and no other injuries were reported.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Update 2009-10-14

October 14, 2009

The lab results on 10-09-09 indicate that my body is not now, nor will it be strong enough in the future to receive any further chemo treatments.  Eileen, my family and friends are now responsible for providing me with pie and ice cream anytime I ask.

My brother and four sisters were here for the weekend to visit and attend my church with me.  It was good to see all of them at one time and enjoy some past family stories. (Sue, Julie, Barb, Anita and Steve in back. Dad, me and Mom sitting) and (Just Look and guess who is who!) and (Sue kisses Don) and (Mom and me with my blue halo).

Brother Sisters Parents 2009-10-11Whole Family 2009-10-11Sue Kisses DonMom and my blue hallo

Cousin Tom Bowen, sister Anita Meltzer, cousin Nancy Bowen, sister Sue DeRoos, Mom and frequent visitor Joey Eells spent some time entertaining me and enjoying my attempts at humor in my family room.

Family in My Living Room

Katie and Keith Seibel joined John Chaney and his son, Mark, for a great visit with prayer and scripture.  Then Katie and Keith demonstrated the sound of two shofars (rams horns) they brought back with them from Israel.  Shofars were used by the Israelites when they went into battle against their enemies. They wanted me to hear the current version of God’s people going into battle against my cancerous enemy.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shofar

John Mark Cheney and Katie Keith Seibel 2Keith Katie rams horn shofar

Kevin Lemay, my very special friend from Austin TX who works with me at our company, UnboundID, came to spend several days with me.  Jim Rinella, my college friend/roommate   from Colorado who works with the Navigators, came and spent a week at my house.  Everybody should have a great friends like Kevin and Jim.  John and Bev Burnham have been long time friends who have prayed BIG for me.

Kevin Lemay and DonJim Rinella DonJohn Bev Burnham 1

Now for those common parts of daily living.  Doing wheelees in my wheelchair, dancing with my wife to and from the bathroom and best of all, eating chocolate pudding pie.

Don wheelchairEileen Don Dancing 1Don chocolate pie 1

It has been good to be with my family and friends during this past week.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Health Update 2009-10-6

October 6, 2009

Lab results on Friday, 10-2-09 indicated platelets were too low to permit chemo therapy.  Dr. said we’d wait to see the lab results next Friday, 10-09-09 to see if additional therapy can be permitted at that time.

Visitors have continued to shower me with their good wishes, delicious food, enjoyable conversation and prayers.  Here are some pictures:

Steve Shoaff (long time friend and CEO of UnboundID), me, brother Steve and father Bob.

Steve Shoaff, me, brother Steve and father Bob Bowen

Church friends, me, Mark Burnham (long time friend and Financial Consultant).

Jennifer/Bob Thiel and Mark Burnham

About 40 members of my Northwoods Community church came for a visit at my house on Thursday, October 1.  We sang, prayed and read scripture for over an hour.  Afterwords, each member introduced them self to me since several of them were new to the choir and to me.  Enjoy as much of this 10 min. video as you like.

My high school friend, John Distefano (Management Consultant from St. Louis) stopped by for a visit so we could recall some of the exciting events of our youthful days.

Today, the two families of my close friends and former business partners in Lighthouse Software, Mike Monohan and Todd Garber came to my house for one of their frequent visits.

Friends in Prayer

Friends in Prayer

Parents, Monohans and Garbers

Parents, Monohans and Garbers

It has been good to be with my family and friends.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don and my Dad

Don Bowen Health Update 2009-09-30

September 30, 2009

I have employed another guest editor. My dad is writing this for me. Strength has been elusive today. I was interviewed by Dave Marks from my Northwoods Community Church this morning regarding the meaning and value of biblical scripture in my life…. I confessed before the camera that God’s word in the scriptures has sustained my life in the past and the present. HE is in charge. I know it, I thank HIM for it and praise HIM for all HIS love that I enjoy.

Dave Marks and Don

Dave Marks and Don

Last Monday the Dr. told me that my body was, at that time, unable to withstand further treatment. On Friday of this week, I will have laboratory work that will determine whether or not my body can handle treatment that day. The Doctor will decide, with my consent, if and when the next treatment will happen. His opinion was, on Monday that further treatment may be as harmful to my body as it may be beneficial. Stay tuned for the report after next Friday.

I need a miracle.  I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don Bowen Health Update 2009-09-23 In this update: Last week’s update, Current Health, 25th Anniversary, Megan’s Play

September 23, 2009

(from Wendy)  This blog was started after the last MRI and now includes the last treatment.

2009-09-14

Don) The MRI on Tuesday night went well.  It was not uncomfortable. It was pretty painless and quick. We got results on Friday.  We anticipated getting chemo on Friday but a lot of things changed.  The results of the MRI showed increased enhancement meaning potentially more tumor.  As a result it was decided we would once again change the course of treatment.  It was expected that this would begin immediately but insurance denied this request.  As a result, we will begin the new treatment this Friday using Avastin and. carboplatin   Carboplatin is new but I took the Avastin for a year.  Avastin is pretty harsh and has a number of strong side effects.  I would appreciated your prayers about the side effects that include mouth sores, fatigue, weakness, decreased white blood count, headaches, loss of appetite.  My biggest concerns are my mental state, lack of exercise and overall weakness.  By weakness I mean that when I sit for a while, which is all I seem to have energy for, and then get up I often can’t make it to my destination.  This is scary for me and for Eileen and the girls.  Going up and down stairs is the worst of course.  I wish I had a funny story to tell about these moments because I enjoy laughing at myself but it’s really not very funny.  Of course some people could make a joke or two about lying on the bathroom floor but if you ask Eileen she will tell you it’s not funny.

My parents came and spent the night last week while Eileen went to Indiana with Amy to move her in at Indiana Wesleyan.  She is transferring there after attending ICC last year.  Katy Garber also goes to IWU so Eileen and Amy traveled in caravan with the Garbers.  They moved the girls in and stayed for orientation activities.  Amy is already having a great time in college.  She participated in a cardboard regatta boat race.  Her group’s boat won and she stayed dry while all the others ended in the water.  Amy is studying media design which is no surprise as she has been creatively filming and editing video around the house for years.

Speaking of school, Megan has begun her senior year at Bradley on her way to becoming a dietician.  She is appearing later in September in Bradley’s musical, The Pajama Game.  This is especially fun for Eileen as the Pajama Game is her favorite musical and also Eileen’s mom’s favorite.  Megan plays Gladys and will be singing and dancing.  Can’t wait to see it.

Kelly is a Junior this year at Dunlap High.  She is singing in the Northwood’s choir now.  What a blessing to see her helping to lead worship and use her gifts for God.  Lauren is in eighth grade.  Christian Center soccer has just started and Lauren made the first goal of the year for her team.

One highlight of the weekend was Megan’s 22nd birthday.  She asked a few friends over and my parents came too.  My dad, her grandfather, was the dealer and the bank for a rousing game of Tripoly for coins (supplied by the bank).  Dad did this for us back when Eileen and I were dating 27 years ago.  Everybody had a good time and Liz and Joey seemed to be the big winners.  The Monahans came and Wendy brought a carrot cake for Megan because carrot cake is healthful.  (Wendy thinks that 2 Cups of carrots cancels out the 2 Cups of sugar.)

(Wendy)As usual we waited for the moment when Don would say his famous line, “I don’t really like cake but this cake is good.”  He always says this and has for years.  He’s not a “cake person” he’s a “pie person.”  However, after hearing this line every time we have cake I have decided that he is a “pie person who likes cake.”  The thing that makes it funny is that he always acts like it is the first time he’s ever said it.  As most of you know I am helping to facilitate the writing of the update.   The feedback must be positive since, as you all know, Don wouldn’t let me anywhere near the blog if it wasn’t.  We haven’t played any games lately so he’s not bitter about being beaten.

(Don)  I need a miracle, I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don

(Wendy) And now for today’s update 2009-09-23 In this update:  Health Update, 25th Anniversary, Megan’s play

(Don) On Thursday night we went to see Megan perform in The Pajama Game at Bradley University, in which she had a leading part.  We have been anticipating this for many months.  She did a fabulous job as Gladys which is a demanding role with singing and dancing.  The last performance is Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm.

On Tuesday we celebrated our 25th wedding Anniversary with a very spontaneous little party after Lauren’s soccer team won their game.  Lauren scored again.  Thanks to all who sent us well wishes in the mail, email and Facebook.  Of course we had Dairy Queen ice cream cake to celebrate.  The Monahans and Garbers were here along with Liz and Joey and Megan’s friend, Jake.  I’m sorry I could not invite everyone to share it with us.  You are all very special to us.  We really appreciate the part all of our friends and family have played in the past 25 years.  We also appreciate the yummy food you have been bringing. It sure makes Eileen’s day when she doesn’t have to cook.  Thanks to Michelle Gasper for the two nice meals this week.

I had a check-up with the doctor today because we have been concerned that my pain medicine is too strong but that was not the determination.  I will get another check-up on Monday to see if the trouble I have been having is part of the disease.  Still concerned about weakness, strength and mobility and confusion which we will continue to monitor.  For now the meds will remain the same.  Next check-up on Monday and treatment on Friday 10-4-09.

(Wendy)  Don has been experiencing a lot of confusion for the past week.  At first it was mostly at night but now he has trouble during the day also.  He tried to explain to me how he was feeling and I cannot imagine how terrible it is to not know where you are.  This coupled with fatigue has made for some pretty hard days for him and for Eileen and it is scary for the girls.  Please be in prayer about this, friends, and for Eileen as she continues to be wife, mom, household manager, caretaker, etc.

(Don)Things are hard these days but God is still in control.  He is good all the time.  I really want you to know that I am praising Him as He walks with me and with my family through this journey.

I need a miracle, I’m expecting God to deliver one, pray big.

Don

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!