Samson man named 3rd Cancer Freeze recipient for 2017

Published 1:44 am Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Samson man has been named Cancer Freeze’s third recipient.

1129-cancer-freeze-no-3Chris Bowden, a 37-year-old, who is fighting lymphoblastic leukemia, was recently named the third recipient.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping others,” Bowden said. “This passion encouraged me to become a nurse years ago. I continued my education, worked as an ER nurse in numerous hospitals in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and even Texas. I felt as if my life goal was complete. Every smile, every tear made me feel as if I had accomplished something good at the end of the day. My journey was only beginning.”

In February 2015, Bowden was hospitalized with an extremely high white blood count and an enlarged spleen.

“Doctors feared I had colitis,” he said. “But after much testing, X-rays and a bone marrow biopsy, it was determined that I had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. As a medical professional, I knew this couldn’t be good. But, I lacked knowledge of the different types of leukemia. I decided, with haste, to move back home to be with my parents. I was in for the shock of my life.”

Bowden said that when he quit his job as ER director, and moved home, he lost his insurance.

“Little did I know that getting insurance would be such a nightmare,” he said. “Through bureaucratic red tape I waded. I was denied Medicaid due to my prior income. This kept me from receiving the health care I so desperately needed. However, bills came right on time, and as a result, I lost everything I had – even my truck. This caused a great strain on my parents, as well. My dad, suffering from Alzheimer’s and at the same time also, with crippling back problems. I absolutely hit rock bottom.”

Bowden said local cancer centers were willing to help.

“But a broke man can’t afford a discounted rate of $1,000 per month for chemo,” he said. “My condition declined, and finally I was approved for full disability. Medicaid dropped me immediately, and I had to apply for private insurance.”

Bowden said that chemo has been difficult.

“Even worse, the fact that I was temporarily off the recommended regimen, made me even sicker,” he said. “As a result, even though back on track on oncology, I have congestive heart failure, severe fatigue, night sweats, constant diarrhea and vomiting. I’m mostly confined to bed, except for days I must go to doctor appointments or times when I have some energy to go to the grocery store with my mother. Leukemia breaks down, not only one’s body, but even more so, one’s mind. As I’ve not dealt with enough, suicidal thoughts brought on by severe depression have held me hostage at times. God, though is my strength. In Him, do I trust. I continue to fight this battle each day, and I am blessed by the support of my friends and family to help me along this journey.”