Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don Cowan to 'Stay With Us'

"I talk to God but the sky is empty." Sylvia Plath

Take a kid raised Hardshell Baptist from birth. Give him a mind equipped for critical thinking, and plant within him a passion for reading. You either get one deeply conflicted and confused sociopath, or the kid finds folks who help him find his way along that lonesome valley.

One of those folks was a music man from Minnesota who rode the U.S. Air Force into River City, fell for a pretty dancer at the old YWCA, decided to stay and began teaching choral music to the first generation of Rock 'n' Rollers.

I am proud to say that Don Cowan remians a friend of mine going on 51 years.

We learned some months back that Mr. Cowan, 81, had been diagnosed with cancer. Multiple cancers, as it turned out, no doubt linked to that iconic pipe he had been sucking on ever since those early days at S.H. Rider High School.

Well, I tell you it wasn't so much that Don got cancer. Once word spread by social media and by word of mouth among The Legacy, it was more like we ALL came down with cancer. His challenge became our challenge. Like so many times before, we would rise as a family to this latest challenge, and together we would overcome it.

Prayers went up immediately and continue to this day. We were kept informed all along the way. First would come a series of chemotherapy treatments. This would be followed by radiation treatments, if necessary. Should that fail to clear out all the malignancies, the rest would be cut out. Not exactly a trip to the Magic Kingdom, but the prognosis for survival was good.

"Talk about being hit with a ton of bricks when my Dr. told me I had cancer," Don told me. 
Then he said 'Do you know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.'

"That is exactly what I did. One test, one x-ray, one CT scan, one MRI, one chemo treatment at a time. I had family and friends who came by the fusion lab where I had my chemo, and they sat with me. The support, emails, cards, phone calls and letters have been so welcome and supportive. How could I not defeat this?"

Now, I've never been big on prayer, personally. Not that I'm above asking for help; it's just that I have my doubts anyone "Up There" is actually there, much less listening to our puny wants. To my mind, the Lord helps those who help themselves. That said....

Word came from Don last week that his cancer is gone. He had a session with his radiologist which included a CT scan. Nothing cancerous showed up anywhere in his body. A few chemo treatments; no radiation, no surgery, nothing more than several hundred former choral singers still considered his "kids" praying for their mentor and friend.

"Whatever you believe, I believe that those prayers and my knowing that I had the Lord's support, helped me beat this insidious disease," Don affirmed.

Good Lord willing and Holliday Creek don't rise, those of us who can will gather together one more time here in River City to celebrate Don's 82nd birthday June 21.

Thank you, Lord!

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