MY MESSAGE TO YOU: My name is Courtney Bowden and I am reaching out to you today because my Dad, Craig Bowden, needs help. As many of you know, my Father is sick and has been for quite some time. However, we have been presented with an incredible opportunity to get my Dad the treatment he needs to potentially cure his illness for good. Unfortunately, this treatment comes at a staggering cost, which is why I have chosen to reach out to friends of my Dad and members of our family through GoFundMe, in hopes of raising any amount of financial aid to help my family make it through this difficult but hopeful time.
I have drafted a history of my Dad’s illness below, with the help of my Mom, to provide you with as much information as possible. I hope that in reading my Father’s story you will come to understand our concerns and to know that any level of assistance would be greatly appreciated. All help is welcome and brings my Father one step closer to a cure. Thank you all so much for everything!
PROLOGUE: Abdominal adhesions are bands of fibrous tissue that can form between the abdominal wall, muscles, other fibrous tissues and organs. Adhesions may form as curtains or ropes wrapping around and throughout the intestines. These tissue bands can also attach to organs and to the abdominal wall, fusing them together. Often times, these adhesions can restrict the small bowel, causing a partial or even a complete blockage which is extremely painful and can be life-threatening. The only medically-proven way to remove adhesions is a surgery called “lysis of adhesions”. Unfortunately, during this procedure, the intestines and other organs are exposed to air which, in turn, creates more adhesions. This causes an ongoing cycle of adhesions-pain-surgery.
THE BEGINNING: My Dad’s medical story began in October of 2006 when he had an emergency surgery after his intestine ruptured unexpectedly and caused a massive infection. He had always been very healthy so this came as a complete surprise to our family.
Over the years, my Dad’s many surgeries have never gone as planned. Complications from his initial surgery caused him a great deal of pain throughout his “recovery”. Because of this, a second surgery was planned to reverse a temporary ostomy that was done and also to address the aggressive pain he was experiencing. During the second surgery, his surgeon discovered that my Dad had a massive field of adhesions. The surgery took over 11 hours to complete in order to cut through all the adhesions. Additionally, the surgeon was forced to remove several sections of intestine that were accidentally damaged during the adhesion removal.
Over the last eight years, my dad has had five more abdominal surgeries, with many hospital stays totaling 20 days or more at a time. Complications from these surgeries have led to the removal of his appendix, gallbladder, and the majority of his small intestine, forcing him to face excruciating pain on a daily basis.
The new year has brought my Dad another blockage in his small intestine. Between January and April this year, he has been admitted to the hospital five times, and was admitted for surgery on March 5th.
Thankfully, my parents have been fortunate enough to find an expert surgeon in Boston, Dr. Janey Pratt. When Dr. Pratt began surgery this time, she encountered a substantial amount of adhesions which took over eight consecutive hours to cut from his large intestine and abdominal wall. The small intestine itself was so adhered that she was not able to operate on it. Due to the limited amount of small intestine that my Dad has left, any surgical procedures are inherently risky. If he were to lose any more of his small intestine, he may be forced to use a feeding tube, or survive on IV nutrition alone. Even now, he may never eat something as simple as a hamburger ever again. This year, he has been on IV nutrition since February just to maintain his weight and provide him with the vital nutrition he needs to survive.
I am so thankful for my amazing Mother who has assumed the role of my Dad’s 24/7 super nurse. She has not only mastered the art of preparing and administering his IV nutrition every day but she has also maintained a rigorous medication schedule for my Dad, ensuring he never misses a dose of his many crucial medications. Throughout his hospital stays she had made sure he has been alone as little as possible during this frightening time in his life. Because my Dad is admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston whenever he has surgery, my Mom has had to stay in a hotel for the duration of each hospital stay. Sometimes these hotel stays total more than $200 per night. Furthermore, because of the severity of my Dad’s illness, my Mom has been out of work since January. This has forced my Parents to survive on my Dad’s salary alone.
THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL: Meeting Dr Pratt several years ago has truly been a blessing as she has provided my Dad with the best clinical treatment and information available. However, because of the vicious circle that adhesions cause, my parents (with the full support of Dr. Pratt) have started looking for other avenues to try to treat this terrible disease. My parents recently discovered a physical therapy clinic called Clear Passage. This clinic specifically treats patients with abdominal adhesions through a series of deep, intensive massages that are able to loosen and break up the adhesions without surgery. They boast an incredible success rate and offer many inspiring testimonials of patients never requiring additional surgeries after their treatments. We believe this is the best possible course of action to heal my Dad and give him his life back.
WHY I AM ASKING FOR HELP: There are several factors that make getting my Dad to this clinic very difficult. First, the clinic is located in Gainesville, Florida. Second, the sessions are five days a piece. Due to the severity of my Dad’s condition, the clinic has requested that he be admitted for two consecutive sessions, requiring my parents to travel down to Florida and stay there for two weeks. Third, and most important, on top of the excessive travel and hotel fees, this unique and highly specialized treatment costs a staggering $12,000. At this time, we are doubtful that the treatment will be covered by his insurance, leaving my parents to come up with this colossal amount of money on their own. It is my great hope that by reaching out, I can help get my Dad down to Florida to be treated and cured by the specialists at Clear Passage. It is with a sincere heart that I ask you to help lighten this burden for my Parents. Any amount that you can donate will help and no amount is too small to make a difference. Please know how grateful I am that you have taken the time to read this and that you care about saving my Dad.