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TURNING POINTS: For five years, people have told us their life-changing stories...
by Rhoda Fukushima, Saint Paul Pioneer Press
The following article appeared in the December 29, 2003 edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press updating Fukushima's earlier article about Jim.

2003 marked the five-year anniversary of Turning Point.

Since 1998, hundreds of you have shared how you turned the corner toward better health. In the beginning, many stories focused on the body, with perennially popular topics like losing weight and getting stronger. But with time and age, your definition of fitness has broadened. For many of you, it's about being well on all fronts - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Today, we revisit six people on that road.

Jim Owens, 41, of Edina, finished the 2003 American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race - his sixth. Then, he resumed chemotherapy for the brain tumor he has had since 1998. Treatment went well through July. He was working, working out and planning to ride in Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's charity event.

But August was tough. "My eighth round (of chemotherapy) hit me like a freight train. My oncologist said, 'I think you're done.'

"I was ecstatic. While you're doing the chemo, the purpose is to get through it. Now, it's tougher to be done and do the waiting game: Will it come back? But I can't focus on that. There is so much to give me hope.

"My tumor has gone dormant again. Areas that were growing have stopped growing. There's been some shrinkage. The swelling has been reduced. I'm not having seizures.

"My faith has a lot to do with my good results. It's helped me accept and move beyond the limitations I do have. I'm an epileptic. I have some memory issues.

"I have a time bomb. But I have some control over what is going to happen with it - keeping myself in good physical condition, eating well, sleeping, praying.

"I have no illusions. This tumor is coming back. My doctors said you can't think otherwise, but hopefully it's coming back five-plus years from now. Everything from cancer vaccines to gene therapy may be available at that time. Right now, I am looking at a lifelong disease that I will manage my whole life.

"Right now, I'm in really good shape. I'm ready to start racing. I'm determined to do 20 of these (Birkies) or more. If I'm able to walk, I'm going to ski it.

"I'm going full speed ahead."

Have you turned the corner toward good health? If so, we want to hear your story. Please e-mail your ideas to rgfukushima@pioneerpress.com, call Rhoda Fukushima at (651) 228-5444, or mail them to Turning Point, c/o Rhoda Fukushima, 345 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55101.