Bowe seemed destined to be on his way home having worked so hard just to make the tour following a four-month spell on the sidelines with the serious knee injury he suffered in December, but he has somehow returned to fitness in time to feature in what could be the defining moment of his career.
"The swing in emotions was huge, going from the lowest of the low to the high of having a chance of playing in the Test series," said Bowe, who will win his fourth Lions cap having started all three internationals in South Africa four years ago.
"It was tough to see the x-ray of the fracture put up on the board and be told that that's pretty much my tour over.Everyone in the hospital said I would be out for at least six weeks.
"To be then told by the surgeon that he's had guys come back within three weeks, which would enable me to get back for selection for the second Test; to then have to go through all the physio and everything else to try and get myself back and available; and to now be picked, has been a bit of a roller coaster.
"When I injured my knee in December, it looked like that was going to be my season over so to come back in four months from that was really pushing the boundaries. I got myself back fit and played two or three games before the Lions selection so I was really cutting it fine. And to do that again on this tour, I'm putting my family through a hell of a lot of stress! Hopefully it will all be worth it this weekend."
Bowe faced a frantic regime to recover from his latest setback, with the good work of surgeon Dr Peter Rowan followed up by vast amounts of physio, tablets and a personalised training schedule ahead of tomorrow's crucial clash at the Etihad Stadium.
The 29-year-old will wear a hurling glove recommended by fellow Ulster wing Andrew Trimble but he insists all the work he has done over the past 20 days has ensured he is fully fit and that there are no worries that the hand won't stand up to the rigours of Test-match rugby.
"I've done anything and everything I can do to try and get it fixed. The first week was pretty much in a cast, keeping it elevated, taking calcium tablets and omega tablets and whatever else to try and get the vitamins in. Initially the scar was the big thing. They needed to get the scar to heal over, but once that happened and it scabbed over a bit, I was able to start to ice it up. I had to keep it in a glove anytime I wanted to ice it - I couldn't get it wet," added Bowe.
"I had to constantly massage it and try and get the swelling down. It had swelled up like a fat man's hand, like Richard Hibbard's hand! You couldn't see my knuckles. But eventually the swelling started to go out of it and that's when I really started to get my grip back.
"I was constantly doing exercises to try and keep the range and get my strength back but I couldn't believe how quickly the strength returned. I was able to shake hands and grip on to things in maybe seven or eight days, which was unbelievable.
"I've got full grip strength now and my mobility's great. I'm wearing a glove just for protective purposes but it's just a bit of cushioning. I'm feeling good to go."
Tommy Bowe will wear a protective hurling glove when he runs out this weekend
While Warren Gatland made it clear that Bowe had always been pencilled in to return tomorrow, there were still a few eyebrows raised when he was drafted straight back into the starting side at the expense of Alex Cuthbert.
The Welshman scored a superb solo try at the Suncorp Stadium in the opening Test and Bowe hasn't played since June 8. Bowe admits that his head coach has made a big call but he is confident he can repay that faith in the best possible fashion by helping fire the Lions to an historic success on Saturday.
"I've missed two-and-a-half weeks, which is not ideal, but I've played two games earlier in the series and I thought I went well and I was happy with how I was playing. I know I'm capable of getting myself back up to match speed fairly quickly and with the training I've done over the last week, certainly with the fitness and the ball skills, I haven't dropped anything.
"I thought Cuthy played very well last week and scored a fabulous individual try, so coming in for him as a straight swap puts a huge amount of pressure on me and I know that. But that's where I like to be. I like to have a bit of pressure on me. It's probably pushed me on to play what will need to be one of the best games of my career.
"These are the sort of games that you want to be involved in. You have your career in rugby to play in big games. Getting injured is the hardest part of professional sport. Whenever you get picked to play in a match like this it makes it all worth it…as long as you win."