The Struggle Has Ended

Greg Hewlett passed away on January 17th after nearly eight years of battling colon cancer. While we grieve his loss, we are comforted to know that he is with his Lord.

If you would like to leave your thoughts on Greg, please see this thread.

If you would like to make a charitable donation in Greg's honor, please see this thread.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Surgery info, location, our address

The surgery will be Wednesday, June 4, performed by Dr. Philip Huber
Time is not yet determined, but probably late morning or midday.
It will be at St. Paul University Hospital in Dallas.

Our home address is 4409 Taylor Lane, Richardson, TX 75082.

The original bad news

I received some very bad news this week. It came in waves. My doctor, Dr. Oeffinger, who I hope to tell you more about, set me up with a GI doctor to do a series of tests to determine the source of bleeding �somewhere between my nose and my rear.� I had low blood counts indicating loss of blood somewhere. Thursday, I had a colonoscopy and a esophagogastroduodectoscopy (a new word I learned this week!) to investigate. It turned out to be a relatively easy procedure and there was no pain involved. The process was simply to put me to sleep then insert a probe into my digestive tract from both ends to look around. We were expecting to find a polyp or two in the colon, as this is a genetic condition and has occurred in my father and his brother. The doctor would remove it and that would be the end of this episode.

We did find a few polyps, but also a horrible looking mass that is cancerous. It is in the part of the colon just next to the liver. My mother, who was with us, and Christine found out first, as I was still in recovery from the anesthesia. Mom and Christine listened quietly as the doctor told me when I woke up. The rest of the day, Christine and I were shocked. But surprisingly (at least to me) we were really taking it in stride. After all, there was a good possibility that it could be removed with no necessary follow-up chemotherapy. This was the exact path my uncle had taken several years ago.

Incidentally, as far as anyone knows, this cancer has absolutely no relation to the bone cancer I had in 1982-1985. The only relation is that we discovered the low blood counts during my yearly check-up, which I have been somewhat faithfully having since the first fight with cancer.

The next day (Friday) we visited the surgeon. The surgery to remove the tumor is quite major. He told me to expect not to work or drive for four weeks. The reason is that they must go through the stomach muscles, which are used in just about every physical activity. After visiting the surgeon and beginning the process of preparing emotionally for the four week ordeal, I had a CT Scan.

We returned to Dr. Oeffinger�s office, not really expecting to hear anything new. We had completed a full day of tests, thought everything was under control, and were ready to call it a day. The short visit turned out to be a major visit. Dr Oeffinger told us the crushing news. The CT revealed that the cancer was not localized in the colon but had spread to �many places� on the liver. This moved the cancer from what he thought was a level B to �at least� level C, and possibly D. I�m not that familiar with the scale. Perhaps some of you are. I only know that all cancers are categorized as A,B,C, or D, depending upon their aggressiveness and the amount they have invaded other parts of the body.

He was realistic in communicating that my prognosis is not good. But he does not consider the situation even near hopeless. We�re going to get that mass out of there, then turn our attention to the liver. One day at a time, one obstacle at a time. The lesions on the liver can be treated, and some patients see success, especially in recent years. He told me I had four strong things going for me � my youth (I�m 35), my health, my personal support network, and the power of prayer. The last two are the reasons I ask you to join me in this fight.

Motivation for this site

Thanks, Rollin and Mark, for setting me up with this site. Many people have inquired about my situation, so I asked Mark to set up a place where I can put information. My primary reason for doing this is simple � I am desperate for people to pray for me, and I hope this will assist and encourage my friends and family in doing just that. It is also here because I would like to share my thoughts in the hope that others might find in them some ways to deal with their own sufferings in this world. Finally, with no other confidence but in my king, Jesus, I know that something beautiful will come from this. And I want to declare this beauty to the world.