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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Initial plan for trip confirmed

MDAnderson2.jpg MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) called me this afternoon with the first seven items on our itinerary down there. We're headed to Houston Monday evening for the first appoinment Tuesday morning.

The initial plan highlights:
6/23 (Mon) Christine and I will drive down to Houston
6/24 (Tue) I have a series of tests and meetings from 10am until 9:30pm
6/25 (Wed) Meet with Dr. Nicolas Vauthey, the surgeon lined up for my liver tumor
6/30-7/2? I am supposed to plan on being in Houston for 5-7 working days(!) for all the possible tests and consults. And that doesn't seem to include any actual treatment.
Some notes
This came together quickly by the help of Vauthey's phy. asst., Steve Wei, who is a friend of Judy Wu, our friend from Rice. He has been helpful in explaining the process to me and pushing from the inside. One thing he explained to me is that MD Anderson likes the patient to consult first with the oncology surgeon (Vauthey), then the clinical oncologist, even though the treatment is often (and in my case) in the reverse order. Unfortunately, I don't yet have an appointment with a clinical oncologist (there are four at MDA) until the 30th. But Steve seems to think once I get down there and meet with Vauthey, they will work me in.
Steve also explained to me that the delay is not significant in the response of the liver lesion to chemo. It would be an issue if my blood CEA level (a marker for how agressive the cancer is spreading) were in the 100s or 1000s (normal level is below 5). In such a case, immediate chemo might make a difference. Since mine is at 62, it probably doesn't. This was one of my precious few "good" news objective data points from all the first rounds of tests.
Judy Wu reassured me as well on the delay. Hurrying by a week or two is not nearly as important as getting all our ducks in a row and getting a good accurate diagnosis and plan laid out. A good plan is the best way to deal with cancer. This makes sense to a guy who avoided all biology after living in a hospital for most of three years.
One of the tests on Tuesday is a special "liver protocol" CT scan which has thinner slices and intravenous-contrast timing such that it gives a much clearer picture than what I have from last week. As my job at TI is all about image quality, I can appreciate this! It won't be fun to have them "looking for trouble", when I already have plenty. But it is good to know they are being so thorough and careful to diagnose accurately. This further confirms my desire to be down there.
I am beginning to feel an improvement in strength. The best way I can describe anemia from my experiences is that it is like being at very high altitudes. I'm still up on Everest, but I'm not at the peak any longer and I'm on the way down.
Prayer requests
I have some specific requests for those who are praying:
* That nothing new will be found in the diagnosis.
* That a solid diagnosis will be made
* That wise decisions (doctors and us) will be made regarding the treatment plan (chemo choice, possible use of trial drugs, timing of surgery, whether to do the chemo in Dallas, etc)
* That I will be able to meet with a clinical oncologist soon after we get there
* That Christine's migraine will go away and she will be physically up for the trip. She has had a migraine for three solid days now and is in a very dark existence. I have a very bad disease, but she is the one physically suffering. We cannot even really talk much about Houston plans due to her condition.
* That the liver lesion will respond well to the chemo
* That the Lord might heal my body
* That Christine and I will enjoy our time together next week as a gift, and that the Lord will refine us by this fire.
* The MDACC trip has firmed and they have agreed to see me and drive my treatment
* The ongoing success of the iron treatments and my change in direction in strength
* For our friends, the Jonssons, who will be hosting us in Houston, and for others in Houston who are willing to help us
* For Judy, Steve, Dr. Jaffe and all my personal allies at MDACC


sue said...

Thank God...

Jim MacNally said...

We are there for you. God Bless....

Fran said...

Delighted to read that there is some sunshine through the gloom. Kudos to your caring friends!

Todd said...

It's good to hear that your energy levels are increasing. You and Christine will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
Todd & Tamara

Catherine said...

We think of you so often and are sharing your prayer concerns with Christ the King Church in Norman. Ryan and the boys and I will be in Houston staying with the Reitmeiers next week, visiting friends in Houston. I hope we get to see you. We'll call the Jonssons to see how we can help. Thank you for your wonderful web site, which keeps us informed so we know how to pray. Please give our love to Christine. love, the Browns

Bill Peck said...

I receive from Skip Ryan at Park Cities Pres a routine email with Transforming Thoughts. Today's is particularly relevant for you and Christine. The link:

Carl said...

I'm going to ditto Sue's "thank God". I will pray for all your requests, the one I like the best is that your body be healed, and that you and Christine will be built up by this whole deal. I know God loves you all at least as much as I do. What do you think?
On a "feet of clay" level, I 've always felt measuring twice and cutting once is a real good idea. I will also pray for your patience to let them "measure twice".God is with you, who could be against you.

Willeyne Berger said...

We have been praying for you daily.

Vince Corvino said...

Greg & Christine,
We're praying,God's hearing, and doing.
Praise the Name of God.
Vince & Family.

Ben & Heather Hopp said...

We are privileged to be able to go to the throne of grace on your behalf, Greg and Christine, knowing that our heavenly Father loves to hear His children pray. We will uphold you over the coming weeks. Thanks for keeping us all updated.

RIK said...


Steve said...

hope a definitive diagnosis will be made
quickly so that treatment plan decisions
can be made
hope Christine's migraine is already gone

Rose & Roy said...

Greg & Christine,
We've been praying for you both as we follow your website. Have a safe & successful trip to Houston next week. We KNOW you have the very best Oncologist in the Metroplex! Dr. Perkins confirmed the diagnosis of Roy's CML on 1/28/1999 and our world has not been the same since, however, Dr. Perkins has served us well through the highs and lows of WB; RB; high platelet count and all the "stuff" in between.
God be with you!

Nils Jonsson said...

Since you didn�t end up going to PCA General Assembly, you didn�t hear Tim Keller tell an anecdote that Leo apparently did hear and used in his sermon today. It seemed to me relevant to your prayer requests, and to prayer in general.
As the story goes, Alexander the Great once invited his generals to come to him if ever they were in financial need so that the imperial purse might be of aid to their families. Eventually one general took Alexander up on the offer and made it known that, as his daughter was to be married, he required funds to celebrate a proper wedding. He submitted to the treasury the request of a staggering sum of money.
The appeal was brought before Alexander, and the treasurer conveyed with it his opinion of the general�s audacity. The man clearly intended not only to pay for an extravagant wedding but to stand his daughter in good stead for life, as well. After his initial shock, Alexander considered the request and gave an unanticipated response.
�Give him what he asks,� he told the treasurer.
Incredulous, the treasurer questioned the imperial reasoning.
�This man has paid me a great compliment,� Alexander replied. �He honors me with confidence both in my immense wealth and in my magnanimity.�

Nils Jonsson said...

�Liberality� would have been a better choice of words than �magnanimity.�