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.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

First chemo round complete

This morning, I took my last dose of chemo for this round. I am quite happy today, and to tell you the truth, proud, to have made it through this first round day by day. Every day I got a little more fatigued, a little more queasy, and a little more nauseated. Last night I had no appetite to eat dinner at all and forced down a bowl of soup. My goal has been simple every day: Eat. Rest and conserve energy. Stay inside. Work from home. Get through the day.

It is quite an odd feeling to force myself to take pills that I know are causing me to feel lousy. One part of my brain says �take it � it�s for your good.� Another part says, �don�t take that � you know how you felt last time you took it.� And still another says, �if you keep getting worse with these pills, where are you going to end up?� In each case for the past fourteen days, the �first part� of my brain succeeded. And now my body gets a rest. Typically, the rest would be for one week, but in this case, because of the procedure on the 29th, I will get a two week rest.

I am most grateful that I did not have the serious side effects that would have forced me to stop taking the chemo. On Saturday, I did begin developing mouth and throat sores. I called my doctor and he said that if it got worse by the next day, I should call him back and I would temporarily have to stop the chemo. I thought to myself, if the sores were caused by the chemo, and if I continually take the chemo, then how could the sores possibly do anything but get worse? So I rinsed with a warm water solution of salt and baking soda, as he suggested, and I prayed. Remarkably, they were better on Sunday and gone by Monday. I must admit I was very surprised. But also thankful.


Nils Jonsson said...

Take a victory lap!
I Praise God for small reminders of his total control over every detail of your life.

Bruce Grantham said...

Hi, Greg.
This e-mail is inspired by one you wrote when you didn't feel like it, which is how I feel as I'm writing this one.
As I reflect on my phone conversation with your dad earlier this week, I have decided that the probability that he and I would have an informed discussion about the chemo protocol for osteosarcoma is 'off-the-scale' unlikely. The fact that my wife, Bert, has an incredibly youthful spirit doesn't seem to me an adequate explanation for why she would contract a predominantly male teenage disease and end up in a pediatric ward after the biopsy surgery across from the toddler play room.
Tomorrow, we go back to Presby. Hospital for chemo round three, as all osteosac. chemo is now administered on an in-patient basis. I am concerned because, prior to leaving the hopital after round two, a nurse told me that I was 'on report' at the nurses meeting. As they wheel a fold out bed for me into Bert's room, and I stay round the clock for moral support, I am trying to decide whether to shower the nurses with more gifts like the New Zealand calendars I took last time or keep a lower profile in order to get 'off report'. I am leaning towards more gifts.
When I was in high school, I imagined at one time that I might be a writer until I started comparing my English test scores with my math ones and decided civil engineering was a safer play. I believe that was the last time I came close to writing a poem. Maybe when I am finished with this next little ditty, it will be the last one for quite some time:
"How crazy now it seems to me,
that writing this e-mail I would be;
My good friend Jim and I share a woe,
Loved ones in pain with a common foe.
Osteosac. may be rare but it's just the same,
Cancer sucks by any name;
When people ask me how Bert's doing,
I say day-to-day and thanks for praying."
When I cry out to God for my wife, many times I lift your name up too.
Regards, Bruce (& Bert)

Curtis Frodge said...

Hey man! Congratulations on enduring the first round of chemo! I prayed for you yesterday when you took your pills, be sure to tell me when you're doing the pills again and I'll pray for you then too. Any other special times to be praying please tell me or just things to pray for other than strength and rest. It was really great to see you at church on wed. God bless ya brother! See you soon.

Judy Wu said...

Woooo hooooooo...
Another expression for "Praise God".

josh geiger said...

Praise God for His faithfulness to you, Greg, in bringing you through this first round! I celebrate the accomplishment with you. May the next 2 weeks be a season of destruction to the cancer and refreshment to the rest of your body & soul! - Joshua

Carl said...

Thank the Lord. I don't know how many rounds you have to go before putting this behind you, but I liked your style in round one. You prayed and leaned on God. You took it one day at a time. I like the way you fight. Don't change your game. Play your Game.