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.

Friday, August 1, 2003

First meeting with Hoff

Yesterday, I had my first meeting with my new clinical oncologist, Dr. Hoff.

We decided that we were not comfortable working with Dr. Xiong and his team and were able to switch to Dr. Hoff, who had moved back to MDACC last week after being out of the country due to visa problems. Incidentally, Dr. Hoff is the leading researcher who discovered that the oral chemo I am now taking, Xeloda, is just as effective as its intravenous alternative, 5-FU, which causes worse side effects. Ironically, his work is why I am taking the regimen that I am.
We had very good meetings with his nurse, his P.A., a nutritionist, and with the "Pharm-D" (the pharmaceutical PhD member of his team). I have great confidence in him and the team he has assembled. Dr. Hoff reiterated in a clear manner the gamble we are currently being forced to take. The decision from the beginning is chemo first or surgery first. He indicated neither is obviously better, which is why there seems to be confusion from doctor to doctor. Chemo first is better if it works, which is 50-50. If it does not, it would have been much better to do surgery first due to the risks of emergency surgery while taking chemo. Dr. Hoff actually said he would have probably had me do surgery first if he had seen me in the beginning, but now that we have some early indications that the chemo may be working, then we should continue the course we are on.
In the meantime, it has become increasingly important that I not get obstructed. So they put me on a very restricted diet of virtually no fiber. It is nothing less than an upside-down diet. In the cereal category, Cocoa Pebbles are good, raisin bran should be limited, and shredded wheat is not allowed. I can eat all the steak, eggs, and sausage I want. But in the vegetables category, it says "none". It was a funny moment when the nutritionist had to sort of force her mouth to say "no vegetables". "You know it's hard for me to say that", she laughed. This diet is temporary while I am on chemo before the surgery.
In the good news category, we spoke with his P.A. about my CEA level. She said this is definitely a good sign. The change from 123 to 14 is something for which to be thankful. Also, Dr. Hoff thought the colonoscopy pictures from this week looked encouraging compared to those of two months ago.
Last night, Christine, her parents, Judy Wu, and I all went to a Spanish tapas restaurant in Rice Village. We had great food (albeit no veggies for me!) and enjoyed the Flamenco dancing.
This afternoon I go in for the I.V. chemo at 4pm. We'll stay here over the weekend at the Rotary House to monitor side effects while staying close to the hospital.


Curtis Frodge said...

well good buddy i will have you in my prayers at 4pm then for sure!! its good to hear you switched to dr hoff and that you are more comfortable there, that is encouraging. im also happy to hear you enjoyed your day off. its pretty amazing how often you mannage to update this site, i enjoy hearing updates from you and i know everyone else does also. youll have to show me this crazy flamenco dancing you talk of, im not sure ive ever heard of it. cant wait to see you back at church man, love ya

Craig & Maria said...

Thanks for your updates. You handle hard providence to give glory to the One who said He will help. Praying for you daily; be kind to Carl he is a dear friend and charter member of the "Staffordshire Stiffs".
Craig & Maria

Josh Geiger said...

Hello Greg,
Thanks for the e-mail! Glad to hear that you are pleased with the new doctor. I hope the treatment went well today. I expected to see you at Susan's funeral but when I didn't I knew you must be getting treatment. It was a beautiful service in which Christ was honored and the hope of the gospel clearly proclaimed. We'll have to find a good tapas bar here in Dallas and go soon, as I have never been to one.
You and Christine are in our prayers!
With you in His grace, Joshua

Jim MacNally said...

Sounds like a real encouraging session. Always knew that cheesburgers, french fries, donuts and coffee were the four major food groups anyway.
We keep praying.....
God bless...