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, September 18, 2003

The night before surgery

It is an odd night. Dark, quiet, surreal. I sit in bed at the Rotary House across from the hospital. It would be too crazy (even for us) to try to make it to downtown from Conroe early tomorrow morning. Christine is sleeping - a long day today and a longer one tomorrow. I feel so, well, healthy and pain-free. Can't it continue? Oh yes, I remember... this pain is necessary to remove the silent threat.

I'm familiar with being put under for operations. I counted today - this will be the 22nd time I have been given general anesthesia. This one will be the most serious yet. Seventeen were for an intra-arterial chemo treatment I had with my previous cancer. The other five were miscellaneous cancer-related operations. Seems there ought to be a prize or something.
My anesthesiologist told me that my surgeon, Dr. Rodriguez-Bigas, is one of the tops in the whole institution. "He could probably be chief, except that he is a family man." I am thankful once again to be able to be treated here.
Do I fear? Well, I do fear the pain. Although the anesthesiologist told me today that this surgery is much better than the liver surgery will be. That was comforting... in a short term way. Also strong on my mind is what they might find. I am praying and hoping that they will not discover any cancer they do not already know about from radiology tests.
Strangely enough, I'm also feeling something akin to excitement. This surgery is the next step on the road to recovery. I made it through the first step - diagnosis and getting started at MDACC. I made it through the second - almost three rounds of chemo that worked great. Now, I thankfully made it through these last two weeks with no further obstruction. The waiting is over. Now its time to take the field and play. I'm determined to take step three.
I have been thinking much about the Resurrection the past few days. The past few months, actually. In it, I find the only hope in this tough world. No place else. When things were getting tough for Jesus and the Twelve, he asked them if they wanted to abandon him. Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." It is in this dark night that I especially realize there is no place to be but in the arms of our Creator. In these arms I feel a deep joy, albeit a joy sometimes clouded by immediate circumstances.
For those joining me in prayer, my requests for tomorrow are
- That Christine and I would have the peace that Jesus gives (John 14:27) in our souls in the coming days.
- For the hands of Dr. Rodriguez. That the surgery would be successful with no leakage, infection, or other complications.
- That his search for more cancer would come up empty and that this operation would be a step towards full recovery.
- That I would quickly gain strength, recovering fully, and soon be able to get back on chemo.
I'm signing off for a few days. I'll be loopy on morphine. (Aah, the sweet sound of that word. A melodius sound, really... mor-pheeene... a common grace gift from God that mercifully oozes through the body erasing pain).
Mark will keep you up to date in the meantime.


matt boulter said...

thanks be to God that there is no resurrection without the cross, just as there is no beautiful Monarch butterfly without the "cocoon experience," or no beautiful rose bush without the pruning.
when we think "resurrection," we immediately must think "cross," ... and you are right: this ALONE makes sense of this painful world.
you are in my and bouquet's (and bella's, our new baby daughter's) prayers tonight.
love in christ

Madeleine said...

Blessings on you and Christine in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ ~ you are in God's care ~ the Lord be with you ~ to God be the Glory!

David said...

Greg, Thank you for your continued, unshakable faith in God. It is a wonderful testimony. I'll be praying for you and Christine today.
To God be the Glory for the great things that He has done and will do!

Cody said...

Thank you, brother, for walking through this valley in faith and letting us see what it means to endure misery as a Christian. Julie and I and our church are still praying for you and Christine.
Cody and Julie

Clay Jones said...

Having had similar abdominal surgery on more than one occassion, relish the pain because it is an integral part of the recovery timetable. After a day or two of medicated pain relief, get up, walk as much as you can to wake up your gut and keep pain medication to a bearable minimum to improve the rate of healing.
After the first week, you will get better rapidly. Linda and I sincerely believe and pray that this will be a very positive journey for you, ending in a full recovery. Just take it one step at a time and maintain your God-given faith, patience and humility. Bright days ARE ahead! Unfortunately, you probably won't be in position to partake in ISG's Fall BBQ on 10/4/03, but come on down anyway.
- Clay & Linda Jones