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, September 6, 2003


They released me last night from the hospital. My attending physician was supposed to sign discharge papers around 3 or 4pm, but he got pulled into a major surgery and didn't show up until 8. He apologized and told me it was an unfortunate change of schedule. "Big tumor we had to pull out..." he recalled, "rough surgery." Made me wonder for a moment what they'll be saying when they open me up.

Christine and I were planning on going out to celebrate, but by the time I got home I was exhausted and crashed for about 11 hours. Even though I had been in bed for a week, I still needed to rest. Ironically, hospitals are terrible places to rest. They come in the room for all sorts of reasons almost hourly to wake you up and talk to you, stick you with needles, probe you or just take out your trash. I've thought carefully about it this week and I think this is how it works: They have a sophisticated system of timers - one for each room. A given timer is set for 90 minutes when they leave a patient's room. When your timer goes off, they think of a new reason to come in to make sure you don't go too long without interruption. It is a remarkably well-organized operation that requires great teamwork.
Christine awoke today with an unbearable headache that responded to no meds she had. I had little energy to help, and called our friend Tom Kistner. He was kind enough to drive her to the ER to get a narcotic treatment. So right now, a mere 18 hours after I was released, Christine is at the hospital. And I'm at home facing the task of packing as soon as possible to get the Houston. I may fly down ahead of her so she can be relieved of having to prepare in half a day for a month trip. I hope she comes soon. She was a wonderful companion in the hospital, sleeping in the room most nights, overseeing my care, and giving me great comfort.
It looks like I'm going to spend the next month or two in Houston. I'll go right away so I can be there in case another obstruction occurs. Surgery is scheduled for the 19th, but that will be confirmed once I meet with my doctor on Monday. I believe recovery takes a few weeks - the first week or so in the hospital and a couple weeks rest. Then, I'll get back on chemo.
To be candid, I am terrified of being obstructed again. The pain was about as severe as any I've encountered and the vacuum "treatment" was nearly as bad. I wouldn't mind fasting for two weeks, but they want me eating, so I am back on solid foods. Please pray that I would not be obstructed again and that the surgery or whatever they prescribe will be successful. Also, pray that Christine will recover and will be able to join me there soon.
On a good note, Dr. Hoff called me yesterday afternoon to discuss my situation. He advised me not to panic and told me that surgery is a good thing to do now. I asked if this was a major setback as far as the long term prognosis goes. He answered with an emphatic "no". The chemo is just as effective after surgery as before and it is just as well that we get that primary tumor out of there and eliminate the chance of another interruption like this one.
I'm thankful to be out of pain and at home right now. It is a wonderful feeling to be home.


Ruth Horne said...

Greg, we wish you could enjoy that feeling of being home a little longer before heading back down to Houston, but know that our prayers are daily with you and Christine.
Regarding your theory about the system of timers, I think you have it pegged. I spent about a month with my sister in intensive care in Houston last winter, and there I think the average interval for disturbing was more like 30-45 minutes!

Joshua Geiger said...

Dear Greg & Christine, My heart is heavy as I read of the many trials you both have faced in the last week. We will be praying for strength - inwardly and outwardly - for both of you. We love you! With you in His grace, Joshua

Cody Ray said...

We're praying for you two, praying that Christine will be able to join you soon, and that God will rule and overrule as the doctors make their decisions. We love and miss you both very much. I'm still expecting you for a round or two of 18 when your health returns (don't worry, I'm not getting much practice so my play will be typical: more Caddyshack than Cadillac. :)

Ruth Reitmeier said...

What a scary week you've endured. We are here to help as we can when you arrive in Houston. You may have heard that Reece joined us three weeks early. While in the hospital I devised my own theory: one of the machines you're hooked up to actually monitors your sleep cycles. Just as you're drifting into REM, a nurse is alerted to come check your temp, blood pressure, empty trash, etc.
It doesn't help that those hospital beds are poorly designed and offer no real support or comfort!
Let us know when you get here.

Karen Clayton said...

Greg, what a blessing to have dinner with you and your parents today. I am sending you this note to encourage you to trust in the Lord with all your heart and to draw strength from his constant comfort. Know that I pray for you and Christine daily. I am still begging the Lord to bring total healing to both of you.
Love, Karen

Jim MacNally said...

Reading your story each time you write is so encouraging. You and Christine are two of His special gifts to the many of us who know you and have walked with you. While we will never fully understand the "why" we do know the "WHO" and the He is there step by step.
Thanks for allowing us in on your journeys. We rejoice in your faithfulness and what He is doing through and for you at this time.
God bless,

Syd Christen said...

Dear Ones:
Can you even imagine not having God as we walk through those valleys?
He is carrying you: remember that when you see only one pair of footsteps.
We are praying for you both.
Dan and Syd christen

John Ciavola said...

We are praying for you both.