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, November 22, 2003

I'm out

Yesterday, they figured out what was going on with my body. I have clostridium difficile bacteria in my digestive tract. This is a stubborn bacteria, but can be treated with antibiotics. It causes a bad case of colitis -- inflammation of the bowels -- which explains the pain and cramping. Because the antibiotics can be taken orally, there was no reason to keep me in the hospital, so they discharged me late yesterday afternoon, telling me I would have to come back if I developed a fever.

I have great admiration for the local doctor, Dr. Bopanna, who was following me this week. Throughout the week, I continued to press her to release me because I thought it was pretty obvious that my problems were simply a result of my chemo. And since I tested negative for viral infection, I figured I could go home. She persisted, thinking something else weird was going on. And to the amazement of my amateur medical mind, she turned out to be right. I confess that sometimes it actually feels good to be wrong.

There is some good news in all this: the chemo was not a direct cause of the problem. It merely created conditions that made me more susceptible to stuff like this. Dr. Hoff's current plan is for me to keep taking the chemo as long as (a) the tumor keeps shrinking, and (b) my body can handle the chemo. Then, if the tumor is small enough, they'll perform surgery to remove it. This week, it was looking like (b) was unfortunately no longer true. But because it turns out that my problems are due to this bacteria, once we get it cleared up, I shouldn't expect these severe symptoms again. Still, Dr. Hoff has decided to delay my next chemo round by an extra week to let me recover. To begin chemo next Monday, he said, would be like pouring salt on an open wound.

On the way home from the hospital, Christine and I went out for an early dinner. She dropped me off at Mom's because I still needed some care. Christine had a bad migraine, so she didn't think she could care for me. When I got to Mom's, I immediately crashed (recall my earlier post about hospitals being a place where one gets no rest). Two hours later I woke up very hot. My temperature was 102. Ugh. I called Dr. Bopanna and she told me a few things to do to reduce the fever. An hour later I was to check my temp again. I did, but the fever hadn't budged.

So at 10:30pm, Mom and I did what we did last Tuesday - headed to the ER. Groundhog Day. Needless to say, I was in a terrible mood about having to be readmitted. They evaluated me in the ER for six hours, during which time the fever subsided. They figured it had to be something new - maybe the flu. Only time will tell if it develops into something. They decided that with the addition of another antibiotic for me to take, I could return home. So this week's hospital tales ended when we got home at 5:30 this morning. Or at least I hope that is the end of the tales!


Judy Kovacs said...

I'm sorry hear you had a back week. Somehow, this too is God's Wisdom in answering all the prayers in your behalf. What a comfort!

curtis frodge said...

well buddy hope you get over both of these new found sicknesses soon, maybe if you feel like it we could get together for some coffee on tuesday or something. just email me or call me if that sounds good to you ( sometimes it seems the hospitals are more trouble than help with such concentrated sickness im glad youre back out again, ill be praying for your health as well as christines. love ya

sarah said...

Hang in there Greg! Everyone on the east coast is praying for your speedy recovery from this infection. Sorry you had to do an all-nighter. Maybe it reminded you of your college days?

Adam in Tokyo said...

We are hoping that you and Christine have an enjoyable and blessed Thanksgiving this week. Please rest and regain your strength. Cheer on the Cowboy's for me since I can't watch it live.
Adam (and Amanda)

Judy Wu said...

What a major bummer. I'm praying that you'll make a speedy recovery and that the Lord continues to give you all the grace you need for your circumstances. I'm glad you're able to maintain your sense of humor. It's a great character trait that you have!

Andrew said...

Dude, I miss hanging with you. I just read the last 5 posts or so, and i couldn't help laughing.