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.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Houston trip postponed for MRI

I am not meeting with Dr. Hoff today to discuss my future treatment. He decided to postpone it until Thursday to coincide with a brain MRI that I need to get done. I have unfortunately had several headaches in the past few weeks, and I do not tend to get headaches. Because one of the places that this cancer can spread is the brain, and because headaches can be an indicating symptom for new cancer, he wanted to get the scan. However, he does not think that it is likely going to show cancer - he just wants to play it on the safe side.

After a full day headache five days ago, during which I must say that I was plagued with the unpleasant thought of its cause, Christine and I came to realize that since the surgery, I have often been sleeping on my stomach with head turned sharply. This is not normal for me - I just do it because of discomfort at the surgery site and difficulty sleeping. Since then, I stopped sleeping this way and have not had any more headaches. To say I hope this was the cause is a great understatement.

So, Thursday I have a brain MRI and meet with him to discuss my future treatment plan. Here's the interesting part... there are no studies that tell us what to do at this point. There is no data showing what protocol increases the chances of the cancer not returning for a patient like me. The main reason is that there haven't been enough cases of stage IV colon cancer (with all tumors successfully removed) to justify a full study. This causes me to have a deep humbled thankfulness. The problem I now have is a relatively good problem to have. I will likely continue taking Xeloda, but we need to decide how agressive to be with other possible drugs. I will no longer take the intravenous drug I have been taking in the past (Irinotecan) because it only works for shrinking tumors - not for killing the microscopic stuff and preventing recurrence. The decision on where to go from here, Dr. Hoff's PA said, will be made with Christine's and my input and belongs in the end to us. That's a lot of weight to bear. We're non-volunteer pioneers.

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
My God turns my darkness into light.
- Psalm 18:28


Carl said...

As with so many other passages of Scripture that have been illuminated for me during this trial, Psalm 18 will be added to that list.

Cody and Julie said...

Dearest Greg and Christine, how we miss you two! How thankful we are that the LORD has brought you thus far. May your continued successful set new trends for stage IV patients. (P.S. Greg, I'm holding off on practicing golf so that I can be as terrible as ever when we next play! Actually, I was going to play today, but Hickory was covered with a rare blanket of ice and snow yesterday.) Pass our love and joy at your success on to Christine. Tell Dulce that Mowgli says, "Bark bark, ruff."

Judy Wu said...

Praying for God's grace and peace for you and Christine to sustain you through all the moments of uncertainty that creep up, as well as continued power to increasingly grasp the typically incomprehensible depth of God's love. I praise the Lord that despite the challenging circumstances, He continues to encourage you. That's nothing short of divine! You are loved and thought of.

madeleine said...

Wow! What a wonderful verse ~ I'm putting it on my screen saver. The Lord uses your musings and updates in mighty ways, Greg. I will be praying for all the things you mentioned and for Christine's health as well. Love you both!

Josh Geiger said...

Dear Greg & Christine, I join you in thanking God for bringing you to this point - a testimony of His faithfulness. We will be praying for your MRI and for wisdom for you and the doctors as you make decisions about future treatment.
With you in His grace, Joshua

Steve said...

glad you are back online . . .
hope your Brain MRI turns on Negative . . .
and hope the headaches are gone for good
my neurologist sent me for a Brain MRI
in January 2003 to check for MS
the Best Thing was obviously that my
MRI results were Negative
the Next Best Thing was now i have an
official Radiologist Report that states
Conclusion: Normal Brain

Henry Chu said...

Dear Greg and Christine,
It is so good to hear from you, especially the part that by changing your sleeping posture, your headache goes away. The words of Paul in Second Corinthians Ch1 is such comfort. If I may swap the pronouns in a paraphrase of verses 10 anb11:
He has delivered you
from such a deadly peril,
He will deliver you.
On God you have set your hope
that He will continue to deliver you
as we help you by our prayers.
Then many will give thanks
on your behalf,
for the gracious favor granted you
in answer to the prayers of many.
Keeping you on our mind,