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, March 29, 2004

Possible troubling news

I am back in Houston for tests and visits with Dr. Hoff and my liver surgeon, Dr. Vauthey. Today was supposed to be an uneventful visit with Dr. Hoff, who is monitoring my health during the chemotherapy. However, my CEA level, which is the blood marker that shows cancerous activity, was up significantly. It has been in the 3�s and 4�s since it first came down when I started chemo last summer. Today, it was 9.5. Dr. Hoff was perplexed by this, and said he would not have expected it at this time. He asked me some questions about what I had eaten before the blood was taken and said he wanted to retest, as this could be a fluke. He seemed concerned, but didn�t want to conclude anything until we retest. To say that I hope that it is a fluke would be a huge understatement.

Tomorrow, then, I will redo the blood work and will get a CT scan as originally planned. Dr. Vauthey ordered the CT Scan � it has been three months (plus some) since the surgery and he wants to examine how the liver is doing. I will try to find out what the blood work result is tomorrow afternoon, but will find out for sure on Wednesday morning with my appointment with Dr. Vauthey.

Unfortunately, Christine is not with me. Her health was particularly bad this weekend and we decided it was best if she rested this week instead of trekking to Houston. We really hoped this would be an uneventful week.

By faith, I have accepted my remarkable progress thus far as the Lord hearing the cries of his people on my behalf. Please continue to pray that I will remain free from this disease and that the tests tomorrow show me clean of cancer.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Visit from Sarah, Margus, and Mati

C_G_Terillis_sm.jpg Margus_Sarah_Terillis_sm.jpg Mati_bench_sm.jpg

Last weekend we enjoed a visit from Christine's sister, Sarah, and her husband, Margus, and little 20-month old Mati. We had a good, if short, time together. We had not seen them in quite some time because of our surgery-altered Christmas plans. Mati is such fun. He really liked the pigs and ducks at Spring Creek Farm. Here we are enjoying dinner and jazz at Terilli's. Mati was home asleep with a sitter. We didn't think he'd be in the mood for the night out. You can view the album here.

Meanwhile, I'm recovering very well from the surgery. I haven't had any significant pain for a couple weeks now. I began another round of chemo this week. It is beginning to wear on me somewhat - sort of a low-grade sickness and fatigue. The best thing for this seems to be sleep.

Monday, March 1, 2004

A bicycle ride

It has been a while since I have written. I have been fighting a cold of some sort, and now Christine has caught it. The chemotherapy is tolerable although the "yuck" symptoms are beginning to occur. I am able to do some normal things, albeit with limited strength and as long as I take lots of naps. I can definitely do this for a few more months. It is good to think that this may be all I have to endure of this treatment.

I must tell you about my first bicycle ride after nearly a year. A couple of weeks ago, I got a strong urge to ride my bicycle. This was odd, for it was about 40 degrees and drizzling outside. Nevertheless, I had an unexpected burst of adrenaline that demanded to get back on that bike.

I pumped the tires back up - they had gone completely flat. I wondered if all the requisite parts of my body would coordinate properly to ride. As I left the garage and got as far as the next door neighbor's driveway, I came to my senses and marveled at my own stupidity. Had I forgotten that I was on chemotherapy? Had it slipped my mind that my abdominal wall was sliced several directions and filled with scar tissue? The rain was so cold as it hit my face. I turned around, wondering what ill-conceived idea had gotten into my head. But as suddenly as I turned around, the urge to press on returned and I turned around once more. I'm going to ride this bike no matter what, I resolved. This brand new liver needed a test-drive.

My leg began burning - the kind of feeling that I would not have experienced in the past until after miles of cycling. I pressed against the wind and rain for about a half-block when an unexpected joy came over me. I could not stop thinking about how two months earlier I was lying in ICU in great pain wondering how I could muster the strength to exist through each creeping minute ahead of me. How far I had come! I rejoiced as I pedaled. How far I had come! My life had hung on edge just months ago and here I was riding my bicycle in ridiculous conditions. I laughed to myself. I thanked my Creator. "Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy." I continued to press on. Am I free from disease, or am I in a break during a losing battle? At this moment, who cares? I'm riding my bike in the rain! How odd it was that this could be an enjoyable experience. In all, the trip lasted a block. But it was indeed my most enjoyable bike ride. The rain on my face was exhilarating. Am I mad? I came back wet and freezing, but in a great mood.

Joy, it seems, sometimes depends upon which side of suffering we live.