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 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.


Henry Chu said...

Wow, a bike ride on a cold drizzling day. I bet it was both a physical and mental victory. But you are now paying for it with a cold like symptom. May be next time we can go together to White Rock Lake when the weather is nice. Your craving for a bike ride is contageous. I have not done one for a long long time.
I always wondered if King Hezekiah is the author of Psalm-116. Though the name of the author for Ps116 was not given in the Bible, but I suspect it was written by King Hezekiah, after he was healed, saved by God from his deadly discease. My theory is, he was too humble to put down his name to it. Irregardless of my silly theory, Psalm 116 has always been one of my all time favorites.

Curtis Frodge said...

hey man glad to hear you are doing so much better, so up for a ride to arlington? ;) haha glad to see another post from you too man i miss hearing about you but i think about you both often and keep you in my prayers dude. God bless

Debbie Peck said...

Hallelujah and amen!!

johnciavola said...


richard said...

Thanks Greg for this story. It certainly helps us to put things into perspective We need that. It caused me to think back to our ski trip just after your leg surgery. I saw that same joy on your face then as you skied down the mountain (much better than I did). Thanks for your faith in the midst of what most of us would see as adversity.

Lynn Scroggin said...

You continue to inspire me with your "Spirit". You are an inspiration to me and I share your stories with my 3 adult children who are each fighting their own demons. I hold you up to them so if you ever meet them they will tell you "oh you're the guy my mom is so high on!". Keep on going Greg. We need you carrying the torch for us right now. May God continue to bless you and your loved ones so you can do his work. Grace and Peace, Lynn

Sally said...

Thanks for sharing your moment of joy with us! We love you guys!

Carl said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience of taking life one day at a time. A beautiful true story. The message is as simple as that, trust in the Lord and take one day at a time.

Willeyne Berger said...

You are quite a magificent guy! Keep up the marvelous attitude.

Madeleine said...

Your gifts and talents as a writer are superb, Greg, making this page such a great opportunity to look into the mind and spirit of a believer in times of raw struggle and testing. Thanks for your vulnerability to do this. Way cool bike ride. I'll bet that was amazing to be able to take that ride and to compare it to your moments in ICU. Praise the Lord, indeed!

Judy Wu said...

Greg - I'm so glad that you heeded your impulse to enjoy a divine moment. The Lord's gifts certainly come in interesting and unexpected packages :) I pray that you would continue to sense his deep love and pleasure. Come to think of it... I pray that we all would!