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.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Trouble, mystery and irony

I just returned to Dallas tonight after a rough week in Houston. Wednesday's lab work showed a CEA a about the same level (10.0), so it is indeed elevated. To be sure, this was quite discouraging. I wrestled with whether to ask Christine to come down because I knew how hard it would be for her and figured she would come if I needed her. I decided to ask her Wednesday evening and she caught the last flight down to Houston that night to be with me in spite of her own pain. Waiting for her and meeting her late that night at Hobby Airport reminded me of our courting days, when we lived in different cities and spent what money we had on plane tickets - money that was worth it when we saw each other in the terminal. In between all the appointments and tests, we had a wonderful time together - talking, comforting each other, praying, reading Scripture, laughing. And it made the trip back to Dallas much more enjoyable (although I still had to look at Pillsbury Sam-boy). The week was rough on her physically, but I'm really glad she came.

We met with Dr. Vauthey and Dr. Hoff together Wednesday morning. They only had preliminary results from my liver/abdomen CT scan. They saw no evidence of tumors to explain the high CEA. But they gave the disclaimer that the radiologist is better at examining the scans and his report had not yet been written. While no cancer was apparent, they did notice that the veins around my spleen were quite enlarged. Both Dr. Hoff and Dr. Vauthey were very perplexed by this and said they had not seen anything like it before. (One friend told me later in response, "see what a special guy you are, Greg!") Every week there is some sort of MDACC oncologist conference in which they participate, and on April 14th the conference will have some outside "experts" attending. So Dr. Vauthey decided they will discuss my case at the conference on that day to determine how to further investigate this blood vessel mystery.

Meanwhile, my doctors called for two things as a result of these findings. One, they had me take a CT scan Wednesday night of my lungs to see if anything evil is going on there. The official results of this and Tuesday's scan should be ready Friday. Two, they told me to stop the chemo. There is some chance that the Xeloda can cause some elevation of the CEA due to liver toxicity. So after three weeks of no Xeloda, we'll retake the CEA. If the number is down - terrific. If not, and if this is a recurrence of cancer, then the Xeloda is not working anyway so it is not useful to be taking it. They wouldn't really address any what-if's because there are too many uncertainties right now. So we wait.

The short term positive of all this is that for the first time in almost a year, I will be off chemo and not recovering from some major surgery. I'll probably appear and feel as healthy as I have in a long time. Such is the irony of cancer.


John Slaughter said...

Hang in there Greg. We are all praying and pulling hard for you.

Jim and Coco said...

Our hearts break for you and our eyes fill with tears yet we know He is faithful and in His Grace we all find comfort.
God bless as you continue to walk with Him.

Henry Chu said...

I am so glad to hear that you are off chemo and do not need to recover from any major surgery. The Bible says: The "joy of the Lord is our strength", and "a joyful heart is the best medication". In the mean time, we will again lean on God through prayer networks here and abroad. We cannot rule out the possibility that this could be God's way off healing without depending on chemo.
Jesus said, the heavean and earth will pass away, but not even one stroke of the Law will be done away. So joy must be an effective medication as God presccribed.
Greg, your joyful heart is the best medication. Some times ago, I sank into a long period of despression. I have been prompted to sing praises to the Lord, sing old old hymns, write letter of encourgement to missionaries and the downcast, demonstrate Bible Study method to new believers. Though they seemed incredible and so remote, I was unwilling. But eventually, I did as recommend-ed, and God used these activities to start a new season in my heart. The joy surpassed all reasons.
This morning I listened to Dr. Joshua Usef on the way to work (KERA FM 101.7). I was greatly helped by this Egyptian born preacher. He read off from proverb this morning, which says: God detests a lying lip. So he questioned himself, "Do I want God to detest me?". Boy, this is a powerful reminder to me!
By the way, Have you watched The Passion of the Christ yet? I have been so touched that I have wathced it twice already, both time with good friends from different nations, one from India and one from Algia. I pray that I will get to watch a few more times with more friends from many places. I hope that you will take the time to watch it.
For the first time in my life, I realize what is meant by loving Jesus on an emotional level.
Also many people have witnessed the gentle healing and strengthening power of Chinese Shadow Boxing. A gentle art of exercise. Let me know if you are interested.
In Christ,

Madeleine Rosemond said...

Dear Greg and Christine, What an incredible journey the Lord has prescribed for you; and as you know, He is faithful to all His promises to you. He will always do exceedingly more than we can ask or think. I love what your friend Henry says about the Joy of the Lord being your Strength. What a great testimony he gave about this. So, rejoice in God's goodness to you as you, like so many before you (Hebrews 11), walk by faith. With love and many prayers, Madeleine

Vince, Helen Corvino & Kids. said...

The other side of no chemo and recovery is on Ressurection morning the candy will taste better, but don't over do it. We are still praying for you guys.
In His Love,
Vince, Helen & Kids

Adam said...

Greg & Christine,
Though you both have mighty thorns you are both battling, continue serving the Lord. He is faithful and true.
Thank you for the continuous testimony. We think of you and pray for you continuously.
- Adam & Amanda