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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

New plan of attack

Dr. Hoff and his colleagues have decided upon the new plan of attack. He would like for me to do 4 rounds of chemotherapy. If the abdominal tumor shows a reduction in size, then surgery would most likely follow. Because the cause of the lung spot is not certain, we'll wait to deal with that later.

Apparently, traditional thinking (up until about 5 years ago) is that if colon cancer has spread beyond the colon and the liver, then it is incurable and is only treated with the goal of extending life. But Dr. Hoff says that attitude is changing, although the issue is still debatable in the field. He assured me that he is still approaching me with the hope that we will be able to get rid of all the cancer and I will have long-term survival. To that end, the plan he has for me is the most aggressive.

The chemo protocol is currently the front line drug combination they give to new patients. The protocol is called FOLFOX with Avastin. It was experimental when I began this 19 months ago and has since been approved by the FDA. I had tried to get on that trial, but was unable to do so because I have had allergic reactions to a related drug. So I was on another regimine.

I am hoping to begin the chemotherapy on Monday. I am glad to see they are taking every precaution in my case. They want to admit me into the hospital for the first day of round one so they can carefully observe me and deal with any allergic reaction I get. Part of this will be premedication with some special drugs to prevent or mitigate any reaction. Some of the possible reactions are serious - they have to do with my ability to breathe.

My port-o-cath is not working well. (This is the pod - connected to a catheter to my heart - that is surgically placed under my skin. Chemo is injected into it.) I am scrambling to get in touch with the surgeon who placed it back in July '03. If I succeed in getting it scheduled, I will have port-o-cath replacement surgery done at Methodist Hospital here in the Med Center Thursday or Friday.

I am viewing all this as simply taking care of an area of cancer in my body that was not dealt with yet. There is no evidence the cancer has not spread to anywhere new since I was diagnosed in June 2003. I am still fighting the odds here, but fight I will. I have won some major battles in the past 19 months against this stupid disease. I just need to win some more. If the Red Sox can win 7 straight in the post-season, anything is possible.

I appreciate your prayers that the chemo will not cause any major problems and that it will sufficiently shrink the tumor towards the end of being cancer free.


Araceli Jonsson said...

Thanks for the update, Greg. I've been watching the website with bated breath. We love you both and are looking forward to trying to spend some time with you while you are here.

Beti said...

Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Romans 8:24-25 The Message

Carl said...

All our love to you and Chris. God is guiding. Where else would we go? All of us are getting closer to God through your travails. In Jesus Holy Name we trust for deliverance from this too.

Cindy said...

My prayers are with you.

Jim and Coco said...

Thanks for the update. We continue to walk with you in prayer.

Ann Strauss said...

And the Red Sox won the World Series, Greg, so you can win this battle!!!!

Anne Murray said...

We enjoyed watching the lunar eclipse with you last night (I told the girls that there really was a time lag between NJ and Texas)! If God can move the earth is there anything he cannot do? We pray that your surgery goes smoothly today and that you have a restful weekend. We miss you!
the murrays