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, May 23, 2005


crosshairs.JPG"Just lie there still
Like a sack of potatoes."
Fragments of sound from a smile.
Surely these recited utterances had meaning
Her first time.

A sack of potatoes, I lay.
Obedient. Naked. Marked. Numbered.
For the best. They do care. They must.

Indigo stripes shamelessly violate
The buttocks. Hip. Back.
Crosshairs tatooed for the gun
To be aimed at naive potatoes.

Do the white-jacketed figures feel?
Gathered at the screen. Pointing. Scheming.
Dutifully murmuring about millimeters and degrees.

A hand, human, touches my shoulder
Grants permission to rise, dress.

"We'll see you Tuesday."
A voice. More recited utterances.
"Don't forget free valet with validation"

I emerge. Delivered.
Gaze skyward.
No longer a sack of potatoes.

The morning mirror insists still
That I am.

Status after trip to Houston

Highlights of our trip:

* CT scan was clear - no visible cancer. I am so thankful for this good result.

* CEA (cancer blood marker) was up to 4.6 (normal is below 3-4). This is "some concern" to my oncologist, but not alarm. It has gone up due to chemo in the past, so it is possible that the elevation does not indicate microscopic cancer. I pray not.

* Radiation/chemo is next to reduce chances of recurrence in the area of the last surgery. I decided to have this done in Houston at MD Anderson with the team of doctors I've grown to respect and who know my case well. External radiation treatments will be daily from 5/31 until 7/12. I will take chemo (Xeloda) at 75% level during this time to make radiation work better. It's not looking to be pleasant, and long term side effects include a small possibility of getting another cancer. But all doctors involved seem to be in agreement that it is best to go ahead with this treatment. It's funny - the chemo oncologist told me the radiation will be worse than chemo. The radiation oncologist said, no, chemo is worse. I guess I'll find out.

* After radiation treatments, the plan is for 8 more weeks of chemo. So, that puts me at a end-of-treatment date around mid September.

* The hernia repair during last surgery turned out not to last very long. A new hernia has developed several inches long in my ab wall. This will require surgery, although it can wait a year or two. Funny how cancer changes perspective. Before diagnosis, if I were told I had to have gut-opening surgery to repair a hernia, it would have been a pretty big deal. Now, it's like, "is anybody going to die? prob." Seriously, this is disappointing, but doesn't strike fear down deep the way cancer news does. You think maybe I could sell my ab on ebay and just get a new one?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Spring hope

memdayrose.JPG I have completed my four post-surgery cycles of chemotherapy. My body is hanging in there - weak but still kicking. Tomorrow, we leave to go to MD Anderson for evaluation and to discuss with doctors what is next. Everything is dependent on the scans that are taken. I am counting on them being clear! We'll find out if they still want to do radiation on the area of the most recent surgery, and if so when, where (Dallas or Houston), and what dosage. After that, maybe some more chemo. Every day that creeps by is one day closer to the end of treatment.

Here's the first bloom from my recently planted "Memorial Day" rose bush -- a spring first fruit of better things to come.

Natasha is healthy and growing. She is still in the neo-natal care unit. Here are some pics from last weekend visiting Natasha - all four pounds of her! We're all looking forward to her coming home.
ChristineNatasha.jpg GregNatasha.jpg