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.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Lung biopsy positive for cancer

Yesterday, I discussed the biopsy result with Dr. Eng at MD Anderson. It is indeed colon cancer that has spread to the lungs. I had actually heard the news the day earlier from my Dallas congologist, Dr. Shapiro, because they had talked. All conventional thinking says this is not curable. But Dr. Eng is not quite ready to throw in the towel. In fact, if the chemo works well, she is not ruling out the prospect for surgery in the future to remove the nodules (that is really the only known way to get rid of them permanently, but conditions for surgery are tough to meet). She has two (only two, but more than zero) patients who are clear 1.5 and 3 years out from where I am now. We have to keep in mind that 4 of the 5 available chemo drugs for colon cancer were approved later than 1998 and 2 of them were approved in 2005.

Still, this news is not good at all. Chemo does not tend to work as well in the lungs. And when tumors affect the lungs, you get fluid in them - very bad. But I'm ready to get going with some more treatment to kill these little guys in my lungs. Chemo begins Monday morning in Dallas - IV at the clinic with home pump for 48 hours. Every 14 days. Four rounds. Rough days ahead.

It is very important for this chemo to work well. The plan is a bit risky - I'll tell you more about it later. My protocol is unique.

Two things were impressed on me in my discussions with these doctors. (1) It is very rare for someone diagnosed three years ago with Stage 4 colon cancer to even be here (diagnosis was May 03). I am renewed in thanksgiving to the Lord that everything has gone so well - three difficult surgeries that went perfectly and incredible response from chemo. I am so happy to be alive. One reason Dr. Eng and others want to stay aggressive is because I am already a unique survivor. I thank you all for your prayer for me these past three years. (2) I need some more miracles. Please pray for significant tumor response to the cancer.


bradenbaugh said...

Greg, we are saddened to hear about the new tumors, but God is in control and we will keep praying for him to heal you.
Maria and Craig

Todd said...

Tamara and I will continue to pray for your situation. Tamara has added you to the prayer list for her Tuesday Bible Study Group (Grace Outreach Center - Plano).

Ben & Heather Hopp said...

Greg, we will certainly pray. If the doctors and the chemo can't get it then we will pray God's hand will work in a mighty and amazing way. Keep the faith, brother.

Cody and Julie said...

Greg, we too will ask for more miracles. He is able. We'll pray that He is willing. All Our Love to you and Christine. Cody and Julie

John & Molly Ann Tripp said...

Greg, we continue to pray for you, as do the saints at Oakland Hills Community Church here in Michigan.

Belle & Peter said...

Greg & Christine, I really don't know what to say except that I am stunned and saddened at this latest news. We will continue to pray for healing and for strength for you and Christine. Please let us know when we can help.

Dan & Syd said...

OH Greg--We are so sorry!
I know you get discouraged,and I know how hard it is to stay positive and keep getting back up after you continually get knocked back down.
We are amazed at your faith and strength--and we know where it comes from.
You are such a blessing to so many people and we are praying for you constantly.
You renew our faith.

Kathie Pagan said...

I haven't looked at your main page for a while, but for some reason went there today. The first thing I noticed was the verse: "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3
Praying that the Holy Spirit will keep your mind steadfast, at peace, trusting in the Lord - the One our help comes from, the Maker of heaven and earth. Much love to you and Christine - Kathie

Gregg and Lisa Ellerhorst said...

Greg and Christine,
You probably do not recognize the name, but my wife and I are the couple you met at the Garden Inn in Galveston about a year ago. We have a challenged little girl is doing wonderfully. Her latest challenge has been Wilms tumors on her kidneys, which were treated with chemo last summer and removed in the fall. All MRIs look clear, and we pray they stay clear.
We took our child to Medjugorje shortly after she was born, and returned with a great sense of hope for her future. We also brought back holy water from Medjugorje that was blessed during an apparition there. We would LOVE to send you and Christine some of this holy water to bless yourself, and each other with. If you would like us to do this please email me back with a shipping address and we will send it right off.
God Bless You Both,
Gregg and Lisa.

Rosemary Cromer Boustany said...

Greg, though we've never met, my friendship with your parents is over 40 years old. You are an inspiration to me and all my family and friends, with whom I often share your news. Your courage and faith are awe-inspiring. I pray that it will continue through this new trial.

Mark Horne said...

We had already been praying for you (since you mentioned the nodes) and will continue.

Colleen said...

Greg, I am so sad to see this news. As you said - you are already a unique survivor. I'll be praying that God uses this situation to show just how strong and resilient a faithful person can be in the face of such terrible obstacles. You've been an example of this so many times in your life.

sarah & family said...

Greg, this is very tough news but it sounds as if you are ready to fight this disease with everything you have. We will be thinking of you every day and hope to get out there soon so we can see you and maybe lift your spirits through these exhausting rounds of chemo.

leyla said...

You are so right to point out that 2 of the major drugs available for ccr , have only been out since 2005. The statistics we come accross are actually from another era - we have to keep that reality in mind at all times.
And remember that each case is unique, and we all know that yours is one unique story. So you just need to keep paving the way.
I am glad to hear Dr Eng has a plan in place. Supplemented by all the prayers coming your way, a good outcome cannot be too far behind.
I will be thinking of you on Monday.
Best Regards from Istanbul
"When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on "

Greg Boncimino said...

I am so sorry.
Cheryl and I will continue to pray for you and Christine. We have been monitoring your process from afar, but because of our prayers and common Lord, we are right with you.
HE is our hope.
Greg and Cheryl Boncimino

Shari Schwarz said...

strange things happen when a senior citzen tries to email. I will try again.
It seems as if the answer is small miracles instead of the Big One we pray for. Please let me be your concierge. I am still in job limbo, flexible, and ready to do anything.
Can you tell if Christine's treatment is effective yet?

John said...

Greg, you are on my list of folks to pray for.

DJ Segler said...

Greg - I'm looking forward to seeing God do His thing. I will be praying - believing with confidence that another "unique" scenario will play out.
James 1:6-8

Vince, Helen, & all the Corvinos said...

It's a good thing God is not bothered by the stats. We'll be praying in over time mode.

Jim and Ccoc said...

Our hearts hurt!!! I will never forget our times at the Glen after your first bout with this devil disease. You beat it then and we are praying that THE GOD OF ALL CREATION, THE ALMIGHTY, YES EVEN THE LORD JESUS, would see fit to heal you once again.
GOD Bless my friend.

John Ma said...

Greg and Christine,
We are sorry to hear the new. We will continue to pray for you and Christine.
In Him,
John, Kelly, and Elisabeth Ma

David Dishman said...

Praying for God's fingerprints to continue to be visible in your body.

Jim Williams said...

I am very sorry to hear that your physical condition has taken a turn for the worse. However, I am so very glad to see that your spiritual condition is doing quite well. I have witnessed in my father and in others the elevation of the spirit, as the physical declines. You continue to be a source of inspiration and grounding in my life. Although we have never met, I feel a kinship because of your faith and your courage. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless and keep you and Christine and I know (because He has promised in His Word) that He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you! (Hebrews 13:5) For NOTHING will ever be able to separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Willeyne Berger said...

Greg, You continue to be in my prayers. I have gotten sad news as well as the radiation from colon cancer has done a lot of damage and I am now seeking ways to relieve me of the pain I am enduring. Love to both of you and also to your wonderful supportive family. Willeyne Berger

Bud and Eunice Wallar said...

We were so very sad to hear the news of your biopsy. You are such a strong person, if anyone can recover from this cancer it will be you. Please know we are thinking of you and your family and send our love. We are very hopeful that good news will be coming in the future.
You are an inspiration to all of us on how to cope with life's difficult times.
With our love,
Bud and Eunice Wallar

David & Liliya said...

Liliya and I are sad to hear the news that the biopsy was positive. As I think about you, James 5:11 comes to mind: "Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job (and Greg and Christine) and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful." Indeed we have heard about your endurance, and rejoice with you that the Lord has shown you His compassion. We and our friends will pray that the Lord will continue to show you His compassion and mercy and that He will heal you.
(Interesting that the same day you wrote about Al Groves was the same day that I received my acceptance from Westminster.)

Andrew & Wendy-Kaye said...

I'll make a deal with you. If you promise not to die, I'll buy you dinner. Anywhere you want. Deal?

Roland Lindh said...

Greg/Christine: My response is neither foolish optimism nor some "cheer-up" platitude. Rather I ask the sincere question as to the purpose of what you are both going through. Two things seem obvious (to me at least)and one a mystery (in the sense of "musterion" perhaps only to me. The first is the comfort to uswho observe that your constant reflection is looking to Christ who will in His eschaton make all things new. It brings humility and thankfulness to us who have relatively good health. The second is that you can perhaps understand the completion of the necessry "sufferings of Christ" that Paul says in given to some of the "special" elect. This is so hard to comprehend by our standards of logic and grace; but if you can cling to Him yet a while longer the greater joy will be yours. Of that I am sure. As to the third I somehow feel a strange confidence that you will yet live to see many days. Deep within me dwells some confidence that God has brought you through all the other cancers to be a living witness to us and the larger Christian world to be spokeman for a ministry to those without health and hope. To that end I pray you will remain steadfast always abounding in the grace of the Lord. God be with you till we meet again. Roland.

Miriam Patterson said...

Hi Greg,
I am sure you've probably already seen John Piper's article entitled "Don't Waste Your Cancer" (he is writing from experience as a cancer patient himself), but in case you haven't, you can find it at I just read this article for the first time this past week and thought of you (not even having read this latest posting yet).
After reading your latest posting, one of Piper's points seems worth repeating: You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God. I know the odds you wrote about don't seem great, but please take comfort in the fact that a GREAT God is in control who loves you and cares for you.
The other point from Piper's article that really struck me was: You will waste your cancer if you think "beating" cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ. Your web postings show that you are on the same wavelength with John Piper, and you inspire everyone, even those of us without cancer, to remember that the goal of our lives is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Our prayers continue to be with you and Christine.

Steve & Jan Hurst said...

Greg & Christine, you and your family continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. If there is ever anything we can do for you, please don't hesitate to let us know. Love you. Steve, Jan, Michele, & Terri

Gary Wolverton said...

I like the term "unique survivor". You are that and so much more. You are an inspiration and an example for all of us.

Roach said...

Sad and angry to read your latest report. But not without hope! Ashley and I will be praying for your healing.
We love you,