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, September 20, 2007

Tyler on the Run


Tyler is running the Houston Marathon for the American Cancer Society. Run hard, brother. (And send me a pic at the finish line!) If you're interested in supporting him, read on...

Dear Friends,

I am raising money for the American Cancer Society by running in The Houston Marathon on January 13, 2008.�� This a very important cause to me as I have a number of friends whose lives have been affected by cancer recently.� I'm sure this is true of many of you, as well.

I'm writing today to ask for your help by making a contribution to the American Cancer Society using the link below to donate online quickly and securely.� You will receive email confirmation of your donation. �

My goal is to raise $3000 for this great cause.� Thank you for your consideration.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007


At 6:45 am, I walk into the doors of MD Anderson Cancer Center. I and thousands of other patients. It is important that we arrive on time, so that we can wait. We must be calm and ready when the staff calls. We sit in our respective stations to be tested, scanned, infused, radiated, probed, cut, examed, questioned, and/or told if we might live. Currently, I am in a small quiet corner of Waiting Room B of Diagnostic Imaging Center C in Building R. I am sitting next to a fish tank. Many fish work at MD Anderson. They are part of the social services/psychiatry department. They keep us calm.

Fish workers with patient 169996

I am sitting next to my friend Mark. He is enjoying banana bread. I am fasting for the scan. No bread for me or the fish.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Round three begins

GregChemo.jpgI'm sitting in the chemo chair taking round three. Round two went better than the first round - they gave me a different coctail of pre-meds before the chemo. That seemed to dampen the blow better.

Next week, I'm likely going to get a CT scan to make sure the chemo is doing something in order to continue. I'm just going to go down for the scan and come back and discuss the result with Dr. Shapiro here in Dallas. The reason for doing it at Houston is for comparative purposes with all the historical scans in their system.

I'm starting to feel the chemo now. Gonna feel crummy for a while.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Buzz It

Suddenly, the Texas summer air feels a bit cooler.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

$19,134; or Why health care coverage matters

What is... one round of chemotherapy in FOLFIRI protocol for colon cancer treatment.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Imaginary things

Of all of the theorems, formulas, transforms, and properties I have attempted to understand in math and science classes, one continues to fill me with awe: Euler's Identity. Every couple of months in my work, I sit back and sigh in wonderment at the ring of truth associated with some aspect of it. A colleague and I will be at the white board and some facet of it will emerge, and one of us will say, "Isn't it amazing?" For me, it delights more than E=mc2, Pyhtagoras' theorem, or many of the other gems that have emerged in the history of the discovery of truth.

In its simplest expression, the identity states that e to the power of pi times i equals -1. It magically combines the three most mysterious constants conceived, or rather discovered, by mankind:
- e: the constant, the derivative of which, when raised to x, is 1. e is not representable by decimal numbers, but is close to 2.72.
- pi: the constant equivalent to the ratio of the circumfrance to the diameter of a circle. pi is also not representable by decimal numbers, but is close to 3.14.
- i: the imaginary square root of -1. i is not only not representable in decimal numbers, it is so beyond imagination it seems plain silly.

The identity is, at the same time, beautifully elegant and laughingly non-sensical. It seems surely to have been fabricated in the wishful thinking of a naive, wanna-be mathematician.

This odd identity regularly bears fruit in engineering. In my particular branch of engineering, it allows us to get a grip on images, audio, and video in the frequency domain. While we experience life in the space-time domain, the frequency domain allows us to "see" things from a perspective that enables things impossible when looking through space-time. It allows us, for example, to compress images into small fragments that can fit on camera cards. It allows cellphones to talk to one another through the air. It allows us to cram hundreds of albums into iPods. It allows us to simultaneously put hundred's of TV channels on a single thin wire. It allows an MRI to see tumors without cutting. It is what made the Speak-n-Spell speak. And it allows us to make DLP video the best picture in the world (ok, so I'm biased).

When I speak of how it inspires awe (and even joy?), many of my nerd friends know what I'm talking about. If you have experienced this, or are curious enough to want to, then I think you will appreciate Amanda Shaw's latest essay in First Things blog.