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, August 27, 2008

My Treatment History

My local oncologist, Dr. Shapiro, retired. Switching to another oncologist, I realized once again how complicated my treatment history is. The new doctor will flip through my massive chart, but she wasn't there. And I have come to realize over the years just how important a good understanding of the treatment history is critical for a doctor to evaluate new potential treatment options (one key example). A couple summary paragraphs that keep getting re-edited on previous medical notes do not do justice. Knowing my new doctor would have to piece together my past from a big pile of far-from-comprehensive medical notes, I drew up my own birds-eye chart, One Guy's Colon Cancer Treatment Path, which is my cancer treatment history in Microsoft Project format. She actually appreciated it and it made our initial "tell me your history" appointment more profitable.

I am making this available for fellow colon cancer survivors so they might know a little of what to expect or have at least some other reference for which to compare. Every person's path is different, but seeing someone else's might be of some help. For the rest of you - my support team - you might appreciate from it just how far we've come. A good time to reflect and give thanks.

Maintenance Chemo

I realized I have not written an update in a long time. Currently I am taking "maintenance chemo" consisting of oral Xeloda twice a day for 14 days followed by 7 days of rest. In addition I get an Avastin infusion every 21 days. The idea is to take enough chemo to keep the cancer in check, but at a recipe level that is reasonably tolerable. It's kind of like being in a military stalemate and shooting a few rounds across the enemy line every day just to let them know you're ready and make sure they don't get any ideas of advancing. If I go off chemo for much more than a month, Dr. Eng is concerned the cancer can get going with too much momentum. But to take the heavy stuff would be cruel and unusual punishment on my beaten body.

My scans just before the emergency surgery were stable. And my C.E.A. on July 22 was measured to be a very low 2.0, which is a good sign that things are well under control. I am increasing in strength and health due to some other things I'm doing under the advisement of MD Anderson's fatigue clinic. Christine commented that I actually seem to be in better strength and condition now on the maintenance chemo than when I was in remission.

But to be candid, I want to be getting rid of the cancer and not just being "stable". I don't want to be "doing well", I want to be clean of this stuff. Right now, though, they want to keep this going as it is. So I'm trying to build up strength and live as fully as possible until some new opportunity or obstacle comes in this fight.

In early October I'll be scanned and may get a month off.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Opening Ceremonies powered by DLP

Those big displays at the Bejing opening ceremonies were driven by DLP. Nice to know I'm working towards world peace (or is it assisting state propaganda?)