FR. GREG FAMILY UPDATE
Hi Parishioners and Friends!
I start tomorrow my third week of treatment - radiation and oral chemo (traditional treatment). My last round of radiation is scheduled for September 26. Can't wait! The oral chemo will continue on. But, my physician will soon be able to let me know when I can fly home after September 26. I will spend about three weeks home and have to fly back to Houston probably the first week of November for an MRI. That will show if the traditional treatment for my brain tumor was successful. If God blesses the traditional treatment, I will smile! If not, I will trust Jesus and we will have a conversation with the physician about alternative treatments such as clinical trials and immunotherapy.
I love the green shirts that many have emailed me pictures of - very sharp and evangelical that Jesus can give a peace the world cannot (Jn. 14:27). You might be asking what I do with my time? Well, I pray about three hours each morning - Divine Mercy Chaplet, Holy Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, and then I pray Scripture. I have prayed the New Testament twice. St Vincent de Paul Church in Houston has been very good to me! I often concelebrate Holy Mass there daily or say a private Mass with my sisters in my temporary apartment. My apartment is close to RICE University so there is a wonderful walking path which is shaded so I get about six-seven walking miles in per day. My physician wants me to exercise and I have been meeting regularly with a nutritionist so that I can starve the cancerous brain cells. My radiation is usually at 2:45pm each day and my oral chemo is taken before bed. I want you all to know how much I miss you and cannot wait to get home! I still have LOTS of plans for St Patrick of Merna and St Mary's in Downs. I am very proud of the Staff (including Fr Michael) and our temporary administrator Fr Dustin Schultz for all they are doing in my absence. But, be assured, I am COMING BACK and I pray for all of you daily! Jesus Reigns!!!
The first week of treatment was a cakewalk. However, I knew a fight was waiting for me here in Houston. I have fallen five times now (once hitting the back of my head - OUCH). I get headaches. I walk around often dizzy from the medication. The radiation makes me tired with fatigue. Lastly, the oral chemo taken at night makes me consume water endlessly through the night to fight dehydration and then up countlessly to urinate so it's hard getting a good night sleep. I am uniting all my sufferings in union with Jesus' Passion and that has always been Catholic teaching and truth. As your Pastor, I encourage you to do the same as well - for yourself, your family, your parish, or maybe even for me. Love and miss you all and looking toward already the second week of October when I am HOME - St Patrick of Merna and St Mary's!
My Parishioners & Friends,
After two days of Chemo and Radiation, I am still up for a Cardinals vs Astros game with my best friend Fr James Seitz who flew in to Houston to support me from Minnesota. Love and miss ya all! Jesus Reigns!!!
Disappointing day...Doctor is still waiting for part of the pathology report to return. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe early next week. I will let you know as soon as in can.
Dear Parish Family and Friends!
I am so grateful for your love, prayers, and support! I was admitted to MD Anderson Cancer Hospital at 10:30am on Friday for my second brain biopsy and discharged by 3pm on Saturday. My neuro surgeon was able to get tissue from a needle biopsy directly from the main tumor which has a "cloud" of smaller tumors which have spread. The full pathology report including diagnosis, prognosis, and initial treatment plan will be shared with me on Thursday at 9:15am. I long ago have already accepted whatever God has planned for me! My brain needs to heal before beginning intense radiation and oral chemotherapy beginning on Aug. 2 for an initial six weeks and then re-evaluate to see if the tumors have shrunk. Although I miss all of you terribly, I believe Jesus has put me in the right spot here in Houston to eventually bring me back home to continue my beloved pastorate of St Patrick of Merna and St Mary's in Downs. For now, I pray for you non-stop and communicate regularly with Fr Dustin Schultz, Fr Michael Pica, and our talented Staff. I unite my sufferings to the Passion of Jesus that His grace will make our Parishes grow even further and praise His glory! I want to be as transparent as possible with you because a Good Shepherd teaches you to live and how to die. I will shepherd according to Jesus' holy will! Jesus Reigns and is our Savior!!!
To All -
An effort is underway to help Fr Greg with his out of pocket living expenses while he is in Houston. A third party has set up an on line fundraiser at You Caring. If you would like to contribute please CLICK HERE You can also go to the site directly at youcaring.com and search for Fr. Greg Ketcham. Any amount of help is so appreciated. If you have any questions please contact Natalie Galligan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi My Parish Family & Good Friends!
I have been in Houston, Texas now for over a week. I already miss all of you! It looks like the cancer is more aggressive than first anticipated. A second brain biopsy will take place on Friday. This will be a needle biopsy which will allow me to heal much sooner so that I can begin intense radiation and chemo. I have moved into an apartment with my three older sisters who are my angels. Once radiation and chemo begins, my sisters will need to visit their families. I will always have one sister with me as a care taker. The local Catholic community at the Sacred Heart Cathedral has been very empathetic and helpful. I want you to know that Bishop Jenky, Msgr James Kruse (Vicar General), and all the priests of the Diocese of Peoria have been "over the top" loving and supportive of me and I am so grateful to them! The Diocese of Peoria will continue having my back for which I am very grateful! Many of you have also expressed interest in being of assistance to me so you will soon be able to contribute to a You Caring Account for out of pocket expenses as I envision what treatment will look like for an indefinite period of time. Its been amazing wearing my Roman Collar into MD Anderson and cancer patients recognizing my medical bracelet which identifies me as joining with them in this journey of the Cross. They make eye contact, smiles, conversations, and join with me in prayer. I know all of you are lifting me up in prayer! The Lord has given me great peace which is even more powerful than hope! I totally have submitted my life and priesthood into the hands of Jesus through the intercession of Venerable Archbishop Sheen, St. Patrick, St. John Bosco, and St. Dominic Savio. Should it be God's holy will, I very much look forward to returning as Pastor of my beloved St. Patrick of Merna and St. Mary's in Downs. If you wish to send me a card or letter, my address is: 2630 Bissonnet Street, Apt. 2112, Houston, Texas 77005. I pray for all of you daily and love you all! God Bless You!
Jesus Is My Savior,