FR. GREG FAMILY UPDATE
Father Greg did not qualify for the clinical trial but in on a new chemotherapy drug. Your continued prayers are felt and appreciated.
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 Parishioners and Friends,
I would like to let you know that Fr. Greg's family made the very difficult decision to put Fr. Greg on home hospice this week. The originally prescribed pain medications for Fr. Greg's headaches weren't doing enough. Fr. Greg and his family are much at peace and though Fr. Greg does continue to struggle and get worse the Lord continues to give them the grace they need. On behalf of Fr. Greg and his family I thank you for all your love, support and prayers.
Fr. Dustin Schultz
I would like to first, and foremost, thank everyone for all of your thoughts, prayers, and cards that I have received over the past few months. Although I am no longer able to text or write myself, I still want to hear from you. My dear sisters have served as "secretary" for me in responding to phone calls, texts and the many letters/cards and gifts I have received. Although they may not always feel like it, they are truly angels of God. I feel very blessed to have them in my life.
I do believe that your many prayers have served me well this summer. At my last visit to the neuro-oncologist at Northwestern University Medical Center the end of June, I learned that the growth of my two primary brain tumors had slowed and that there was no evidence of any new tumors present. Hallelujah! However, the side effects of my chemotherapy and adjunct therapy tend to wear me down, so I often do feel tired, stiff, and a little weak. Also, because of the brain hemorrhage I sustained last November, my speech is significantly impaired and will likely never improve from what it is currently. Nonetheless, I try to continue to serve by hearing confessions and con-celebrating at mass with Fr. Schultz and Fr. Pica. I so much appreciate their patience and support in helping me to make this possible. I also appreciate the support and graciousness I have received from our own Bishop Jenky in allowing me to remain in the rectory at St. Patrick of Merna.
In closing, I ask that you continue to pray for me. My next visit to the neuro-oncologist will be on August 17, so I am hoping and praying that I get another favorable report. One of the goals that I have set for myself is to be on that bus trip later in September to watch the Cards versus the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The Cards won 3 out of the 4 games I was present for at the end of May, so I believe it's important that I attend that September game!! Most importantly, remember that Jesus loves you and me. This is what truly sustains me on my "bad" days when I'm not feeling 100%.
Love and peace to you all!
Monsignor Greg Ketcham"
Dear Parish Families and Friends –
Dear Parishioners -
As you may have heard Fr Greg had some appointments in Houston this past Sunday into Monday. He received some very good news! The inoperable cancerous tumor (about 2 inch circle) is now near being in remission, with live cancer cells remaining in a very small part (the size of a tip of a finger). The doctors were very pleased with those results as are we!! Fr Greg will begin another intense round of treatment the day after Christmas which will last a week. He will have three weeks off then return to Houston for an MRI and with those results the doctors will re-evaluate. We are hoping and praying it will be in remission at this point! This cancer can grow back at any point - which the doctors are expecting will happen though hopefully NOT soon! There is still some blood on the brain, this has caused Fr Greg to still struggle with words, which the doctors are expecting to get better as the remaining blood continues to reabsorb. Fr Greg is also taking anti-seizure medicine which makes him feel not with it and in a few days they will be changing medication...hopefully that helps and doesn't have the same side effects. Fr Greg continues to concelebrate Mass with Fr Pica and myself at his leisure, which is great! He will concelebrate a few Christmas Masses - namely the 4pm vigil and the 9am morning Mass. He is planning on celebrating the daily Mass December 26th. Beginning Jan 2, Fr Greg is planning on gradually doing ministry as his body and health allows. I will remain helping Fr Greg until it seems I am no longer needed. Please continue to keep Fr Greg in your prayers! This news is a great Christmas gift! God bless.
- Fr Schultz
Fr. Greg went down to Houston for his appointment on Thursday. There were some complications after the MRI and he was admitted to the hospital. He should return this coming week. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
Your Parochial Vicar, Fr. Michael Pica