About a month ago, I went to the Emergency Room with what I feared might be a kidney stone. A CAT scan indicated tumors and lesions in my pancreas. That began a long journey of attempting to identify the kind of growth, etc. Today it is confirmed as malignant cancer, already metastasized to liver, lungs and bone. Pancreatic cancer at this stage, has no cure, and treatment options are limited and not very effective.
I decided to begin chemotherapy two weeks ago. I reacted to one of the drugs and found myself in cardiac unit for 30 hours. This week, I slightly revised the treatment and will have my second chemotherapy next Monday.
I informed my seven siblings and nieces and nephews two weeks ago. I selected NOT to tell the parish and friends until after Easter. I made that choice for two reasons: 1) Why spoil your Easter, and, 2) It would allow me to celebrate Holy Week with my people, instead of it being about me. It turned out to be the right choice. Holy Week and Easter were about US celebrating the Paschal Mystery, not me.
I am blessed with a compassionate and knowledgeable oncologist. A good friend is also an oncologist (retired from University of Iowa) and has viewed my records and is in agreement and supportive of my decisions.
I also have three physicians in my family who are helpful. I’m surrounded by a good, competent medical “team”.
Of its very nature, my journey is one-day-at- -a- time, sometimes hour-by-hour. I hope to continue to minister here in a limited capacity. I told Archbishop Hanus he needs to appoint a pastor here soon. I hope to continue serving in the parish through mid-summer/August. Ultimately, I’m not in control of the calendar. Any plans are subject to immediate change.
Fr. Ev Hemann