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Cardinal George: ‘I feel OK’ after new round of chemotherapy

Cardinal Francis George | Sun-Times file photo

Cardinal Francis George | Sun-Times file photo

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Updated: April 10, 2014 12:55PM



Despite a recurrence of cancer, Cardinal Francis George said Saturday he was feeling good after undergoing his first treatment in a new round of chemotherapy Wednesday.

“I feel OK basically,” the cardinal, appearing chipper, said Saturday night as he entered the Presence Ball at the Hyatt Regency Chicago downtown. “I feel a little bit lightheaded.”

Because of an old bout with polio, George said he is “unsteady on my feet at the best of times. I’m more unsteady now.”

Goerge, 77, will undergo three rounds of chemotherapy.

“It’s only three treatments, and then there’s a period of a few days, your immune system is very low,” he said. “That’ll be next week.”

At that point, he said, to avoid infection, “I won’t be in crowds.”

In July 2006, George had surgery to remove his cancerous bladder, prostate and part of his right ureter and, after 19 days of hospitalization, was declared cancer-free. His cancer returned, though, in August 2012, and he underwent chemotherapy then. The latest recurrence is confined to the area of his right kidney, the cardinal and Archdiocese of Chicago announced this past week.

George said Saturday he’s being open about his illness because, “If you don’t speak honestly, then people make up all kinds of things.”

He said he hopes to keep his public schedule, though that will depend on how he feels. “I’ll keep it as I can,” he said.

George submitted his letter of resignation to the pope in 2012, as required of all bishops when they turn 75, but said he hoped to remain as leader of the Chicago archdiocese a few more years.

Asked Saturday whether that’s changed, he said, “Well, I don’t have any retirement plans until the Holy Father tells me that he’s accepted my resignation.”



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