10th November – Pope St Leo the Great

A photo of myself and brother John this morning.


Yesterday I had a series of tests at Sloan Kettering clinic in New York City starting off at 9.30am – blood tests, bone marrow biopsy and finally a PET scan. Probably the main feature of the day was meeting the Multiple Myeloma specialist. She said that all the treatment I had received in Ireland to-date was similar to what I would have received at their clinic. Three cheers for Ireland! They will however be able to do more advanced tests about my current status and how things are likely to develop in the future. These results should be known by Monday or Tuesday.

I had to fast from 10am for the PET scan which lasted from 4-6pm. This measures any current cancer present in the body. It involves injecting radioactive sugar isotopes into the blood and then waiting for an hour for it to be absorbed by the body. Along with this I had to drink about 2 litres of an iodine drink. One is then scanned by something like an MRI machine that measures any tumors metabolizing the sugar more than normal tissue would. I had a great appetite for my dinner!

leo_greatSt Leo became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452 and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455. He left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.

A quote from him about our baptismal dignity is: “No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross.  No one is beyond the help of the prayer [intercession] of Christ.”