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June 5, 1998     The Message
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June 5, 1998

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0 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana June Honolulu official finds rebirth after can By TARRE BEACH Catholic News Service HONOLULU (CNS) -- The day Carmen Himenes received a bone marrow transplant back in September 1995 was the day she felt like she wanted to die, but it became the day she was reborn. At age 45 Himenes, then an associate superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Honolulu, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Worse, it was spreading. Seventeen of her lymph nodes were affected. "When the doctor said, &apos;You have cancer,' of course, I was in a state of disbelief," recalled Himenes, now acting superintendent of Catholic schools. "It was like, 'It's not me. I'm just a little tired. You must have the wrong chart."' Denial is the first stage, Himenes explained in an interview with the Hawaii Catholic Herald, Honolu- lu's diocesan newspaper. Then comes anger, fear, bar- gaining and finally acceptance. And for Himenes, acceptance was closely followed by trust. "I firmly believe God never puts in our lives what we can't handle. Even death. So in my mind this was the journey I had to make and it was with my God. I trust- ed him in that." After learning she would lose one breast and need nearly a year of aggressive treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation and the painful process of a bone marrow transplanL Himenes wasn't about to lose much time wondering why she had cancer. Instead she said, "OK, what do we do now." With her family, her church community and her God, Himenes said that from the very beginning she never felt alone. "When I became ill the outpouring of prayer was incredible. Not just from my family but from the entire church of Hawaii," she said. Raised in Kailua and a graduateof St. Francis School in Manoa, Himenes has been involved in Catholic edu- cation f0t 26 3)ea, Seven of those as a novice with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. News of her illness spread quickly, prompting co-workers, students arotmd the state as well as entire parishes to pray for her. Dr. Jonathan Cho, Himenes' oncologist, said that, although Himenes had serious stage-three cancer, he never really worried too much about her because she had such a strong support network and a good attitude. "Carmen is a woman of faith," Cho remarked. "Though it's hard to measure medically, I think her commitment to healing and her strong sense of faith carried a lot of weight in her recovery process." Himenes has no doubt about that. "When I was ha the chair getting chemo, I wasn't reading, I wasn't watching TV. I was sitting there praying to God and to Damien," she said, referring to Blessed Damien de Veuster. He was a 19th-ce41tury Belgian missionary who worked among Hawaii's victims of Hansen's disease. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in June 1995 in ceremonies in Brussels, Belgium. "We were all talking about Father Damien. So it was like, 'Venerable Damien, if you need an experiment -- if you need a guinea pig. Here's one,"' Himenes said with a laugh. At various steps in the canonization process, evidence of miracles attributed to the saint's intervention is presented to church authorities. Father Maurice McNeely, pastor of Holy Family Church in Honolulu, offered Himenes the opportunity to travel to Belgium to witness the beatifi- cation of Father Damien. She and her mother, Beatrice, decided to go. At one point during the 10-day trip, Himenes even touched the relic of Father Damien that the pope pre- sented to the Hawaii delegation for reinterment on Molokai, where the missionary had lived and worked. At a post-beatification Mass in the hotel, Sacred Hearts Father Joseph Bukoski offered the relic of Father Damien, wrapped in Hawaiian kapa, for each of, the 4',,: '  '  , . t. . . r .."? ','a  ....... ! ' ::":"; ..... ." : ::," .,. ..... SC ..... :"" %.4;; v::;, :, .... " , ,*<: . NFP and PMS: Some hopeful news- Attitudes rewards Premenstru- al Syndrome have ranged from denying its existence or attribut- ing it to "normal" mood-swIngs for women, to recognizing it as a medically treatable condition. PMS can be very debilitating for women who suffer from its advanced stages. Dr. Hilgers, an obstetrician/gynecologist and NEWS AND COMMENTARY By SOOZI SCHELLER Contributing writer Director of the Pope Paul VI Insti- tute for the Study of Human Reproduction and the National Center for the Treatment of Reproductive Disorders, and physicians he has trained, report that they have helped relieve many women of their PMS symptoms through NaProTech- nology (use of Natural Family Planning in medical diagnosis and treament) and Cooperative Hormone Replacement Therapy. Dr. Hilgers defines PMS as, "a grouping of symptoms which ies of PMS have discovered the following symptoms: bloating, fatigue, irritability, depression, teariness, breast tenderness, car- bohydrate craving, weight gain, headaches and insomnia. "It is not at all unusual for this condi- tion to produce emotional insta- bility to the extent that it breaks down the normal psychological coping mechanisms which the woman would normally pos- sess," Dr. Hilgers contends. Through Natural Family Plan- ning, a woman suffering from PMS can learn valuable informa- tion leading to successful treat- ment of her condition. Coopera- tive Progesterone Replacement Therapy must take place in the post-ovulatory phase of her cycle (the phase of the cycle that comes after ovulation). Many people assume that ovulation occurs on Day 14 of the woman's cycle. However, studies using hormone levels or ultrasound show or support the concept that only 13.5 percent of women ovu- late on Day 14. Natural Family NFP has helped physicians treat PMS successfully. In one of Dr. Hilgers studies, the NFP therapy described relieved the problematic PMS symtoms of 34 out of 37 patients. Another physician, Dr. Peter Danis of St. Louis, has achieved similar results. Reporting to a group of NFP Medical Consultants in April, 1998, Dr. Danis described how 34 of his 39 PMS patients had found significant relief through this treatment. Numbers alone do not reveal the full positive impact of NFP- assisted CPRT on PMS. Dr. Hilgers shares one of his cases: "Recently a young girl, age 13 was treated. She had been an A student up until the time of menarche. With the onset of her periods, serious mood swings began. They were so severe that the child became a failing stu- dent. But after leamin" g Creighton Model Natural Family Planning for monitoring her cycles and receiving Cooperative Proges- terone Replacement Therapy, the entourag e to touch. "I remember she/Himenes) came up and I relic out to her and she placed both hands the priest said. "It was like she wanted she got a strong connection with could tell it was a sacred moment." ' Himenes said she was "filled with peace" touched the relic. "It's hard to put into meant, but I felt a connection to him and his! knew he was there in that moment the suffering." Returning from the trip a little weak, recharged, Himenes "You see, the treatment for cancer brings in a fraction of your life," she said. "The his was the journey I had to was with my God. I trusted him not only bad cells, but good cells, too. The your body can withstand it long enough die. And I did almost die." Today, three years after her ordeal and through the marrow transplant, be cancer-free. Her doctor, family and won't call it a miracle just yet and the prayers stopped. Five years is the official waiting period to ered in remission. "I have had to change everything Himenes said. "Now it's no longer 'I praying today, I don't feel like enough rest or eating right.' It's 'if I d "I have to do my part. God will do his. she added. "Damien continues to do : church community, is doing theirs. I'd bet @ process was reversed and her grades returned to reflect her potential again." Natural Family Planning offers reliable help not only for couples who desire,to achieve or avoid a pregnancy, but also for women seeking relief and sound medical care for serious women's health concerns. For more information please call one of the following: the Natural Family Planning Office of St. Mary's Medical Center at (812) 485-4110; the Community Educa- tion Planning Office of Memorial Hospital and in Jasper at (812) (800) 852-7295; or The the Americas NFP Ins Vincennes at (812) To make co growing Natm services in the ville, please call St. dation at Thirty dollar gift Natural Family Plannt are available Health Matters at The price covers the ductory Session r one year. Effects of Cooperative  ' Progesterone Replacement TheraPY in Premenstrual Syndrome on 37 Effects of Therapy Number Felt much better or significantly improved 34 ,= Felt better but symptoms 2 still problematic , No improvement 1 for the most part begin seven to 10 days prior to the onset of menstruation." He notes that, "these symptoms can also be present around the time of ovu- lation and again during the early days of the menstrual cycle." He cautions that, "Some mild symptoms one or two days prior to menstruation should not be considered PMS." Medical stud- Planning eliminates the guess work around ovulation. The woman using NFP has a simple and reliable method to find out when her body ovulates. Her doctor can initiate treatment at the right time using natural progesterone which does not cause negative side effects like the synthetic progesterone used in birth control pills ..... " "n STM med,cal news from aCatho,,.c H l th C eea perspective is ar a courtesy of Services- ....... kit i t r i ,