.- Cardinal Francis George was clearly in good spirits yesterday after being discharged from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, three weeks after major surgery.
Cardinal George, 69, entered the hospital July 27 to remove his cancerous bladder, prostate and part of his right ureter. Doctors believe he is now cancer-free.
"I feel very good -- nice to be out on a good day like this," the cardinal told reporters while leaving the hospital on crutches. "I feel very grateful to God and especially to all those who prayed for me, who sustained me, who spoke to the Lord about me. I felt that support and I'm very grateful."
"I'm not in any pain now and I wasn't in pain then. But there was a lot of pain in between and I'm a little weaker now, obviously, but I'm on my way to recovery, hopefully, with God's help," the cardinal said.
Dr. Myles Sheehan, the cardinal's personal physician and a Jesuit priest, said the cardinal will need to use crutches until his legs, weakened by his long hospital stay, could be strengthened through physical rehabilitation.
A physical therapist will work with Cardinal George in the coming weeks. The cardinal had polio as a child and normally wears a brace on his leg and walks with a limp.
"Probably we could have let him go earlier last week if it wasn't for some of the extra physical therapy and leg strengthening that we wanted to do before he went home," Fr. Sheehan told reporters.
Cardinal George is expected to return to work on a limited schedule at his residence after Labor Day, and hopes to resume his full schedule in October.