According to the Vatican, Francis underwent surgery to relieve stricture of the colon caused by diverticulitis. The three-hour surgery included a left hemicolectomy, the removal of one side of the colon.
During his 11-day stay in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, the pope made “normal clinical progress” in his recovery, the Vatican said.
At meetings in January, Pope Francis shared that he was having problems with his knee.
“Excuse me if I stay seated, but I have a pain in my leg today ... It hurts me, it hurts if I’m standing,” the pope told journalists from the Jerusalem-based Christian Media Center on Jan. 17.
He explained further at a general audience the following week, saying the reason he would be unable to greet pilgrims as usual was because of a temporary “problem with my right leg,” an inflamed knee ligament.
At the end of February, Pope Francis canceled two public events due to knee pain and doctor’s orders to rest.
In the month that followed, he received help going up and down stairs, but continued to walk and stand without assistance.
During a trip to Malta on the first weekend of April, Pope Francis used a lift to disembark the papal plane. A special lift was also installed at the Basilica of St. Paul in Rabat, so that Francis could visit and pray in the crypt grotto without taking the stairs.
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On the return flight on April 3, he told journalists that “my health is a bit fickle, I have this knee problem that brings out problems with walking.”
At the Vatican’s Good Friday service, the pope did not lay prostrate before the altar, as he has done in the past.
He also did not preside over the Easter Vigil Mass on April 16, or participate in the Paschal candle procession, but sat in the front of the congregation in a white chair.
On April 22 and April 26, Francis’ agenda was cleared for medical checkups and rest for his knee, the Vatican said. The following day, the pope told pilgrims at his general audience that his knee prevented him from standing for very long.
Pope Francis also started to remain seated in the popemobile while greeting pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
On April 30, he said that his doctor had ordered him not to walk.