Sen. Breene Harimoto back on job after battling pancreatic cancer
HONOLULU - "I am so happy to be back," Sen. Breene Harimoto told KITV Thursday morning.
Harimoto joined his colleagues on the Senate floor as they met to begin the process of confirming new judges to the bench. His appearance lifted spirits of lawmakers who were hopeful and glad he felt well enough to come to work.
"We appreciate him. Good to see you, Senator, " said Sen. Les Ihara.
"I finished my surgery and am into chemo now, and will have radiation after that," said Harimoto.
Harimoto said he has already reached out to Congressman Mark Takai who is also battling pancreatic cancer. Takai is scheduled for surgery next week.
"It's been a long journey for me and it's coincidental that Mark has the same thing I had. We kind of talked a little bit. I wish him the best," Harimoto said.
The lawmakers both hail from the Pearl City-Aiea area and worked on issues--in previous posts-- Harimoto at the City Council and Takai as state representative.
"He is in good spirits. I think he will be fine. His faith is strong. He is younger than I am. I think he will do well. We just keep praying for him that he will have a successful surgery and recover well," said Harimoto.
Harimoto has been taking things slow. He hopes being back at work for a few days this week will help get him ready for the start of the regular session in January.
"There is never a good time to get sick, but this was a good time during the interim. So, I am sorry for all the work I should have been doing in the interim. Hopefully, I will be back in time for session," said Harimoto.
Harimoto says his biggest challenge is his weight. He dropped down to less than a 100 pounds at one point this summer.
Small meals, a special diet and lots of rest are what's helping him heal.
“I have a feeding tube. I use every night. I am getting better," said Harimoto. "Thanks to everyone's prayers. I am getting much better."