I’ve Got Some News!
Since I posted the results of a cat scan I’d gotten three weeks after completing chemo treatments at the end of September, I’ve been on a kind of “break” from it all. There was yet another imaging test I needed to take to verify there were no tumors left in my spinal area. I had to wait until 6 weeks had passed since my last chemo treatment before I could take the test. I took that test on 11 November, and got the results back on 28 Nov.
Prior to my ordeal with cancer, I’d had little to no direct contact with anyone who had the disease. There was one friend I knew and had direct contact with who had been treated for prostate cancer. He didn’t really talk about it much and his condition did not prevent him from continuing his job as a tractor-trailer operator. Like everyone else I know, Paul kept his illness private. The practice of not talking about a serious illness (like cancer) beyond immediate family seems to be part of the culture.
To many times I’ve find out someone was sick after they were dead! I know I’ve gone to a funeral or two and heard people say they didn’t even know the deceased person was ill.
I have my fair share of friends and people I know. It’s been interesting to observe their reaction to my illness. Sometimes, when I would talk to a friend about my illness the person would just get all quiet. When they did speak they’d whisper. I could see and feel the fear my friends felt for me. There is a feeling of loss associated with finding out someone you know and have love for is seriously ill. In most cases there is nothing the person finding out can do to change the condition of the friend and loved one. There may be a feeling of helplessness that can evoke uncomfortable emotions. No matter how great your day or life may be going, bad news can be very disarming and has the potential of “changing” everything on an emotional level.
Well I guess we all know I am not a person that decided to hide my illness. And it was not my intention to go so public with it either. Like others who have gone on to write a book, I was in the process of writing and publishing my book as a blog. In March of 2011, I started posting “chapters” of my book once a month. As the story unwound, it became easier for me to write raw like that. The story seemed to take on a life of its own. I was just the person assembling the information and doing the typing if that makes sense. I was halfway through the story. Then I became ill with what I’d later learn was a super aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer and it was in an advanced stage.
The story itself was gaining traction beginning with the first chapter. In case you missed it, here’s the link:
I got a lot of encouragement from friends and people that I didn’t know to continue to write and I did. Some people were impatiently waiting for and demanding the next chapter before I could get them out and that felt great. When I got ill, that ended the writing.
As soon as I could I had to explain why I had not written in a while to people who were following the story and I did:
That is how and why my ordeal became so public. After all of that huge distraction I’m getting back to writing the story again. I’d planned on writing maybe two books, but one book is all it will take. The first part of the book is done. The second part of the book will be about the last four years of dead L Ron’s life. No one so far has written anything about that and that’s where I’m going with it for all the reasons mentioned at the end of the final chapter I’d written. Here it is in case you missed it:
Seven months have passed since I’ve actually written anything about the story itself.
This brings me back to letting you know the results of the last imaging procedure I had to look for any remnant tumors in my spine, lungs or any of the areas affected by the cancer. The results came back negative. There are no remnant tumors and the cancer is in full remission.
My Oncologist is a down to earth type of person and she’s been a tremendous help to me. She is also very modest. As she gave me the news of the cancer being in full remission she got that look on her face again that I take for modesty. She told me out of all of the case files she has access to concerning my type of cancer, no one had made a complete recovery after 6 chemo treatments like I had, given how advanced the disease was when I was finally diagnosed . She just looked at me and said God loves you and is your friend. Until that point, she’d never expressed any religious or faith based opinion about my treatment.
November, 28 is when I was told the results from the second more thorough imaging test done 6 weeks after my final chemo treatment. Again, no tumors were in evidence so I am in the recovery phase of my treatment. Now I’m in the process of recovering from the chemo process itself as well as the cancer. I can now begin my physical therapy in Ernst to recover my strength. I really miss the physical strength I use to have and can hardly wait for it to return.
So that’s the current news about all that. There are only a couple of issues that I want to tell you about before moving on and I’ll try to be as brief as possible.
As a result of this experience I have a new overview of my life. A major paradigm shift in my thinking has occurred. On or about the second or third day after I was admitted in the hospital I had a death experience. Everything seemed to happen just as I’d read about in books or seen on TV. I detached from and then turned around and saw my sick body lying in the bed looking awful. A great and peaceful spirit came and guided me through what seemed to be a tunnel with a point of light at the end of it. I was given an opportunity to review the life I’d lived so far in the presence and comfort of the great and peaceful spirit.
At the time I didn’t know how to address or what to call this Great Spirit that just radiated love and peace. The Great Spirit let me know the question of whom and what it was was the least of my immediate concerns and that issue would be dealt with at a later point. In that moment I felt all of my routines, all of my obligations and “Now I suppose to’s” began to melt and fade away from me. I experience clarity of consciousness that I’d never had but somehow it was oddly familiar. Please have mercy on me with trying to explain in words what happened because I don’t think there are words to describe it, you just have to be there and see it to know it.
I could go on and on about that and maybe I will. I’m certain the right course for me now is to complete the book project to the best of my ability. I’ll end by saying this about that. I know without question this was no dream, or drug induced hallucination.
This was the beginning of an actual relationship with an all knowing and loving peaceful spirit that is with me to this day. I’m certain this was no hallucination or onetime event because of the way my life began change and is still changing.
What happened next manifested as the raw materials that make dreams come true and brings me to my second point. Angels and Saints came to aid and comfort me, I’ll try to explain who these Angels and Saints are in the order and sequence they manifested.
Last May as the illness began to take hold I was pretty much bed ridden. I had no idea that cancer was overtaking my spine and nervous system. Normally, I work at the US Postal Service here in Chicago. I was about to begin again in September but this was no longer an option. I was on unemployment barely making it as it was.
Then I was in the hospital ready to be dead. I had no health insurance and no life insurance. I couldn’t even afford to die, WTF! Time moved on anyway and I learned to appreciate life on a daily basis for what seems like a very long time.
My brother Ron Prince came to my rescue and took care of me on a daily basis in every way. I’m not married and I was not in any real relationship with anyone else so he picked up the slack. He made sure I ate every day, helped me to start walking again and took me to every doctor’s appointment I needed to go to until I got better months later. Ron is my younger brother so this was a humbling experience for me and I am more than grateful for his kindness.
My daughter Cleo came to my rescue while I was in the hospital and afterwards as well. She was there for my first surgery (biopsy of a cancer tumor in my spine) and physically held me while it was done. She had to drive for hours to get to Chicago to do all of this. She took over as my legal caretaker at the hospital and worked with my doctors to make decisions I couldn’t make for myself. She brought her mother and my grandchildren to see me while I was bedridden in the hospital. As a result we have all grown much closer as humans and as a family and for this I am so grateful and thankful beyond words.
As part of the last chapter I’d written for my book, I’d asked for donations to help me complete the project. After being hospitalized for three weeks, then coming home I was unable to sit in a chair for weeks. One day as I was practicing sitting in a chair I quickly checked my email messages. To my shock and amazement someone had sent me a nice size donation and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Paraphrased, the person said here is something to help with these difficult times. I’ve read about you for some time and appreciate the work you have done to help others.
I thought, maybe this has to be someone that I know but I didn’t know who it could be. I didn’t ask any direct questions because I felt that would be disrespectful to the person who was giving. I thanked the person as best I could. At the time I was getting my second chemo treatment and I told the person about my treatment schedule. From that point forward when I’d get home from having chemo for hours I’d come home and just sleep for a day or two. Before I’d go to bed, I’d check my email and every time on the day of my treatment that person sent me the same amount to help with the bills that were piling up and my special needs. This made water fly out of my eyes every time in gratitude and humility.
This was a perfect way to teach me something about unconditional love and responsibility. I’m still learning from it. As it turns out, it’s a person I’ve never physically met before or known anything about, a perfect stranger to me. We have since shared more information with each other and for me it’s starting to feel like a friend I’ve known for a long, long time. This person has helped make a huge difference in my recovery.
On a personal level, I think this person knows how much I appreciate the help so I’m not writing here to convince them of anything. I’m writing this so that everyone else who has been with me during these difficult times knows that I am not alone and have not been alone in this battle. In my life, I’ve only known one other person that could afford to be as kind to me as this person is and his name was Bob Minton. As we all know, Bob was killed for his kindness so I have no intention of putting that person out there by name.
I won’t belabor how horrible it feels to go through chemo treatments but its damn painful and not a pretty sight to behold. Towards the end of my chemo another Angel came and helped me so much. Her name is Shelia Hueber!
Sheila came to me all the way from Australia and selflessly helped nursed me back to health. Sheila is an actual nurse! I say selflessly because she came back to America to act as a nurse to her mother who was terminally ill with inoperable lung and brain cancer. Shelia and one of her sisters acted as on sight nurses for their mother’s end of life care. Sheila and her sister would divide the week between them. During the days that Sheila had off, she would drive two hours to come and see me and stay for a day or two.
Shelia and I first met in 1977. She was a 16 year old girl assigned to the PAC RPF with me and 180 others. We talked about this and she reminded me of things I’d long forgotten. During the renovation of Big Blue (Scientology building complex in LA) I ran a crew of other’s who did the actual internal construction, primarily building walls and such. Sheila told my brother and friends that I was some sort of mason when it came to construction and how I’d teach others the trade. I remember her as being a loud ball of energy and she’d climb up just about anything. She reminded me that my nick name for her was “little Monkey!”
Sheila said she remembered me as a guy with big muscles that could get things done. What a shock it was for her to see me as skin and bones with no hair barely able to walk. She never even blinked. She took me and fed me and helped me to start walking again.
I can’t remember how many times Sheila drove the two hours to and from my apartment. I do remember her driving me to my doctor’s appointments more than once. Sheila was the person that took me to my first appointment to get a cat scan to see if my tumors were gone.
Sheila made me get up and take her to a Blues Club here in Chicago and we did that a couple of times. We’d go to different restaurants trying to find food that I could taste and enjoy. She’d just take over when she’d come over and had everyone admiring her where I live. I didn’t know Sheila had skills with the Tarot cards and she did a lot of readings.
Sheila’s mother passed and it was time for her to go back home to Australia. That’s the way I’ll tell it anyway but she was magnificent to me and made me feel good about myself when I was at an extreme low. I am so grateful for the love she showed me and shared with me, it helped to bring me back to life. Thank you my Sheila.
So during the worst of it I always had family and friends nearby on a regular basis. One person I’ll mention is Jon Horwich. I met Jon in the early 80’s during my time at Golden Era Productions (Scientology facility in Hemet, CA). Jon’s father-in-law was dead L Ron. Jon is the only other person from that era that lives in Chicago. Jon is a great friend and I’m happy to have him around.
Another old friend came to see me while I was in the middle of my chemo treatment, Bill Dendui. I first met Bill in 1979. I was walking down the street. I was not running I was walking, eating a tuna fish sandwich when I heard the voice of God… That line is part of a monologue Richard Prior did describing when he first met God. I believe it’s from Richards performance from his ground breaking comedy album “That Nigga’s Crazy!” I’d listened to it so many times that I’d memorized most of it.
In the spring of 1979, I was transferred from Scientology Big Blue in Los Angeles to a Scientology facility in Florida known as the “Flag Land Base”. Bill was a Messenger of dead L Ron which in Scientology world was analogous to angels as messengers of the Christian God and that’s not a stage joke, in Scientology world.
Dead L Ron’s Messengers and Messenger Organizations were feared and revered in Scientology world. Bill was Messenger and he came to see me. I was the Internship Supervisor of all Flag auditor’s in training. Bill wanted priority consideration for getting the other Messengers in his organization auditing from the interns. Oh he also had to explain all his power and authority to me too! We were the same age and come to find out, we both had memorized that Richard Prior album. We would laugh ourselves to tears repeating that crazy ass monologue. Then we’d laugh about the crazy ass women we were married to and the crazy ass people we had to work for. If only for a while, Richard Prior’s comedy could suspend and disarm Scientology world completely.
Over the years we became good friends, got new wives and new jobs from Florida to the “secret” Scientology world located in Hemet, CA. Again, come to find out things only got stranger and worst. My final point about Bill is this; we never turned on or disowned one another for Scientology or dead L Ron’s sake. God knows we were tested but we never let our personal friendship diminish I guess in part because we were so much alike.
I hadn’t seen Bill since I left Scientology in 1992, but we’d talked on the phone. When Bill came to see me I was pretty much bed ridden and physically depleted which I know was a shock to him. We laughed and talked as if no time had passed at all and that really sent my spirit flying. Bill coming to visit meant a lot to me.
About two months after Bill’s visit, he suffered a stroke that left him injured. Bill spent some time in the hospital and physical therapy has not been easy for him. As soon as I could I went to visit him at his home in Los Vegas. I posted pictures of that meeting on my facebook page. Bill is on his way back and he’s doing fine.
Besides all the locals that keep me company, I had another old friend Brian Haney came to check up on me. Brian has always been a true friend to me. He is one of the first to get me out of my bed and out trying to eat and do things. It was a blessing to hang out with him for a day.
The final and equally important factor that got me through the tribulation was all of the people that contacted me via snail mail, email, phone and facebook. Because of the injury to my spine it has taken awhile for me to be able to sit comfortably in a chair. I had to relearn how to sit in the least amount of pain if you can imagine that. I used facebook as a connection to the outside world beyond my bedroom door.
There were hundreds of people that took the time to wish me well or be kind in some way. Many said they were saying prayers for me. Call me crazy, but all the love people were sending me manifested as a presence that never left me lonely. I’ve been reading some material about the power of concentrated thought and I’m learning about the power that can be generated using thought alone.
So that’s an up-to-date from me. I’m spending my time recovering and it takes time. For some reason I seem to think I can do anything I want to, then reality sets in and I sit by ass down somewhere for a while. In a way, I feel so lucky having cheated death the way I did, hope he’s not to mad about it.
I also want to mention that I got a really nice message of support from Marty Rathbun’s wife, Monique right from the beginning. She offered assistance from her and Marty despite our differences of opinion. This was an excellent gesture on the part of the Rathbun’s and I thanked them for the kind consideration.
So I’m going through what I’ve written so far and editing it. I’ve figured out a title for the book. I’m going to call it “The Expert” because I alone hold the distinction of testifying in a court of law as an expert on the subject of Scientology while I was in it and I continued to hold that distinction as an expert about Scientology after I left the movement in court rooms from Florida to California.
I know I’ve been saying it and saying it, but what I have coming for you will not disappoint. I’m still trying to process all that has happened in the last 6 months. I do still not understand how all that getting real sick and then getting real well in such a short amount of time happened. There are many more people that I could mention and thank for their help and encouragement but the fact of the matter is I’m just tired of writing about it now.
As I go through with completing the story, I’ll continue to write on my blog as well just to stay in touch and talk about something else besides Scientology sometime. There is so much excitement in the world and I want to join the discussion!
Thank you all so much for the support and I’m really looking forward to sharing this New Year with all who visit here.
Happy New Year to all,
December 30, 2011