PHOENIX, (Robert Blair Kaiser) — Quite by accident, medics discovered (while looking for something else) that I had a mysterious mass in my upper chest. Long story short: they did a biopsy and found a malignant growth (about 2.5 inches long) in my chest.
So I plunge into a new adventure. I have two of the most experienced oncologists in Phoenix working on my case: Jeff Isaacs and Michael Feinstein. They’ve already moved to set me up for a whole series of tests. A PETSCAN of my whole body (to see where else the cancer may have spread), an MRI of my brain, a deeper analysis of the material taken in my biopsy, five different blood analyses, etc etc. (P.S. I’ve never smoked.) They have already judged that the growth lies in a space between my lungs and is wrapped around a vital vein; for that reason, they cannot perform any surgery. That’s good news to me. I’d rather face chemotherapy. That won’t start for two or three weeks, which is good.
Gives me time to finish a book I have been working on for six months — a ghosted autobiography. Tom Doyle is a Dominican priest who warned the U.S. bishops way back in 1985 that if they didn’t do something drastic about their wayward priests, they’d have to start defending themselves on lawsuits all over the nation, and they could end up losing a billion dollars. They ignored him, and had him fired from his job at the Vatican embassy in DC. Seven years later, the whole scandal blew up in Boston and other victims started going to the civil courts for relief. Now, the bishops have paid out more than $2 billion in settlements, seven dioceses have gone bankrupt, and 30 million Catholics have left the Church. Meanwhile, Doyle goes on giving expert testimony in courts all over the world. He’s on the side of the victims, which has made him a hero to thinking Catholics and a pariah among the bishops.
I intend to keep writing and smiling — laughing even as much as I can — and exulting over the victories of my favorite football teams, the Oregon Ducks, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and the SF 49ers. (An old friend of mine, Norman Cousins, found out he had cancer, and laughed himself well, and wrote a book about it.)
P.S. Please forward this to others you know who still believe in prayer. I already have a bunch of nuns praying for me, nuns from New York to New Zealand.