Our much beloved pal Michael Chandler died shortly after 4 a.m. on Sunday, April 22, 2018. He died peacefully in the hospital in California — with a kind friend by his side and having had his last rites performed by a priest. He had been taken off life support earlier in the weekend (following his collapse at home, at the end of his hard-fought and very painful struggle with cancer.) Our Chandler is at peace.
For those of you who donated to help him over the last two years, please know that it gave him deep happiness to feel the love that traveled with that support from old friends and compadres in rock-and-roll all over the globe. Your money paid his rent, it fed and clothed him, but more than that it elevated his spirits as he fought like hell.
Chandler was a brilliantly funny person, a man who knew how to get joy out of life. Here is a joyful tune from Elder Utah Smith that Chandler liked, and that we are listening to as we say goodbye:
Chandler's GoFundMe Team
When I was a little boy, five years old, I was playing with my feet and found a "hard mass" on one of my big toes. I called to my new mom in the next room and told her what I had found.
She called back to me and said that it was "just dead skin."
That didn't sound too great to me.
"Dead skin?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "Don't worry. It will come off after awhile."
I picked at it for about ten minutes and peeled it off.
"Hey, you were right," I hollered. "It did come off."
Thus began my rushing the cures and processes for physical anomalies and ailments. The upshot is that when I visited my oncological practitioner yesterday and told him of my intent to work by May, he told me to wait unil at least July, my next visit, and then "we'll see."
In the meantime, GoFunMe is my only source for rent, transit, and living expenses. Please repost/forward this link to anyone relevant and philanthropic who may be able to help out.
Regardless, I am still getting better every day. Thank you all for everything you have done already, and may God bless you.
My dear friends and family,
This is to be my final GoFundMe appeal, and it is accompanied by some terrifically exciting, wholly unexpected good news.
First of all, after having undergone the debilitating, nerve severing operation on my neck, I met with my oncological surgeon and had another biopsy done on the area from where he had removed the remainder of the tumor. On a subsequent visit to my oncological practitioner, I was informed that I am now “cancer-free.” That doesn’t mean everything; a biopsy can miss a spot, but this means that there is at least a 90% certainty that the radiation and chemo snipers successfully carried out their mission.
Second, I am able to eat real “people food” again, and I can almost taste things! I had been making dinners for my group home, so that I could eat and enjoy home cooking vicariously, I decided for the several hundredth time to try to eat a small plate of the ground beef (It was New Orleans-style sloppy Joe, and I have a hard time chewing and swallowing bread.). What happened? I was able to eat it, and I could almost taste it! Ever since then, I have been like a little kid who just learned how to ride a bicycle. All I want to do all day is that one new thing. That is eating real people food! Of course, it is good that I want to do it all day, as eating a can of Progresso soup can take up to an hour and a-half. Regardless, my energy level has spiked, and psychologically, I am dancing on air.
This brings me to a crucial point in this news story: I had a far easier time getting through the dark, muddled days of the worst part of my treatment in a very large part because of the support that you all showered upon me. Of course, the money was essential, but the outpouring of love and care and sympathy -- empathy from those of you who have been through this already -- turned my head and my life around. It frightens me to think of what my recent life would have been like had it not been for your prayers, encouragement, well-wishing, and overall sunshine in a time full of literal nightmares and physical and physiological stress and debilitation.
Do you know that the typical recovery rate from the treatment itself is eighteen months to two years. That puts me, with all of your attention and kindness, nine months ahead of the curve. I don’t want to jump the gun here. I can’t kid myself into believing that my stamina is what it was before treatment. I still need to gain back in muscle tone a good portion of the thirty-two pounds that I lost about two-fifths of my body weight), and I am going to have to butt heads with the state about approving partial dentures for me to replace the thirteen teeth that had to be removed before treatment could begin, as bone loss is a symptom, and any dental extraction over the next three years could irreparably break my jaw. Right now, I have no molars at all, and the remaining seven front teeth that I have do not have mates either above or below., I do all my chewing with the only teeth that do match up, somewhat like a lopsided squirrel. DentiCal does not provide partial dentures, only full sets, so I have gotten my various oncological staffs to give me written support explaining that this is a medical necessity and not a matter of vanity -- because of the difficulty chewing and swallowing, I get ahead of myself sometimes, and more than a few times a week, a piece of food gets stuck a third of the way down, and I have to essentially plunge it down with water. It is hard to breathe and scary. So anyhow, that’s on the agenda.
As a result of this newfound energy and optimism and the ability to actually eat again, I intend to start working at a real job sometime in May. In the meantime, I am building stamina and muscle tone (Walking, calisthenics, and you folks funded a used Schwinn for me!), and I intend to begin volunteer work. This allows for networking to find a better job or maybe even a paid position feeding the homeless, which is my ultimate goal.
MusiCares has been funding much of my rent over the last few months, but that is drying up very soon, and I need help.
I will give you all a final, tear-laden thanks in this lengthy epistle, and I wish to emphasize that for those of you who have already contributed, I would like you to stop right there. You have been more than generous. Please simply repost this in some avenues that we might have overlooked. My trusty administrator and dear friend, Bess Rattray, and I are trying to figure out charitable and sympathetic pockets of potential donors that we have missed. We welcome your suggestions. If you see this popping up several times over the next couple months, I apologize, it’s the nature of the thing.
May God continue to bless you all, and surely, I will keep you updated on both the progress and the stumbles along the way.
Hello friends and folks,
I wish first to thank my dear friend, Bess Rattray, for her continual support as the administrator of this most heartfelt, loving, and generous endeavor. She has managed this account extremely responsibly, unselfishly giving her time and effort. Thank you, Bess. Bess Rattray, by the way, receives the cotributions into her bank account, as my administrator, and very prudently disburses them to me into my PayPal account, as I do not have a bank account.*
(*This bit of Too Much Information was suddenly required of me today by the folks at GoFundMe.)
My mind, my hope and acceptance of what has to be acknowledged daily, hourly, as my future, has been reaffirmed in the most positive light by what you, my friends and family, have proven to me to have been a valuable and worthwhile life, and not something for me to dispose or to disregard. Thank you, to each one of you who have presented my situation to others, and may you please continue, as I am very far from being free and clear of the cancer itself and several months away from being free of the debilitating side effects of treatment, which are strangely more cumbersome than the disease itself. Thank you copiously to those who have contributed money to the campaign. Your gifts put money into a perspactive, where I wish to repay your soulful notions with positive actions, and with a future that will show your contributions as worthwhile -- that there is a terrifically positive outcome, which we may all share.
I/we ain't out of the woods yet, but you have all given me blue flame where there had been but a fading ember; you have shown me sincerity at a time when I was losing confidence in the deteriorating world around me; you have shown me care and love in a world that I was sure had no time for brotherhood, compassion, or empathy. All of you have, if not made me a differnt person, then brought me back to the much more open, hopeful, joyful person that I have been in the past. You have opened so many doors for me.
You have my sincere and gracious thanks. I am wildly excited to show you what I may give you in return.
(My original campaign post)
This is Michael Chandler, of (in order) The Outta Place, the Raunch Hands, Chandler & The Chasers, and the Lost Crusaders. Last December, I was diagnosed with an occult form of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. It formed a hard mass about the size of half a mango from my right ear to the middle of my jaw. It was alarming and frightening. I was told that maybe I would be around for awhile, and maybe I would not.
At the urging of friends, I moved to California, where some of the best cancer facilities in the nation are located, and after jumping through months of governmental hoops and chopping a swath through a jungle of red tape, I was admitted to the world-reknowned City of Hope for seven weeks of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, while staying on their beautiful campus and dealing daily with their terrifically uplifting staff.
I completed the regimen, and now I continue with follow-up treatment, more biopsies and PET scans, various medications, and a positive attitude to see that I am hopefully cancer-free.
However, a huge glitch has emerged in my recovery: My MediCal insurance will not cover inpatient recuperative housing or long-term sober living facilities, which I was also looking into. County-sponsored beds in those places typically take several months to become available. Right now, I’m existing solely on the good graces of friends who are going out of their way to help me. My friends have been very generous with their time, living spaces and vehicles, but this cannot last much longer as I’m running out of options (read: impositions).
Although I am still quite weary and weak, I am sure that I will be able to get some form of menial job to be able to pay affordable, low-income housing or to get a roomate situation - there are loads of opportunities here in Los Angeles, but until I am able to do that, I need to scramble to have someplace to recover, which could take six months to a year. I will need to supplement what the government gives me for food, and I will need money for public transit to make my medical appointments, and interviews for longer-term housing and employment. I will need to get partial dentures for the thirteen teeth which were extracted at the onset of my radiation treatment and chemotherapy (I can't have any oral surgery for the next three years.). This is why I am reaching out now.
Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated, even if it is simply keeping me in your prayers. I would love it if you could share this link with others who may be able to help or to at least repost it.
I am keeping an upbeat outlook, trying to gain back the 20-odd pounds that I damn sure didn't need to lose and doing what I can to feel like a useful member of society. I plan to be around for some time. And hey, as soon as I feel up to it, I will be back to making really excellent music.
Thank you, and God bless you!
- Sean Barger
- Astrid Bowlby
Organizer and beneficiary
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