Paul Hughes cancer fighting cop
In 1975 Paul Hughes made a life commitment to enter into a career in law enforcement. The 70's were a turbulent time in police work, post Vietnam, the rise of the Black Panther movements, law enforcement officers being called "Pigs", and entry level wages comparable to cashiers at the local fast foods. Paul quickly discovered that the oil patch advances along the Texas Gulf Coast brought with it a large contingent of oversize movements of equipment and materials that required police motorcycle escorts to facilitate the safe and expedient passage through the Metropolitan Houston area to move into or out of the Port of Houston. In 1978 Paul began working atop a Kawasaki KZ-1000 Police motorcycle. This bike was a popular alternative to the standard Harley Davidson and was made recognizable by the popular TV show "CHiPS". He always found a way to find the lemonade within the lemons.... The term "Pig" to Paul actually stood for Pride, Integrity, and Guts! The radio call signs for the two CHiPS stars was "7 Mary 3" and "7 Mary 4". These are now the license number plates that Paul and his Son Phillip who is also a police officer proudly have on the Honda Gold Wing police bikes that they now ride side by side. Paul's career saw him graduate from the FBI National Academy during the 153rd Session. Paul earned a small retirement as a micro-city police chief in a suburb of Houston.
In 2004 Paul took a position that required some very specialized training in the UK, and the granting of a clearance and declaration of "Need to Know" to work in the International Zone or "Green Zone" working with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Gulf Region Division at the Reconstruction Operations Center. Paul served as the Deputy G-2, Intelligence Requirements and Collections Manager. Paul worked in Baghdad until April of 2008.
After settling back in stateside Paul was hired by a private company that had just been awarded with the contract to relocate illegal aliens from the United States back to their home countries. Paul was the Flight Team Leader who coordinated the removal of over 120 individuals daily and their secure repatriation back to Central and South American countries. His team was comprised of fellow retired law enforcement personnel.
Paul missed two aspects of his career that were very important parts of his life, small town policing and riding police motorcycle details. Paul joined the Police Department of the micro-city suburb of Houston, Stagecoach, Texas. He is a member of the Command Staff and is serving as the Lieutenant of Solo Traffic Enforcement. This position facilitates the ownership and use of a Police Motorcycle, 7M3.
Last year Paul was diagnosed with a Stage 4 malignant tumor in his neck. After a careful search for the course of treatment and the Oncologist to lead in the fight of and for his life, a Paul began his journey through the medical and financial trials and trails of cancer. The severe side effects of the chemotherapy and radiation prohibited him from riding his motorcycle but did not deter him from fulfilling his assigned shifts. Despite losing his hair and over 30% of his body weight he continued to report for duty. On the days that he was uncertain he would be joined by his Son Phillip for the shift, but the call of duty was answered!
In February this year a PET Scan indicated that the tumor was gone from his throat.......but had metastasized in his left lung. After consulting with his Oncologist Paul elected to proceed with a newly approved therapy for Squamous Cell Carcinoma called immunotherapy. His Oncologist told him that this new treatment had shown very promising results. The downside to this course of treatment is that according to his Oncologist, it's "extremely expensive".
With the Federal laws governing health care, both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) Paul maintained a group HMO policy with his wife, and enrolled in the Medicare System upon turning 65. Here is the real issue........ While the immunotherapy has shown very promising and encouraging results......because of Obama Care the HMO cannot be cancelled and the Medicare must be maintained. Neither plan will cover this treatment because both plans point to the other and say "let them pay for it". Now to make it more interesting the HMO wants to be reimbursed for the previous treatment protocols.
Through the insistence of his Daughter Jennifer and encouragement of his wife of over 40 years, Joan, Paul agreed to go public with his story and create a Gofundme posting to seek help with the financial hurdles facing the lifetime law enforcement officer.
Paul was asked to summarize his current status and outlook on his future. Here was his response,
Cancer is not going to define me, defeat me, discourage me, nor take me. I have been waging a battle for the past year with this demon. The chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and inability to eat were challenging to say the least. Not being able to work for six months proved very costly. Now a secondary issue with another neoplasm to be dealt with that will require immunotherapy. The Oncologist has said that this is the best course of treatment, however it will be extremely expensive. I have never chosen the easiest path nor the safest way forward.....but I always try to keep my mission moving forward by doing what is right. This immunotherapy is the right way forward. I have gone through a large portion of my retirement funding getting through this year, facing this next phase is challenging my financial plans to their limits. A financial recovery should prove to be as difficult as the treatment I was born: wet, barefooted, naked, hungry, and crying...... I'm NOT going out that way! This surfing, drum playing, motorcycle riding cop will survive this! There are still waves to be ridden, fish out there to be caught and hogs out there to be shot! Somebody's got to do it, might as well be me.
I am a motorcycle officer who is fighting cancer. This has proven to be the fight of my life.
When I was discharged from the hospital two weeks ago after surgery involving the lung decortication I was prescribed a respiratory treatment machine and the appropriate medication. You just gotta love the insurance world we live in today..... you guessed it, the breathing assist device was not covered, the medicine is covered, just not the device to administer it.
I will keep you informed of my continued challenges in this fight against cancer... I really wish my beloved State of Texas permitted herbal treatment... I have no doubt that I would respond very well to the treatment!
I just REALLY want to get back to work. I have learned that if you don’t work, you should not expect any paychecks in the mail.