“Paranormal State” was a reality show on A&E that followed a group of paranormal investigators called the Paranormal Research Society, founded by Ryan Buell, 31, when he was a 19-year-old Penn State student.
The show aired its last episode in May 2011 and then a year later, Buell revealed he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He now opens up to People about his battle with cancer and what it was liking coming to terms with his own mortality.
“At times, I was experiencing almost like a traffic jam in my body and my kidneys would shut down or I’d be in insane, intense abdominal pain, like I was being stabbed to death,” says Buell. “I was throwing up constantly, suffering fever, changing of the skin. It took some time to get things under control.”
“I had a friend who came [to see me]. An older gentleman, Charles, who was in his early 60s – we met him through Paranormal State. He was a former priest, and he became like an uncle. He talked to me about how … having faith means accepting loss sometimes and just knowing it’s going to be okay,” Buell continues.
“Faith isn’t when you keep getting rewards over and over again. Having faith is making peace with the fact that you may die, but you know it’s gonna be okay. He ended up passing away two weeks before my surgery, so he wasn’t able to see it through.
So [my fight] was for him and for my family. And, in a way, for the underdogs, because people were saying they weren’t expecting me to live for three months. Here I was a year later. I had to go to death’s door, in a way, and I had to accept that. And suddenly I found that there was a beauty to it. Maybe faith is accepting loss and death.”
“They did remove the tumor laparoscopically, and there has been no spread. My body is still not 100 percent, I’m still weak, I still have to be careful of what I eat. I have to be a bit more mindful – I can’t go 100 m.p.h. like I used to. I won’t travel as much, and now I just have to be a bit more patient,” says Buell. “I also had my gallbladder removed due to complications there. My kidneys are extraordinarily weakened because of this, so I’m still experiencing a lot of the symptoms. We’re monitoring and trying to figure out what those next steps are.”
“[The doctors] are very happy, but I still have a road ahead. It’s a process. There’s a whole line of other people that have it worse than I.”
Read the full profile at People’s website.