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Chapter 20: House Guest

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It’s amazing the patterns that the universe can provide if someone’s looking. Some call it Apophenia, others call it synchronicity, but nonetheless if you’re in tune to the branches of the world around you then one can often find similarities.

Especially when you’re stuck in a hospital room every day.

My “insight” into the connective tissue of the universe came in two-fold. First, I was more aware of people who had fought cancer locally and in the public eye.

During a rerun of my ritualistic viewing of The Price is Right I had discovered that Rod Roddy, the announcer, had been battling Colon and Breast cancer for a few years. No wonder he was off the show intermittently, as he was in this older episode.

In the past, I would say to myself “that’s too bad,” and move on with my day, but now I had this overwhelming sense of empathy and guilt. I prayed on his behalf nightly, along with a bevy of other strangers I learned shared such frightful ailments.

It’s similar to celebrities whom when confronted with a particular disease (either through personal affliction or vicariously through loved ones), tend to give funding to the respective charity. And yet, all I had were my well wishes, which in the past, I believed amounted to nothing. Oh, how wrong I was.

Another tendril of the world showing its hand was the fact that I was cleared to continue my recovery from the newest round of chemo off of the hospital campus: at the Ronald McDonald House. It’s funny, the very place that used to “kill me” slowly with their food, and recently helped me in the very same way (by gaining weight), would be assisting me once again; this time through their charity arm. Talk about a love/hate relationship.

I was excited to get out for a change. I was to be discharged and would visit the hospital once a day to get my blood counts drawn, and if needed, get a transfusion; a far cry from sitting inside all damn day doing nothing.

But you’d need to wear a mask outdoors?

So what?! I’m OUTDOORS! Read chapter 11…


Predictably, the discharge process took some time… Yeah, I’m putting it lightly. Several hours later I was released in my Dad’s custody. On weekends, my Mom and Gary would usually go home and check on the animals and catch up on the week that was. So most weeks, my Father and Brother came down, like two pairs of tag team wrestlers.

My Dad, Trav, and I drove the “long” half-mile to Ron’s Place. I met with the same people who so graciously housed my Mom and Gary during these hard times, the managers of the RMD House: Pat & Jerry.

They said I had looked better since we’d last seen each other, and I guess I had been feeling better. It’s amazing how alert and awake I felt coming out of the effects of Chemo. I was back to my old self again, er– well, before I had undetected Leukemia.

They showed me to my room, and since my blood counts were in the process of getting wrecked again, my room was a sectioned off “apartment” at the end of the building.

It was a pretty cool set-up. There was a living room in the corner (with DVD player!), mini-kitchen, it’s own entrance, and ample amounts of space.

But there wasn’t much to do, so we decided to go out for a ride. We went shopping at all of the amazing stores Bangor had to offer– no, we just went to the Big K. When people from up North (“The County”) head to Bangor, they tend to stick to Hogan Road exclusively. Hey, at least that money I “earned” was being put to good use.

I bought a few DVDs of which the home video release had slipped by me, even though I had been anticipating them for quite some time. Time slowed to a crawl in the hospital day-to-day, but weeks were flying by faster and faster. Our first snowfall was early this year. Usually, we’d have what we called “White Week” almost like clockwork the third week of October. The skies would open up and we’d be transformed into a winter wonderland, but as that week progressed, the snow would melt just fast enough for us to revel in fall for a few more weeks. Yes, the moniker was ostensibly pejorative, but it meant no harm.

I was eager to burn more of that money with new and exciting media content, but by the time we got to the register, I had an immense blanket of lethargy coddle my weak, pale body. So I requested we head back to the apartment, kick back, and watch some of these newly purchased movies.

But not before we hit that McDonald’s across the street.

Days after I reached the Ronald McDonald House for my brief respite, I learned that the famed announcer of The Price is Right (for almost as many years as I was alive), Rod Roddy, succumbed to his battle with colon and male breast cancer. He was 66.

My heart ached deeply. I didn’t know how to feel. He wasn’t a family member or close friend, and I didn’t know him in any way, but he was in my house for an hour a day Monday to Friday, fifty-two weeks a year. A stranger with no ties to me, and yet, here I was weeping for his (and his family’s) loss.

I felt like we were interconnected, and that this (and the prayer’s/positive vibes sent my way) were proof of such a human level. I didn’t tell my Dad or Brother, for it wasn’t their loss, and it was hard to explain. But it shouldn’t be, we shouldn’t shy away from such emotions for while they may be overblown, they’re necessary and integral to our species.

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)

P.S. Should I name all of my chapters after Sinbad films?

This is an ongoing story of my personal battle with Cancer. My hope is that it helps others who are currently experiencing their own battles (whether it be for themselves or a loved one) or to help with early detection.

The way I’m doing it is terrifying for a writerI’m writing a publically available first-draft outline for an eventual book, chapter by chapter in weekly form. The only reason I’m doing it this way is to get the story out as soon as possible for someone out there who needs a survivor to visit them during their own treatment. If you’re reading this and need someone to talk to, tweet at me and I’ll give you a call. No questions asked. This story is for you and I’ll help any way that I can.

Stay tuned, as I will be posting a new chapter every Monday until the story is complete.

And remember if you experience any Anemic symptoms– get checked for Leukemia as well.

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Ron and Rod

Support your local Ronald McDonald House, and send your well-wishes to someone whose battling cancer. They both help immensely.

100 comments on “My Cancer Story Ch. 20 “House Guest”

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