My Cancer Story Ch. 34 “A Perfect Circle”

Chapter 34: “A Perfect Circle”

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Wow, what a Christmas! Not only did my family surround me at every turn, but I also received a substantial amount of presents. My Dad even bought me my very own Gamecube!


Now, all of the games that have kept me sane over the past few months could be at my fingertips at a moment’s notice. No longer would I have to share my distraction from thoughts of boredom or death; I would have my very own game console to do that for me!

Amazingly enough, that wasn’t even the best present that I received: My Dad’s former boss had come down to visit me the week before I left the hospital for the Holidays, and gifted me a DVD player. He must have felt bad for firing my Dad – considering his insurance was the only thing keeping me in the hospital – and this was his way of cheering me up. Hey, I’ll take it!


But that wasn’t yet the best gift! No, the absolute best gift I received was the sound of music: the hotly anticipated follow-up to a band’s debut album from my sister Kylie: A Perfect Circle, Thirteenth Step (along with two cool corresponding t-shirts!).



















I remembered telling Kylie that I missed a chance to see them live. They were playing in Portland, ME, only two hours away from Bangor. I had bugged the doctors incessantly, to see if I could somehow sneak out in between treatments and go see them, but my doctor advised against it, considering there were so many people who could have something as deadly as a common cold or worse: the flu.


Kylie had a good head on her shoulders and remembered that fact. So she gave me the next best thing: the CD, and two shirts I could have conceivably purchased at the Merch table. “Now, you can create your own concert here!” I had to laugh; it was corny, but greatly appreciated.


My friends Shawn, Tony, Mitch, and I had been playing the first cd all during High School, and now in the apartment (in between Tool, Mudvayne, and more), so it was truly a treat to have APC’s second release. Mitch and I even used a song off the former, Mer de Noms, for our Senior Year Slideshow that we had assembled.


I found myself enveloped in this CD, and immediately made “The Noose” an unofficial anthem to my recovery here in the hospital. The opening line said what I had heard time and time again in my recent months: “So glad to see you well.” Then the song continued:


Overcome and completely silent now

With heavens help you cast your demons out


Then the song continued and spoke to my newfound Survivor’s Guilt:


And not to pull your halo down

Around your neck and tug you off your cloud

But I’m more than just a little curious

How you’re planning to go about making your amends

To the dead

To the dead


Recall the deeds as if they’re all

Someone else’s atrocious stories

Now you stand reborn before us all

So glad to see you well

And not to pull your halo down

Around your neck and tug you to the ground

But I’m more than just a little curious

How you’re planning to go about making your amends

To the dead

To the dead


These lyrics only cemented the necessity for some kind of external purpose. Sure my life has forever changed internally, but what the hell can I do to help others? I knew that this was one of the reasons I made it out alive. But the battle wasn’t over yet, and I had to return to the call of duty.


But not before I played on Mitch’s birthday gift: a new pool table!



















My skill had increased exponentially thanks to my months of practice on Grant 8, and I won more than ever, but Mitch’s Dad, Ron; man, was he a formidable foe. He knocked me on my ass nearly every single time. This was a boomerang gift, wasn’t it? That’s okay, Ron, I would have done the same thing.


Seriously, Ron is tough as nails.

Before you knew it, I was whisked away, back to reality, into my remaining smaller doses of chemotherapy. The end was near, and luckily it wasn’t mine; no, in the New Year, I would be done with cancer treatments. I suppose it’s one of the benefits of having the adult form: quicker to treat…


…but more chance of it returning. I tried my best not to think of that possibility; it wouldn’t help my recovery in any way if I did.


As we approached the hospital, for once I felt satiated with my amount of family time. I was ready to take this Leukemia head on and kick its ass. I had help; in familiarity and distraction: Room 864 and my Gamecube respectively. Oh, and did I mention that I had a new game? Oh yeah.


Mario Kart: Double Dash. I was going to take the time needed to master Mario Kart once and for all. Those drifts would evade me no longer.


The IV dripped fresh poison into my veins; the grunts and beeps almost on time, supplemented The Outsider, song number seven on Thirteenth Step. I sat on the edge of my hospital bed playing Double Dash for hours on end; then I figured “what the hell?” and called the nurses. “Can I get some pizza and Mountain Dew today?”


If I hadn’t already been treating this place like my apartment, then today would definitely prove that mindset. I was only in my “crib” for a few days, just long enough for the chemo to course through my veins. Then I was discharged to RMD to let the toxins do their thing.


I didn’t have the energy to stay up and watch the ball drop; it had been a tradition since I was a kid, even that year that I thought my heart would blow up. When I first was diagnosed in August, I had that feeling again: I won’t make it to the New Year; almost like it was a competition to see how many calendars I could pin on my wall.


Ha it’s funny, back then I thought I wouldn’t live to see the next year, and now – when in the presence of pure adversity – staring down the true face of Death; I rebelliously kick back, fight my urge to sleep, and watch the ball drop as I am reborn into another New Year.


Welcome to the future:





-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)

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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71 thoughts on “My Cancer Story Ch. 34 “A Perfect Circle”

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