My Cancer Story Ch. 49 “Halloween High”

Chapter 49: “Halloween High”

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As it turns out, the plates did indeed still belong to the Cadillac. For whatever reason, Dad hadn’t changed them over. He did have the insurance though, so I knew I could at least contest that. But what about that stupid “transportation?” Ugh, this sucked more than anything has ever sucked before.


Instead of worrying about the impending court hearing, I tried to focus my attention on more pressing matters– My first classes of college, my camerawork, staying warm, and our upcoming Halloween Party.

Wow, they really lay it on thick during college midterms, huh? I couldn’t believe how many consecutive tests and projects they jammed into a week and a half. It was great to finally have the Fall break, which someone told me was to diminish suicide rates amongst college students. That to me was harder to believe: that some kids would take something such as college classes seriously enough to end what we hold most precious. If I took away only one thing from my battle with Leukemia was that life is a gift of which we take for granted.

My camera was the keeper of that gift… the gift to capture a specific time in our lives. Maybe my heavy use was a subconscious over-documentation compared against the inadequate coverage of my time during hospitalization, who knows? Well, my friends knew.

My friends surely grew tired of me incessantly pointing the camcorder directly in their faces…

…but instead, they all embraced the thing – and soon – the camera became an extension of my body. I would carry it with me everywhere I went, except work, where I wasn’t allowed.

Stupid work. I mean, I got it: there was myriad customers’ information on our computers, but I had wanted to capture footage of…

Hmm. Why would I want to record this place, again?

Stupid me.

It was around this time that we failed to realize a substantial issue with the house that we rented: we had to pay for our own heating oil. For those of you who aren’t aware, Maine’s awfully cold in the winter, and the cooler months often began much earlier, around September or October. And since we needed to keep warm at night we used more heating oil.

That was until we ran out.

We mustered all of what little cash we had together and bought some heating oil. Luckily, Shawn worked at Daigle Oil Company (at their gas station), and so we were able to get a minor discount.

The oil was much more expensive than we had initially thought, and we only put in about a hundred gallons (only a fraction of the tank’s capacity). If we were to stay warm this winter, then we needed to come up with substantially more funds.

But why buy oil when you can throw a party? And this was no ordinary gathering; we were planning to throw a massive shindig for our Halloween Party. We purchased lots of snacks and lots more booze (hey, we had connections) and invited the typical few dozen or so to join in on the festivities.

Okay, so maybe a LOT more than that.

We all went with the theme and wore costumes, which we then used to record some funny videos.

I was Samara from The Ring. I wore a nightgown and a stark black wig.

Samara 1

Travis was a short Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th Series; he wore a jumpsuit, a Carhartt jacket, and the iconic hockey mask.

Brent was a gypsy whore, Mitch a Devil Chef, and Tony a pimp, but Jason– oh Jason, was the one who stole the show. He borrowed his Mom’s blouse and bra and dressed up for the oldest profession: A lady of the night named Jasmine.

Some of the videos we made that day crossed over all of our personalities. Some silly, some… iconic.

As one of the only sober people at these parties, I couldn’t help but keep an eye on the front door all night, as to prevent a lot of heat from escaping the house (and from law enforcement entering). Everybody who came in, left the door wide open as they greeted everyone in their nearest vicinity. And this isn’t even scratching the surface compared to the smokers who were in and out repeatedly. Damn you, oil prices.

Still, we all managed to have a good time. Eventually, I too found myself partaking in an old friend…

Now, I was always a straightedge. As I mentioned before, I was deathly afraid of becoming an alcoholic like my parents and never touched the stuff. But the hospital introduced me to several more damning narcotics – ones that took the life out of me – but on the opposite spectrum, a synthetic version of marijuana, which made me feel alive in an otherwise sterile world.

I absolutely loved the feeling of being high while in the hospital. Marijuana saved my life by keeping me hungry. Sure, I ate like a fat pig, but it was a blessing in disguise; I needed the energy and this drug had provided me the desire to consume said sustenance.

Plus, I got to really enjoy television and film in a whole new light. Wheel of Fortune was never the same again.

As such, the party upstairs was quite the different affair. I was looking to relive the glory of that feeling, and this was my chance. So once I stopped worrying about the heat escaping the house, I went upstairs to join some of my friends.

They had an assortment of bowls and bongs being passed around. Tony even had this magnificent ‘zong’ that was a bong with an elongated shaft with jutting points like that of a deer’s antlers– the shape of which resembled a “Z,” hence the amendment to the bong moniker.

We got higher than I had ever been before. After a good half an hour, Shawn came knocking on the door upstairs. He looked around to ask the typical smoking circle where I was. Then he saw me.

He burst out laughing. He hadn’t seen me high since the hospital, and I couldn’t help my reaction. You know that feeling when something is terribly funny and you try to restrain yourself, but your eyes water and your cheeks puff out? That was me in that moment and I erupted like the peak of Mount St. Helens. The rest of the guys all harmonized and soon, we went back downstairs to rejoin the festivities. Kristyn, Shawn’s girlfriend, made eye contact with me.

When you go upstairs for a long period of time, people know what you’re up to.

I couldn’t contain my volcano this time either. Shawn whispered in her ear to confirm her suspicions. I was on top of the world. The Sansui speakers were bumping Darude’s “Sandstorm.” I let the techno bass fill my body with vibrations.

In this moment, amidst the War on Terror, in this rented house during the biggest party yet, all was right with the world.

-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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