Hi! I'm Cadence

I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia on February 12, 2018. This is my story.

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Retreats & Recovery

The last few days have been absolutely insane- so much so I haven’t really had time to sit down and reflect on them yet. Today I have a bit of downtime and I wanted to talk about how incredible my weekend was.

This weekend I attended a retreat for women under 40 with cancer, hosted by Pink Pearl Canada. It was BY FAR the single most important step I have taken for myself during my cancer journey.

I have attended many groups, and found them all extremely beneficial. From every group I always leave feeling more connected and less alone. This weekend however I felt those things and SO much more! I felt represented. I felt truly understood. I felt like we all had the same elephants in the room so our elephants decided to just leave and party on their own, so we could party on our own too. It was absolutely magical.

I was a bit late on Friday night arrive to the retreat, which took place in Niagara on the Lake. I had tests all day Friday and traffic was brutal, so I was already a bit anxious, and it was intimidating arriving late to meet a group of about 40 women, most of whom you’ve never met before.

I was extremely lucky that my friend had told me to apply for this event, as well as another friend of ours who is also living with CML. We all got accepted to attend and that was a huge relief to me. I already knew two people- bonus! Slowly but surely I relaxed when I realized we were all experiencing the same massive, overwhelming challenges and changes in our lives.

It was like we had known each other forever, and over the weekend as we did some Zumba, yoga, roundtable discussions and seminars I could feel that I wasn’t alone in the feeling of my cup bing very filled up. The joy, happiness and fun that I experienced was so freeing- and the retreat itself was FREE. It’s been hard to celebrate the joy in my life at times, and this felt like I was in a room with so many other encouraging people, giving me permission to dance like an idiot, or make jokes about the hard and brutal truths of living with cancer.

The most important thing I took away form this weekend was forgiveness. The forgiveness that I felt for the people in my life who I was hurt from, by their lack of understanding. I realized, finally, that people really can’t understand, unless they’ve experienced it. It’s such a huge, crazy and unimaginable thing that it’s actually almost impossible for ME to comprehend and I’m going through it. People would sometimes empathize, and try to understand, but it never felt like anyone truly ‘got it,’ and I had been kind of angry about that. Until this weekend. It felt like a hundred pound weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. It was the greatest gift I have gotten yet.

Cancer is scary and hard. If you are a young adult living with cancer, it has a whole host of other challenges that are often not addressed through the traditional cancer care system. I’ve often felt like no one was willing to tell me what was going to truly happen to my body after the chemo or radiation. Sometimes it even felt like I had lost control over the decisions that were being made about it and I was no longer in the driver’s seat. I had to lose the chance at ever having my own children, and I will also have to deal with premature ovarian failure. So many things that will affect the rest of my life when the transplant and treatments are finished, that I didn’t know who to talk to about. I found those people, my people, people who are going through all those things and more at Pink Pearl.

I encourage you to check out retreats, meet-ups, socials or any other event that gets you communicating with people who represent your journey. Who are experiencing similar loss, grief and mourning. Who understand the rainbow of emotions caused by caner, and who will give you valuable insights and experiences that will help make you feel less alone and more prepared to face those challenges. It might seem scary at first, but in my experience, almost everything scary is worth it.

Pink Pearl hosts a huge event in April to raise funds to help run programs like the one I attended this past weekend, If you’re looking for a super fun night out to support a great cause I encourage you to check out their Black & White with a touch of Pink Gala!

2 Comments

  • Charly

    March 6, 2019 at 3:43 am

    Cadence I just want to send you love light and healing energy ?and in my heart & soul ; I just know you are gonna KICK cancers ASS ❤️XoxoX love always from my whole family & circle of friends ?

    Reply

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