Hi! I'm Cadence

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

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Day Zero (Transplant Day)

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Day -20

I had an appointment this morning with an oncology psychiatric resident, which I opted to introduce as part of my treatments in September.

As part of a teaching hospital I often end up with students, fellows and residents performing under the supervision of an acting physician, which I think is great, but does have drawbacks. This is the second resident I’ve had, my last one finished their residency in December. My current one finishes their residency in two weeks, so right at the time of my transplant I will get transferred to someone else.

I have truly enjoyed them both and felt totally heard, validated, supported and understood by each. Being able to tell someone how I’m feeling was a key part of not letting myself get weighed down. As soon as I felt the familiarity of depression creeping in, I asked my doctor for the support I needed. It made a huge difference.

Letting out the good bad and ugliness of cancer in a safe space is important. You need to acknowledge the change, the challenges and fear in order to find away to accept and/or overcome it. However you choose to see that space.

My appointment was good, and I feel as ready as I could possibly be for the road ahead. Everything will work out.

Today my face is still killing me and I was up a bunch of times the night from the pain. I’m probably overdoing it with the tylenol and advil right now because I was such a fool for turning down painkillers after getting my tooth yanked. I’m definitely regretting it! It hurts *way* more than the biopsy site. ugh.

After my appointment I did some laundry and cleaned up the condo to get ready to go back home to see Bill. I haven’t seen him since Monday but I know he isn’t feeling well and I’m hoping it’s gotten better because I’m dreading getting sick! I want to see him but things are just so risky right now. After the party Sunday I was grateful for the antibiotics they made me take Monday for my teeth, because my neutrophils had dropped more than I thought they would have, and I thought about how silly it was looking at them, that I went to a bar so close to transplant with hundreds of people and no mask! Silly me. Just hoping to keep dodging it and stay healthy and clear for transplant.

Today at my appointment I talked about how hard it had been coming to terms with time- knowing when Day Zero was, knowing the risks it presented, knowing I could die on that date, or for a myriad of reasons in the year after that date, and beyond. Knowing that I was limited in terms of ability to travel, financial constraints, availability of my husband to travel, etc, and how hard that made things was frustrating.

Reconciling the reality of what I could still do to make me feel happy and relaxed as the time passed, and what I wanted to do, what I wish I had done, in the last few months, six months, or year, was HARD. I had kept working after my diagnosis until 3 weeks before I was told I was proceeding to transplant. Even then, I would have physically still been able to work if I had pushed myself, but I chose to take the time to focus on my health and spent the holidays and time with my family. I wished I had made the decision sooner. I didn’t realize how exhausted I had been trying to push forward until I allowed myself time to rest.

I struggled a lot with feeling like I hadn’t made good use of the year before finding out I was having a transplant at all, and now I was struggling with that feeling again for the last few weeks as the clock screamed downwards faster than a broken elevator. I had to accept that there was limited time, amidst loads of complications and lots of loss. I was going to feel grief for the things I didn’t get to do. It was OK to feel angry about how things worked out. I didn’t get to go to the Pyramids. I didn’t get to become a Yoga teacher. I didn’t get to go to Greece. I didn’t get to do a ton of things on my ‘bucket list.’ Yet. But I will. In my next life!

In the interest of celebrating instead of focusing on the negatives-
Here’s What I DID do, in no particular order:

👉🏼 Finished touring ‘Zero’, the album Runaway Angel released in the fall
Released ‘Hard to Get’ to Radio
👉🏼 Re-branded and re-designed the visual identity of my husband’s business
👉🏼 Attended the CMAO’s as a Group of the Year nominee
👉🏼 Threw a massive Multi-weekend double birthday party at the house
👉🏼 Went to Mexico for a friends wedding
👉🏼 Finished renovating the house
👉🏼 Performed on MainStage at a ton of festivals, including a dream gig- Trackside!
👉🏼 Went to my best friend’s wedding at her beautiful home
👉🏼 Shot the epic grease themed video for ‘Hard To Get’
👉🏼 Wrote a fucking novel. (Yup, you red that right. I participated in Nanowrimo, and hit the 50,000 word mark, but I’m not finished this epic ditty yet, and will finish in my next life.)
👉🏼 Hosted my first mass family Christmas with 50 people over two days
👉🏼 Went away to Muskoka with my family
👉🏼 Went to a beautiful family wedding in Ottawa and had a blast partying with my husband’s family
👉🏼 Wrote a children’s book (coming soon!)
👉🏼 Attended CCMA’s in Hamilton to see all my music friends
👉🏼 Launched a Blog
👉🏼 Went to Jamaica for a Transplant-cation
👉🏼 Went to St. Annes Spa (Tomorrow, I’ll get to say this twice ;))
👉🏼 Cut my hair. Four times. Then dyed it blonde. 🤷🏼‍♀️
👉🏼 Probably a million other things I’m Forgetting that were AMAZING. They may not have been things I knew I wanted to do, or had on my list, but I enjoyed, grew and changed from each and every one. I think that’s worth celebrating!

This afternoon I decided to take some time to distract myself with something fun that I would enjoy, and in the interest of adding to this list as much as I can before Day zero, I’ve decided to keep adventuring and saying ‘yes’ to random things. I love the ROM. As previously mentioned I’m a geek/nerd/information addict/insert other affectionate term for someone who loves learning everything humanly possible here. The ROM, AGO, Science centre, Newspapers, and the internet are like my jam.

It’s only about a 15 minute walk from the condo so I walked over to check it out for a few hours and loved getting lost in the energy and feel of so many unique artifacts and so much history. I just slipped in some ear buds, listened to music and let myself get lost in the artifacts of a world so much bigger than myself. As I stared at the proof of thousands of years of evolution, change, growth, and how it has brought us to this incredible world we live in today, it was a powerful reminder to lean in harder to the idea that everything will be as it was meant to be, even when that thought feels challenging. We are all arching, reaching upwards, down the path we are meant to be, in a magical, connected and unseen way. I love it.


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