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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Today I decided to go out for a walk in the sun. I usually go at night so I don’t have to worry about covering up, wearing sunscreen and hats. As a former ‘sun-baby’, I found it hard to stomach all these new precautions, so I just avoided it all together. But today the sun was calling my name and I listened.

As I walked down Yonge street I revelled in the hustle and bustle of the people around me and the heat of the sun. I smiled at bright coloured storefronts and the peekaboo of freshly green trees reaching towards the sky, and suddenly I was crying. Tears tumbled towards the pavement as my crying turned into heaving sobs.

I stopped and stepped away from the crowd and turned my tear streaked face towards the sun and just stood there, letting myself feel it all. The feelings I knew would eventually hit, but hadn’t yet. It wasn’t sadness I was feeling. It was overwhelming, all encompassing waves of gratitude. Of happiness. Of pure joy.

In the aftermath of it all, with endless clinic visits, a few road bumps along the way, and all the changes that come with being a transplant patient, I suddenly realized I had been so busy adjusting, I hadn’t truly celebrated receiving the thing I had most wanted: Another chance at life. I survived.

All the weeks I spent afraid of the outcome that hid beneath the other side of the ‘coin-flip’ statistics of a transplant, all the letters I wrote to my husband to read if the worst happened. All the times I cried imagining my family without me, and my husband marrying someone else years down the road. None of those things happened. I lived. I’m still fucking standing.

Suddenly my mind flooded with all of my favourite memories. All the times I’ve stepped out on stage, all the places I’ve travelled to and all the times I’ve laughed till I cried. As I stood there crying on the curb (which hopefully didn’t look more strange to people in Toronto than anything else they’ve seen before), I realized that I will get to make so many more of those memories. That the places I still wanted to see with my husband, the babies I always dreamed of raising, the music I haven’t yet made… it all still lays before me.

Here I am, on the other side. At the beginning of a second life. The gratitude I felt for standing right there in that moment, for all that lay before me, and all that I could have lost. For every person bustling by around me, and all the love there truly is in this world, that I know in my heart lifted me up, carried me through hell, and back to this place. It was filling me to the brim and I just let myself feel it all.

The Limbo roller coaster may not be over, and I may not know if I am ‘Cancer Free’ yet, but I don’t even care. I made it. Right here, to this moment. All I know is I am so grateful for this moment, and for every moment that lies before me now. Even if I’m not ‘cancer free’, or I relapse and have to do it all again, even if I have to fight for every single day of this life, I will. Because it’s worth it. It’s worth it to see the beauty of the world through these ‘cancer glasses’. To see the intricacies of trees and flowers, the uniqueness of crumbling cement, the connectedness of humanity. It’s worth it for every hug from my mom, every kiss from my husband and every smile from my niece and nephew.  

I survived, and I’m here in my ‘second life’ with a greater understanding that no day is promised to any of us. That not everyone gets so lucky. That each and every second should be treated with the love and gratitude it deserves. To stop waiting for ‘someday’ and start doing it now, because there is no better time.

The world is a beautiful place, I am a happy girl. Thank you universe for letting me make it this far.

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