Hi! I'm Cadence

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

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An open letter to my husband

We got married three years ago today and stood across from each other (On literally the hottest freaking day of the year in the blazing sun). I cried my eyes out, and you claimed your eyes were just ‘sweating’, and we all laughed and then recited our vows. In sickness and in health. Through good times and bad. Till death do us part.

I know in both of our minds that those things were long distant issues that we wouldn’t need to face for decades, if ever. They were just things you say at a wedding for tradition. We knew we could face them if we needed to, but in the joy and comfort of that special and loving day, they seemed so distant neither of us could grasp the importance of those promises.

Less than two years later when I was diagnosed with cancer, I knew it was hard for you to handle. You had lost your best friend not even a year before, and the thought of facing what was happening to me was scary and overwhelming. You attended my first appointment with my oncologist and the first bone marrow biopsy (Sorry I almost broke your hand), and when the prognosis came back CML and the treatment options looked good, we both breathed a sigh of relief. I started going to most of my appointments alone, since the ‘cancer’ I had been diagnosed with no longer seemed scary. It certainly wasn’t terminal or life threatening. I felt lucky to have the option to use such advanced treatments and to be told I would have a mostly normal life.

Somewhere along the way, maybe it was the look in my doctors eyes, or the repeated failed attempts at getting my body to tolerate even the smallest doses of drugs, I knew I was in trouble, and I told you. You started coming back to all of my appointments with me so I wouldn’t have to be alone. I started staying awake late at night and reading about what would happen next. Bone Marrow Transplants. Long before the words were ever uttered to me by my team, I knew thats where we were heading. I kept telling you, and everyone in my family that that’s where I was going to end up, and you lovingly and patiently tried to reassure me that things would be ok. That something would work. You would sit in the kitchen and listen to me read you studies that I’m sure made no sense to you, while I cried about why nothing was working for me and what that meant. You held me when the fear became depression and there were days where I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. You never dropped your positive attitude, you always found a way to accept my fear, and my negative days, and let me feel heard, but you held me up with your positivity and hope through the darkest moments.

When we finally knew I was going on the transplant list, and I told you I wanted to host Christmas for my entire (super massive) family at our house in case it was the last Christmas I got to have, you didn’t tell me how morbid and silly that was. You understood. You and your dad busted your asses to finish the house renovations you were in the middle of so I could do it, and it was such a wonderful Christmas. I felt normal and filled with joy and love, surrounded by my family. You didn’t bat an eye at the people, the mess, the chaos of it all. You just let me enjoy every moment.

In January when they told me they had found a match, things started moving quickly. I could feel for the first time your nervousness. I was nervous too. When we had to attend transplant class, and hear about how truly risky and life-changing this procedure could be, you did your best not to let it show how much the entire thing scared you, so that I would be less scared. For the first time you silently understood the fear-filled place I had been living in for many months, simply waiting to get to this point. How restless I had been, and why. I could feel it in your hugs, that you understood.

When they told us it was ‘now or never’ for travel, you didn’t bat an eye and we went to Jamaica a few days later, right in the middle of your busy work season. You were never embarrassed to be seen with someone who was always wearing a mask or gloves. When I cried for half of the trip, and smoked a million joints because I was so afraid of going back home and having the transplant, you understood. You sat in silence with me so many times and just let me cry it out. You held my hand. You told me everything would be ok. You promised you would be there for me through the whole thing, and you took the brunt of my anger, confusion and sadness that my life had somehow brought me down this path that I desperately didn’t want to be on. You always did your best to try and let me feel what I was feeling, but to never let me ‘live there’. You always had a joke up your sleeve, a comforting hug or gesture, or the right words to help guide me back, away from my fear and into the present.

One of my biggest fears besides surviving the cancer, was whether our marriage would survive. I think a lot of people don’t want to, or aren’t prepared to go through something so big, so emotional. Especially so early in our marriage. I know a lot of people would have walked away, and I wouldn’t have blamed you if you had. But not for one minute did you ever let me doubt our love and it’s strength.

When I wanted you to go to a special therapist with me before the transplant so we could openly talk about my fears, my potential death, my wishes for your life if I were no longer here, how the cancer had and would affect my sexuality, and how angry and hurt I was about the whole situation, you didn’t bat an eye. You went, and it was one of the most beneficial things we could have done. I felt closer to you than ever, and I felt relief in knowing that you understood how I felt, and that I understood your fears too.

When my transplant got delayed and I told you I wanted to move to the condo in Toronto early so I could be alone and mentally prepare myself for what was coming, you wholeheartedly agreed, and you told everyone to leave me alone so I could have my space. You had my back 1000%.

When the transplant date came, You never left my side. You were at the hospital almost every day you could be, while you continued to try and keep your business running. You showed an immense amount of strength and courage. You never let me see fear in your eyes. You brought me snacks, you held my hand, and often you just sat beside me in silence for days on end, waiting for me to push through the darkest part of the transplant. I would tell you to go home, or not to worry about coming to visit because I mostly couldn’t open my eyes or visit I was so tired, but you came anyways and just sat with me so I wasn’t alone.

When I finally started feeling better you encouraged me to do laps, you helped me shower, you brought me gifts to brighten my mood. You told me I was beautiful every day. When I finally got to go back to the condo, and the care plan we had thought would work before my transplant got sidetracked by my mom’s emergency surgery, you continued to stay with me in Toronto 4.5 days a week while still trying to run the business. You never complained. You never got mad. You just always said ‘It’s OK, we will figure it out’. And we did (well, you did).

You helped me stay on top of my medication, you made sure I followed all the ‘rules’, you encouraged me to get out and go for walks, you let me feel a little bit of independence because you knew I needed that, but you were always right there with me to make sure I was OK. You gave me permission to nap, to be sad, to be angry. If you couldn’t be at a clinic visit with me you texted me all day and read my results online and asked questions about them. You worked hard to understand the disease, the recovery process and how best to keep me safe. I have never been more proud or honoured to have you as a husband.

This process, while challenging and life-changing, changed the way I see you forever. I always saw you as a generous, loving, and kind hearted person. I have always called you my ‘king’. But you are so much more than that. You are my best friend. You are a saint. You are self-less and compassionate. You gave me so much of yourself, your time, your love and your energy, all while trying to hold every other aspect of our lives together. You truly amaze me. You never let me feel like I was in this alone, and I feel eternally grateful that three years ago, when you said those vows to me, you really truly meant them. You are the true embodiment of love. I loved you before, but I love you so deeply now, after going through hell and back with you, I can not put it into words because they simply do not exist.

Today on our anniversary, I wanted to celebrate you. The caregiver that made all the difference. I wouldn’t have been able to get through this without you, and nothing would make me happier than spending the rest of my years loving you, adventuring with you, and manifesting our dreams together as we watch everything we just fought so hard to keep, unfold before us.

To you, and all the husbands and caregivers out there, you truly make a difference. Thank you❤️

Happy Anniversary babe

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