Tristan Dyer

Tristan Dyer

Halifax NS

I remember thinking that it was strange that simply walking my new puppy multiple times per day was all it took to lose weight. If it was that easy, why hadn’t it ever worked before?

After many months of denial and wishful thinking I finally had a checkup that resulted in the devastating news, I had cancer. Stage 4b, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 

I’m still not sure how my wife and I processed the news that day. Not knowing anything about cancers, or lymphomas, but knowing no cancer was good. We drove to our favourite park overlooking the ocean and stared out to sea, I can still taste the salt from the air mixing with my tears.

Chemotherapy was an experience unlike any other, but the routine became the structure that kept us going. Thursdays I had chemo, weekends I recovered. Mondays were bloodwork to see if I was healthy enough for more chemo. Tuesdays and Wednesdays I would see friends and family. Rinse. Repeat.

After 6 months of treatment, 50+ blood transfusions, and countless hospitalizations I learned my cancer journey wasn’t quite done. There had been complications during treatment, and I would need to have a Stem Cell Transplant. This meant another 3 months of treatment followed up by a gruelling recovery process after destroying my body’s ability to produce new blood cells, and ultimately rebooting everything.

One year and two days from my first chemo treatment, to my last.

After experiencing my `Plan A` fail and knowing that my `Plan B` was a one-time shot, I was incredibly worried about what was coming next.

Thankfully, I found the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, and was inspired by the community of people at Light the Night. They helped me find a group of peers that were all experiencing the same things and feelings as I was, to discover hope, and ultimately  process my fears.

Every year it is my great honour and privilege to attend Light the Night and raise my white lantern, and to watch more and more survivors raise theirs.