Harjeet Kaur smiling and holding a piece of cake with the number 3.

A second chance in Life - Harjeet Kaur

Calgary AB

My stem cell transplant during the COVID Pandemic.
Another chance at life after stage 4 Blood cancer (A rare Type)

3.5 years ago, I was really sick fighting for my life and death.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 subcutaneous panniculitis like T-Cell Lymphoma complicated with HLH (immune disease). The diagnosis took almost 3 months, involving endless blood tests, scans, and biopsies.

Much of my cancer experience was marked by delays – delays in receiving a diagnosis, being young and not been taken seriously, delays in getting tests and scans, delays during Covid Pandemic.

The initial 12 chemotherapy sessions and treatment did not work completely on my body, so the only choice I had was to go for Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation, during COVID pandemic April 2020.

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation uses donor stem cells to treat and sometimes cure certain blood disorders and blood cancers. In my case, my Stem cell Donor was my brother (100% match) which is very rare.

I was terrified and anxious every day, but I had to be tough for my loved ones. I had no idea what lay ahead for me. Honestly, I was already exhausted by the whole chemotherapy treatment.

I had conditioning chemotherapy and radiation therapy that was scheduled for seven days to intensively kill all types of cells in my body, whether good or bad. This would make it less likely for me to get cancer again and inactivate the immune system to reduce the chances of stem cell graft rejection.
I was isolated for 32 days in the hospital, fighting every day for my life with no one to hold my hands and hug me.
I was an emotional wreck inside. I was broken, but I smiled as much as I could… it was not easy! I had a rough week, but conditioning is done, and I’m still shining! 
Proud of my little self!
The side effects of stem cell transplant can go on for years, it isn’t comforting either.

But I was lucky to get that second chance in life. Not everyone gets that chance to live and thrive with cancer.

Only a fellow transplant survivor can understand that feeling: to be so sick, yet so hopeful. It is truly indescribable.

3.5 year since life changed forever.

  • life goes on 
  • life is never normal again (there is only the new normal)
  • I am more resilient than I ever thought possible
  • Know how to make the best out of a bad situation
  • I am thankful for every year I get to live, (statistically speaking I shouldn't be here.)

Also, Cancer Sucks- Don't get it