As A Fellow Fashion Blogger Living With Cancer, Kyrzayda Rodriguez’s Death Shook Me To My Core

September 17, 2018  |  

Kyrzayda Rodriguez

attends as DSW celebrates the launch of the DSW VIP rewards program at Root NYC on May 10, 2018 in New York City./Getty

Call it fate or karma, but there are times when the universe delivers in a manner so personal and specific you can’t deny its hand in a matter. On Sunday, September 9, one of those undeniable moments took place. As many of New York Fashion Week’s shows closed, devastating news begin to circulate that the fashion community had lost one of our own. Blogger and style influencer Kyrzayda Rodriguez had earned her wings during a time that she loved so much.

Most of us who follow Kyrzayda were saddened, but not shocked by her passing because we knew where she was in her battle with cancer. Kyrzayda shared her truths with her audience until the end, including the fact that she decided to discontinue treatment and was placed in hospice before her 40th birthday. We watched her lose her hair and become a fragile reflection of her former self. Although we continually heard the faith in her voice, there was also a change that, to me, symbolized peace and understanding regarding her fate.

On that Sunday night that Kyrzayda transitioned I was in a hotel in NYC with three of my good girlfriends/blogger boos. We were doing what women do when they link up with their good girlfriends — the most! However, once I learned of Kyrzayda’s passing, I felt as if I were alone. Not because my friends weren’t familiar with Kyrzayda or because her passing didn’t touch them, but because my connection to Kyrzayda was a little deeper.

As a woman living with cancer (Multiple Myeloma), I connected with Kyrzayda in a manner that many other women, thankfully, could not. She was a source of inspiration and strength for me. Despite her truth, Kyrzayda gave me hope in a space that evoked great fear. Now let me be clear, our diagnoses were not similar, aside from the fact that we both were struck with cancer. However, when you hear you have cancer, everything else is a minor detail because, Damnit you have cancer!

” In every crisis, there is a message. Crises are nature’s way of forcing change — breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can take their place.” — Susan l. Taylor

After more than two years of random medical issues, I met my crisis on December 11, 2017, when my oncologist/hematologist informed me that my bone marrow biopsy showed I have a rare cancer called Multiple Myeloma. World stop (in my Beyoncé voice). I was immediately paralyzed with a fear that even now I can’t explain. Every negative thing that I could think of played out in my head, and it broke my heart.

My heart was eased slightly later that month when the doctor informed me that while the cancer is there, it is in a smoldering phase, meaning it’s asymptomatic and no treatment is needed, yet. However, the truth is I am still living with this incurable disease that has the potential to wreak havoc on my body at any given time.

To see Kyrzayda live her best life in spite of this horrible disease gave me hope that if or when my time came, I could do the same. I didn’t care that she lost her hair or that she had lost a lot of weight. Every day she woke up and intentionally showed up. She inspired me and made me see that cancer only wins if we allow it to. That’s why losing her had me so shook. I had attached her battle to mine and, in some selfish way, I needed her to survive for me.

Today, I write this article with peace and gratitude because I now understand that we all have our journey, and while we can travel together, there comes a time when we must go our separate ways. I am so appreciative for my connection with Kyrzayda because I learned a lot. I now understand that this crisis is tied to my purpose and that I must use it to educate and empower women the same way Kyrzayda did for me. So again I say, I have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me!

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