Hi. My name is Harley and I have CLL (Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia) a cancer of the blood. I am not a victim. I am a survivor, though the disease doesn’t know that yet. I am 67 years old and in reasonably good health, except for a blood disease. I have undergone three complete cycles of chemotherapy for this disease and have started the fourth. My doctor suggested I go to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for evaluation. They immediately encouraged me to undergo a bone marrow transplant. That’s what we are planning. The “we” is my wonderful wife, Melanie, and me. What follows is a part of my story.
This stage in my life is, at the same time, exciting and a bit frightening. Exciting because the end result can free Melanie and me from the tyranny that is CLL. Frightening because the journey is uncharted.
This reminds me of a dream I had years ago. In the dream, I faced a raging river on a dark night. It was imperative that I get to the other side (as in many dreams, I don’t know why). I had no way to get there, no boat, no bridge, no help at all. A voice tells me to take the first step. There are stones that will get me safely across. I hesitate. I don’t see a stone. The voice again says “Step ahead. Trust me. The stones are there.” With a great deal of trepidation, I take a step. Sure enough, just below the surface of the turbulent waters is a stone. I rest there. “Take another step,” the voice encourages. I’m beginning to trust the voice more. I step out. Another stone. Then another. And another. Very shortly, the swirling waters are behind, the far shore is under my feet, the storm has passed, and a beautiful dawn lights my way.
I’ve learned to trust the voice. Together, Melanie and I – with you by our sides – will continue to step into the dark tempestuous waters. He is here. He will never leave us. All is well. I know the other side is within reach.