Noah’s Ark: A CLL Patient Story

Disclaimer: This blog post has been republished with permission from the author. To visit the original blog site, click here.

Written by Tamara Fowler

A few weeks ago, during one of my post-shot visits with my cousins Al & Bonnie, the discussion landed on my impending transplant procedure.  As we discussed the upcoming hospital duration, Al mentioned that the 40 days and 40 nights reminded him of the story of Noah’s Ark.  I told him that we must have like minds because I had just recently made that same correlation and was already thinking through the many similarities.

Noah spent time building and preparing the ark to God’s specifications.  He collected the animals by pairs and fowls by sevens and herded them into the boat.  He gathered his family and reached out to others around him.  When God said it was time, the door to the ark was closed and Noah and company were tucked away inside to ride out the storm.  Forty days and forty nights of non-stop rain.  You can imagine that after a couple weeks with that many animals, it had to begin to smell!  🙂  “And the waters prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.”  I can only imagine Noah’s excitement when the dove he sent to find land came back with the olive branch.  It was still a few more months before they could exit the ark onto dry land.  When they did, Noah built an altar of thanks and dedication to the Lord.

My doctors have spent time preparing my body for the transplant.  Campath reduced the leukemia so that my counts would meet the specifications needed to begin the transplant process.  We have collected the things I will need during my stay.  We have gathered our family for some final hugs and reached out to friends around us.  It is now almost time to enter my ark and begin the 40 days and nights of storms.  Some of it is going to stink.  And there will be another hundred days of care and close observation before we see dry land.  But just as Noah had faith in God, so do we.  Noah had never even experienced rain, much less a flood.  He didn’t know what to expect.  But he knew God.  While we have read and researched as much as we could, we still do not know with all certainty what to expect.  Every transplant is unique.  Every body responds differently.  But we walk forward knowing that God is in control. And when we emerge safely from this ark, we too will offer our thanks to our Lord.

Whatever happens, weeks…even months on the ark has got to be better than three days and nights inside the belly of a whale!  🙂

About the Author:

My name is Tamara Joy Fowler and, in the summer of 2011, I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia with 17p deletion, ZAP 70 positive, IGHV unmutated. This all came as quite a shock!  I was a healthy, happy 50 year-old lady who ate right, exercised, and took Geritol everyday.  Just kidding about the Geritol, but you get the idea.  I have been married since 2010 to my high school sweetheart and have had every intention of living and loving to a ripe old age.  I still do.  There just seems to be some complications that have to be taken care of first.  This is the story of our journey.  It is “our” journey because I am not alone.  My sweet husband Paul, our children and grandchildren, and our entire family and many friends are part of this journey.  Each one touches my life in a different way, and I have had the blessing and opportunity to be a part of theirs.  I am one of God’s children and rest my faith and trust in Him.  I have seen miracles galore over the years.  I, and thankfully many others, am praying for one more.


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