Dr. La Verne Abe Harris: I Live in the Here and Now

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Topics include: Patient Stories

When patient advocate and blogger Dr. La Verne Abe Harris was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2009, she was initially told that she would not live more than two or three years. Now in clinical complete remission, Dr. La Verne joins Patient Power to share her story and how she has fought to not to “give her power away to cancer.” Visit Dr. La Verne’s blog at drlaverne.blogspot.com.

Sponsored by the Patient Empowerment Network, which received educational grants from AbbVie and Genentech. 

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

 

How have you lived your life?  And are there lessons for other people who have this diagnosis of a cancer where the future may be uncertain, may be brightening, but they don't know? 

And I sat there for a moment and I said, okay, I'm looking at death face?to?face. And when you have an encounter with death you really are forced into complete acceptance of something that's very unacceptable, and so you have to ask yourself are you afraid of dying?  And I said to myself, I would rather spend a lot more time living on this earth, but I'm really not afraid of dying because contrary to what most Americans believe all of us in this world are not leaving alive. 

And through the acceptance sometimes you have to work your way through it, but you—in order to live well you can't do it by yourself.  You have to have all of these support systems, and one of them is through social media, one is face-to-face, family and friends.  You just cannot do it by yourself, and so I appreciate so much what you've done for the CLL community.  You've been there. 

I realize that so many people wait their whole lives to start living, and when you're diagnosed with cancer you are smacked in the face with how you're going to live your life.  So I live in the here and now.  I know that what's ever happened in the past is gone.  There's not much I can do about it.  I have options in the future.  I always have a plan B and a plan C, but I live today.  I live in the here and now, and that has brought me just absolute joy.  And I was always—I inherited my mother's happy genes, and so that's why I think that my mind went that direction. 

I'm Andrew Schorr.  Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on June 17, 2015