Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thoughts on donating marrow

I get tested next week for more blood-- the National Marrow Match Registery is sending a kit up to Alaska and I am going in to get "a few vials of blood drawn." Excuse me-- a few vials? If I do well, I get to go in for a physical. Noboady hates being touched like I do. This is no small task for me, but when I think of what this kid and his family are going through and have been through already, every time I get squeamish I think, "It is the least I can do. I would want this from someone if my own kid's life was on the line."

Oh-- I found out that the person who I may get to match is a 16 year old young man. I don't know what his goals are, but I am asking G-d to just get him to graduate-- with the caveat that He knows I will then plead for the kid to go to college, get married if he wants, have kids, etc. G-d knows how I work, He gives an inch and I want a mile, but He likes it that way. I hope that whatever time my possible match has left-- be it one year or 80 years, that he is a good kid who legally enjoys every moment and that he does good things.

Suddenly, everything that I am doing is taking on a higher form. I sat down to eat Irish oatmeal this morning and I thought, "This oatmeal may improve my marrow quality and make it strong to help my possible match!" We are very broke right now post Christmas and we are eating simple but hearty meals like we did during Advent. Is this part of a greater plan, that I will be able to give this guy better stem cells? When I was pregnant, my babies drained me and took what they needed. (I was 120 pre-pregnancy and got up to 160 at my biggest and delivered 8-10 pound babies. They were born as babies, not tiny infants!) I'd be left with scraps of what was left and it was how it was supposed to be, but my marrow? I can make it healthier. What this kid gets is what I put into it. I am trying to think sweet thoughts into it. Am I a giant nerd? Do I think too much? This is a lot like being pregnant!

I worry that I might be anemic, but if the match is good, there are ways to fix that, I am sure.

This morning we had bad roads and I got scared as I drove then realized that I might be saving someone's life in a couple of months. While I didn't get stupid, I did relax. They prefer live donations and I felt better.

If I donate, it will probably be in the spring as the weather is getting better and the days are getting longer. If I have problems, which I don't get what they are-- something about flu-like symptoms and possible collection site infections? happen in roughly 1% of the donors. They tend to not be fatal and I can't think of a better time to be recovering for me and my match, wherever he is.

Match, where ever you are, know that my prayers are with you and your family right now! I know what a terrible event/diagnoses can do to a family and I hope and pray for a full recovery so you can lead as normal of a life as possible, and that your family can be strong and happy. Cancer doctors know that you need to live life, so follow their diections exactly-- if they say to stay out of the sun, stay out of the sun. Take the pills, plan to do what they say. (I know of someone who died post marrow donation after she got a light sun burn.) I am doing all that I can to ensure that you get strong marrow from me if I get to share mine with you. Please plan to be strong.

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