This is the 2nd re-post of about my experience donating bone marrow. First I added photos, and now you can see me and Brooke, my recipient, together. We finally met, and though too emotional to write about the meeting, I still thought it was time to show you the 2 of us together.
A little over a year ago I donated bone marrow. I try to give blood every 58 days. I’m the only one in my family with my blood type O+. And since I’m a universal donor, my blood is always the one used when there isn’t time to type people (say in a horrible accident or natural disaster) so my blood always runs out first.
About 7 years ago I found out about the National Bone Marrow Registry and decided to sign up (you provide them with a couple cheek swabs). Six years later, I get a call saying I’m a possible match.
Some people are on this registry for 30 or 40 years and never get a call, I was on for six.
So I went to have some blood taken. I never heard anything back. I tried to contact the bone marrow place, still never heard anything. I figured I wasn’t a good match and forgot about it. And moved across country. Suddenly like 8 months later, I get another call saying they wanted me to have a second round of match tests (give some more blood samples) done again because I am still a possible match.
REALLY? I was so surprised by this, because I pretty much forgot about it. So I went in to provide more blood samples (each time it was just a couple tubes of blood). Cool. ok. Didn’t hear back. Forgot.
Suddenly about 2 months later I get a call asking me how quickly I can donate bone marrow.
Wait, What? I match?
From here is was a crazy whirlwind 3 weeks. I had to watch a DVD and sign all these papers, multiple times, on the possible side effects and things.
Which really, for me it’s just a few side effects. It’s the recipient that has to deal with the real pain and possible complications and stuff.
And I qualified for this new way of donating bone marrow (which I learned during this process bone marrow is just blood stem cells), and this new process does not involved drilling into your hip!
I was totally ready to do the hip drilling, but hey, if you just want to stick a needle in each arm and spin my blood versus drilling holes in my hip, I’m totally ok with that too.
I filled out all the papers, got flown to San Diego for a day for the final tests (yes, they flew me, all expenses paid from Vegas to San Diego and back for a few hours of tests). And they give you a driver.
A week later I was flown back to San Diego to donate bone marrow, and was put up in a (swank) hotel for 5 days while they did the process. It involves being injected with a drug that tricks your body into thinking it needs blood; which in turn forces massive amounts of blood stem cells (marrow) into your blood stream.
On the 5th day they hook you up to a machine for a few hours that takes the blood out of one arm, spins it, separates the stem cells from the rest of your blood, then puts what they don’t need back into your other arm.
24 hours later you feel fine, just still a little tired.
3 days to full recovery.
It’s such a quick easy process with such a quick recovery and now, that’s its been over a year later, I actually got to contact the girl who now has my blood DNA! (by the way, she is absolutely adorable with the cutest smile ever, and 2 adorable children).
I’m really, really glad she is doing good (I didn’t think I would get so happy each time I got an update and it was good news. But it was an awesome feeling knowing that she was responding well to my blood).
I cant wait to meet her in person!
I think more people should sign up to be a bone marrow donor. It’s not a scary, painful process like we think. They don’t even have to drill into your hip most of the time anymore. (and you can opt to only donate if they do the blood spin-y process too.) A lot of people can be helped if more people would be willing to give a few hours of their time to donate blood.
Oh, and they give you Vicodin and Ativan before they hook you up to the machine. So, if you even stay awake, (which I didn’t, I slept through the process) you don’t care about ANYTHING! You actually quite love EVERYTHING.
Please, just look at the site on being a bone marrow donor. That is all I ask. Go to the website and just read about it.
You can always ask for more information to be sent to you without having to actually sign up.
It’s a minimal process. Yes, you get sore, but you are helping to save a life, and the small amount of soreness you endure is nothing compared to the pain the recipient has to go through with radiation and transfusion (while the blood take ahold inside their bodies).
Please just go to the Be The Match bone marrow registry website and read about it for me. It’s a great thing.
And you can help save a mother of 2 adorable children, so she can actually see her kids grow up…so her kids and husband aren’t left without a mom and beautiful smiling wife. Like this one:
(yes, I’m trying to pull at your heart strings. If it gets you to even look at the bone marrow registry page, I will totally pull the ‘tugging on your heartstrings’ card)
PS. No, this is not a sponsored post. But as a donor, I am also an advocate of donating bone marrow, and am just trying to get people to read about it more. Donating is your decision. I would just like to provide you with where to find the proper information so you can make that decision.