I donated bone marrow on May 20th 2008. It was an amazing journey. Anyone that is thinking about registering I hope you do. There are too many people who never find a match. If there is something you are unsure about I’d be happy to answer any questions that I can. The recipient of my marrow doesn’t live in the US so I will never know who she is. But I know she is a 45 year old mother who had leukemia(AML). The last I heard through the NMDP was she is doing great.
I signed up for the registry in the spring of 2006 while in pharmacy school. That day I NEVER thought I’d receive a call. December 22nd 2007 my phone rang and this journey began. Then early April 2008 after some blood work I received word that I was the match. After more testing to make sure I was healthy enough (I’ve never been checked over that closely!!) the date was set. My parents were hesitant about the process at first. But if I needed someone to do it for me, they’d hope someone would be so selfless. They also know I am stubborn and was going to do it anyway.
I donated the old fashioned way where they harvest the marrow from your hips. I was more terrified of donating the unit of blood to give back to myself then I was the marrow harvest procedure. I tend to pass out when they need to get more than 2 tubes of blood at the doctor’s office. By my request I was put under general anesthesia for the harvest. I apparently was flirting with the nurses in the recovery room… I swear it was the drugs!
By the time I was back up to my hospital room for the night my bone marrow was already on a plane to wherever it was going.
I’m quite a wimp when it comes to pain. I won’t lie. It hurt. The worst thing was trying to sit up in bed and the stairs the first 2 days. But I was back to work, standing 9 hours a day, within a week. I was also anemic after the surgery, so I was tired and worn out at the end of the day. Some pain meds, iron supplements and a bit of time and I was back to normal. You can’t even see the two red dots on my hips anymore. A little bit of discomfort and inconvenience doesn’t compare to trying to saving a life.
Somewhere out there two kids have their mom, a husband has his wife, and parents have their daughter. All because I donated my bone marrow. It still makes me teary eyed thinking about it. Any time I’m asked if I’d do it again. The answer is simple. ABSOLOUTLY.