I received a follow-up email yesterday from the NMDP. It’s been exactly 6 months since I donated peripheral blood stem cells to a 21 year old with leukemia. They were just checking in to make sure I am still feeling OK.
Yep, I am. In fact, my immune system actually seems stronger since bouncing back from rock bottom just after the process. Can you believe that I haven’t had a cold or flu at all this winter?! It’s not like I haven’t been exposed. I know, I totally just jinxed myself.
The only news that they have to share about my match is that she is alive. Great news, but I find myself wanting more information. I know that I have to wait until it’s been a year before we’re allowed to meet, if we are both willing. The longer the time passes, the more I believe that I would love to meet her.
Beyond the fascination of someone being my match, it’s proof positive to me that one person can make a difference in the world…just start with one act of kindness at a time. How many chances do you get to witness the effect that you’ve had on someone else’s life…especially during such a crucial life or death moment? It’s humbling.
It seems like a lifetime ago when I went through the donation process. I barely have any marks left from the multiple IV lines…nothing obvious to anyone but me. I remember how icky the drugs made me feel, but from a very faraway and detached place. When I think of the shots I took for 5 days to increase my blood stem cell levels, I no longer get instantly nauseated or achy. Reminds me of childbirth the way you remember the pain with selective amnesia.
I get asked a lot if I would do it again. Perhaps that is because I have been brutally honest that the procedure does indeed suck. It’s not easy. The two donation days were complete hell. Feeling shitty for about 2 weeks of my life was worth it to me if it means that someone else has the chance to live. Especially a 21 year old with her entire life ahead of her. Of course I would do it again. In a heartbeat.
If you would like more information about donating bone marrow and/or peripheral blood stems cells, check out the NMDP website. It takes just a couple of minutes to sign up and, like me, you could instantly be a match for someone in need. Don’t think you can stomach the process? Make a donation so that someone else can for free.
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