This is going to be my attempt at giving others a look into what a bone marrow donor goes through. I'm hoping those of you reading this blog found it by way of searching about the bone marrow donation process. If that was your intent, then my next hope is to give insight on what this process is all about. If not, well, um... try again? :P
Now, I must clarify. I am not actually the donor, my husband Danny is. We've got two boys ages 3 and 1. Our life is most definitely hectic, but we both feel that helping save someone -- even if they are a complete stranger -- is totally worth it.
I suppose I should start at the beginning... we joined the Be The Match registry approx 6 years go to attempt to help out a friend of ours. We weren't matches for him (thankfully he didn't end up needing a donation!) and even forgot that we were on the registry. Danny received a letter from the organization this past winter indicating that he may be a match and to contact them as soon as possible. (Sadly, we thought this may be an attempt to get us to renew our status on their registry so the first letter went unanswered. Oops!) After a few blood tests he found out that he was indeed a match for someone overseas. How crazy!
After meeting the requirements for the initial blood tests, Danny was flown to Minneapolis for a full-body physical. He had everything done from more blood work, a chest x-rays, the works. He received a clean bill of health and was giving the green light to donate.
While at the physical, he saw transplant recipients of all ages. They were all wearing masks, were clearly going through chemo of some sort, and were on the road to recovery. He had the opportunity to also visit the donation location. They showed him where he'd be the day we arrive and gave him somewhat of an idea what to expect. (At this particular location they have a library of DVDs to select from to help pass the time the day of the donation. Definitely a bonus!)
We did as much as we could to learn more about what the donation process includes. He will be donating via PBSC donation, which sounds like it's similar to donating plasma. (There is quite a bit more to it of course, but the same idea.) He will be injected with a drug called filgrastim for five days and on the fifth day he will do the donation. Throughout our Google searches we found a few blogs that others had done regarding donating, what to expect, etc. Hence the reason for our blog. Hopefully we can give insight to others looking to start this process and maybe even get more people to get on the registry! (It's a long shot, but you never know!)
This blog will follow Danny's journey through his donation process. I hope it is informative and helpful! :)
PS - If you're not on the registry yet, what are you waiting for? Go to their website www.bethematch.org and request a cheek swab kit. (Free!) You never know when you might have the opportunity to save a life!