Not many people know this, but this past week I was in the hospital donating bone marrow. It has been a crazy adventure to get here - but I figured this would be the best place to tell the story, so here goes.
I hate donating blood, but I do it because I know I have good blood, and may as well help other people, right? I thought the same thing about bone marrow - but then when I got on the website, I realized it cost $30 to join the registry (doing all the testing and stuff). So I decided that my college budget didn't allow for that, so I put it off for a little longer.
Then when I was living in Houston on my internship, my friend Allison taught me of the importance of bone marrow donations, and I resolved to join the registry. Flash forward 4 semesters, I was still not on the registry - but through my connections in BYU-Idaho Service Activities, I found out I could join the registry for free on campus. So I did the proper testing and joined the registry in January 2012. Perfect. I had done my part.
Then in November I received a call, or an email (I can't remember which) saying that I was a match for a 34-year-old woman with leukemia. They asked me if I was still interested in proceeding with becoming a donor, and without hesitation I agreed. Then came weeks of blood tests, physicals, and other medical tests to make sure I was an EXACT match for this woman. It was a really long process, and it took 3 trips to Boston (which is about 2 hours away) to get everything squared away - but it couldn't have worked out more perfectly.
I donated on January 3rd, which gives me almost 2 weeks to recover before going back to school. I was only on the registry for 10 months before they called me (only 1 in every 100,000 on the registry are found to be a match). It was perfect timing because my semester was ending and I had the time to donate. Also - this is perfect because in a year or so, I wont be eligible for donation due to travel/work outside the country. What a lucky experience. There was no way I would have turned it down.
Caitlin and I drove to Boston on the 2nd and stayed in a hotel across the street from the hospital. I had to be there at 5:30 a.m. and didn't think that driving 2 hours that early in the morning would be very good. :) The doctors and medical staff were amazing and the surgery went very well. I was discharged around 6:00 p.m. It would have been earlier, but they lost my clothes, and I really didn't want to go home wearing a medical gown.
I remember really weird things from the hospital, but I'm not sure if any of it was real, or if I had some very vivid dreams. I'm pretty sure I dreamed up the operating room. It looked like a cross between my campus and a really sterile hospital. But when I came out of anesthesia, I was certain that it had all happened.
I'm still a bit sore, although I'm doing a lot better than they described. I've been up and about every day, and I've only taken tylenol for the pain. They prescribed oxycodone, but I don't like the side effects, so I'll stick to they tylenol. Caitlin is super helpful, and made me a care package for Friday when she had to go to work. It had magazines, movies, and everything I needed to take care of myself while she was gone. She has made everything really easy.
People keep telling me how amazing it is to donate bone marrow - but I never really saw this as being amazing for me. I was more focused on the woman who needed to receive it. Yes, I am in pain and I had to spend a day in the hospital. But could you imagine going through leukemia and having to wait to see if someone is willing to donate to you in order for you to survive? I am extremely grateful to have been that mach for her. If you have the opportunity - join the registry. You could help save someone's life. Don't worry about the pain or discomfort you may feel. You would give it for someone you know and love, so why not give it to someone that is known and loved by other people?