Thursday, June 11, 2009

Be the Match

On one of the blogs I started reading:"My very worst date" (yes it has some really funny stories); they printed a story of a couple that has been struggling with the husband's leukemia. The short story mentions he is in desperate need of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant to save his life. It also mentions that from now to June 22, you can join the bone marrow registry for free (there is normally a charge). Their hope is to find 46,000 new donors and maybe one of them can help the husband in this story. It really is a numbers game, the more people, the more possibilities, the greater the likelihood of a match.

Now, I'm registered to donate my organs and my tissue if something were to ever happen to me. It took me years to register for both of these things, not because I wasn't willing but rather because I just didn't take the time. And, I try to donate blood regularly, although I do have a tendency to pass out during the process (it's quite entertaining for everyone involved). I do these things because I know that not everyone will for personal, medical or religious reasons. I'm healthy and happy and very fortunate for the life I have so it makes sense to try and help someone else in need.

I've toyed with registering to donate bone marrow for many years, but for some reason this process scares me more than the other ones. I know...donating organs seems a little rough, but if that happens it won't matter to me because I'll be dead, right? Marrow on the other hand, would not only require more of my time, but also would include some discomfort, pain and potentially a stay in the hospital. And, they would take the marrow out of my hips...which would make for an interesting transplant. I mean, would the recipient feel a need to shimmy after they recovered? And, truth be told although I can tolerate pain fairly well, I'm such a ninny about it.

So, I read the frequently asked questions and other information on the site. In all honesty this did nothing to ease my fears,and maybe increased them. You may or may not get called, you may or may not be tested multiple times, you may have minor complications or major ones, you may never know who the patient is...the list goes on and on. Very factual, very real and not very cheery.

But despite my misgivings, I signed up to get a testing kit which they send to your house (which contains swab for your mouth...not drawing blood at home). If I was ever called, I know I would not feel excited but rather terrified. So why do it, why put myself through the anxiety? It's simple, how could I continue to read stories about people who need a bone marrow transplant and sit idly by...knowing full well I could handle the pain, discomfort and fear? Those of us who are strong and healthy can take the minor bumps in the road. And I can overcome my fears and hope that my actions will help someone else!

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