Marrow donation

Back in '98 or '99, when I was a sophomore, Wayne State organized a big marrow donor screening to find a match for the son of one of the faculty. Over the last six or seven years, the National Marrow Center has sent me letters once every couple years to make sure they have my contact information correct and that I haven't had any health changes. I've never been a match for anyone - until I got the call this morning. I was in the shower so I only got a message, but they're going to have me go in for bloodwork to screen for some other things, and then they'll have me make the donation right away if everything is OK.

I'm not sure whether to be nervous or not - does marrow donation hurt more than, say, blood donation? I'm assuming that drawing marrow from my bones will be a hospital procedure, and not something they do on a cot in a big RV. I'm not wondering if it's painful because I might drop out - it's worth some pain for me to potentially save someone's life, but I want to prepare myself.

Edited to add:
Here's some information from the National Marrow Donor Program website -
Marrow donation is a surgical procedure performed in a hospital. While the donor receives anesthesia, doctors use special, hollow needles to withdraw liquid marrow from the donor's pelvic bones. Many donors receive a transfusion of their own previously donated blood. A donor's marrow is completely replaced within four to six weeks.

Marrow donors can expect to feel some soreness in their lower back for a few days or longer. Donors also have reported feeling tired and having some difficulty walking. Most donors are back to their usual routine in a few days. Some may take two to three weeks before they feel completely recovered.

4 comments:

Spice said...

Wow! That's really cool that you're signed up - I've thought about doing so, but have never gone through with it. (I used to be a pretty regular blood donor and have thought I should start doing that again now that I have the time...)

It does sound scary, but I think knowing some person out there is alive because of you would be a pretty amazing feeling. Keep us posted!

J.Po said...

That is FANTASTIC J.Bro. The desperation of families in need of donors is enough to make me want to get banked too. I really hope you get the opportunity to give someone life. That's such an amazing gift.....for someone you don't even know. Or will you get to meet the recipient?

J.Bro said...

It looks like it's going to take a little longer than I thought. The Milwaukee office is going to contact me in the next 2-4 days to set up a blood test (either there or with my doctor - the woman I talked to wasn't sure), and then they'll have 90 days to decide whether I'm the best candidate to be a donor or not. I'm surprised that the process is so slow - since I went so long without being contacted, I assumed that finding a match was pretty hard to do, but that once they found one they'd want to have me donate right away.

My cousin, Maren, had three marrow transfusions while she was fighting leukemia. That was after I went on the donor list, and I was hoping that I'd be a match for her marrow type since we're related.

Mister Vertigo said...

That's very cool. I wish you luck!