This is a tough entry to write.
I found out this week that the guy I was supposed to donate my blood stem cells ( marrow) to – a process that’s been postponed three times – has become medically unfit for a transplant. The donation has not been postponed but instead, cancelled.
Yeah, this is a tough entry to write.
My caseworker Stacey didn’t know for sure if this meant he was at the end of the line, or if he now had such a long road ahead of him to get fit for the transplant that they cant keep it on the books or something like that. But I was released into the donor pool. And it could mean he is at the end of the line.
I can’t imagine how he and his family are feeling. It has been over six months since I was notified I was a match, so they have probably been planning on the donation that long. All the stops and setbacks. And now? No, I can’t imagine how they are feeling….
My last time in at Dana Farber, I was talking to Stacey about what this “match” really was. She told me about this certain protein on the white blood cells, how it was identical between me and this guy, how my cells could go into this guy’s body and his body wouldnt even know they weren’t his own. I walked around all day thinking about that, explaining it to other people. I couldn’t get over it. This guy is a complete stranger…but on this cellular level, we’re exactly the same.
It is hard for me to know I won’t be able to help him, this guy who is just the same, who I’ve been trying to picture for the last six months. I keep coming back to the roller coaster he and his family have been on…Man, they found the match. On three separate occasions, he was just two weeks away from the transplant…
But here’s the thing, this is a horrible situation for this guy, but I’m not writing this entry to give you the sad, ironic , tragic ending to this donation story. That’s not the point of the blog. I’m not writing this entry because I can’t help my guy anymore, but because maybe YOU can help someone.
Maybe you are saying “I don’t know if I have the time, ” “I don’t know if I want to donate stuff like that” or “I probably wouldnt get called anyhow” or “I’m not a fan of needles..” Some reason or other holds you back. And it is good to think about this stuff and what you can and can’t handle.
But I am asking you to consider maybe you can handle this.
We all hate cancer. We all know loved ones or people a few degrees away who have had it, survived it or faced horrible outcomes. There are many ways to do things in solidarity with them. Saying you’re willing to donate some stem cells and help get rid of someone’s blood cancer is a huge one of those things.
And to a specifc person, you may be the only one who has the gift they need.
One last thing I remember from my conversation that day with Stacey. I asked her if the transplant was meant to cure the guy- or any patient- or send him into remission or what the effect was meant to be. She thought it over a moment and said it always depends on the person and the disease. But what any donor is doing, she told me is: “You’re giving him more time.”
Well, I was thinking how I labeled September “Do Your Thing Month” on One Page For… And maybe this can be your thing now, giving someone more time.
And someone out there with a clock ticking on her and a protein on her white blood cells identical to yours is hoping with everything she’s got that you will.
Keep a good thought or prayer for my guy, whoever he is. This song below is for him….and for anyone considering taking a leap of faith and getting on the registry. ….Thanks to all of you who supported me through my end of this process. – Beth