Monday, September 10, 2012
My Bone Marrow Donation
Bone Marrow Donation
May 24, 2012 by Nate Longfellow
May 21st, 2012. Donation made at Cooks Children's Hospital in Fort Worth!
A liter and a half of bone marrow, two holes in my back, and 12 hours without eating later, it's official. My first question when the procedure was done, (and I don't remember this at all) was "where is my Build-A-Bear?" Apparently someone told me going in as a joke that I could get a build a bear when it was done This is the standard for kids going through major surgery. That got stuck in my head and was the first thing I wanted coming out of the procedure. I got a noise making ambulance instead. Still a pretty good deal.
Since I didn't even know the whole process before, here are the basics of an actual bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow donations occur about 20% of the time and require a surgical procedure where they drill into your hip and take a large syringe to draw the marrow out - 1 to 2 liters total. The other 80% is a PBSC donation that takes the blood forming cells in your blood by an aphaeresis machine (like giving blood). You do this over 2 days and take medicine to boost these cells for about 5 days leading up to it. Both ways result in a bag of cells that go to a patient (who unless they are a family or friend already, remain anonymous for a year). The cells are then given via IV into their body and are their replacement immunity. There are many dangers in the whole process for the recipient but very few for the donor. Three days later and I feel almost back to normal with just some back soreness.
Please consider registering through either of these great organizations - http://www.dkmsamericas.org or www.marrow.org. Everything goes to the same international database and all it requires is a cheek swab to register. After 4 days I can say it is the simplest procedure to saves someone's life. A little back pain and a few blood draws and donations.
I heard from my recipient and he is doing well. It was a surprise to find that it is a man and not a woman like the Be The Match folks originally thought on our end. Ironically, he is a cyclist as well! See note for his update (attached above).
Nate Longfellow is a Team In Training Staff member for the North Texas Chapter. He has managed the triathlon, cycle and now Dallas marathon teams. His "free time" is spent out on the trails with his Team In Training participants and teams. Nate is a TNT Triple Crowner and has raised over $13,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.