I made someone cry today.
There's a woman who works in the same place that I do who works closely with a person who needs a bone marrow transplant. We ran into each other a few months ago, and we talked about the registry, how our workplace had a drive, etc. and I told her I'd been registered for a couple of years and what a great thing the registry is. We talked about how difficult it is to find matches for certain ethnic groups, especially African-Americans and Hispanics, and how the co-worker, who is black, hasn't found a match yet. A couple of weeks after this conversation, I got called by Be The Match. Coincidence, huh?
I ran into her again today for the first time since that conversation months ago. I told her I'd been thinking about her and why, and that's when she started to tear up. She thanked me, told me what a great thing it is that I'm doing and hugged me. I wish I was donating to her co-worker, but that's not how things work in the world. Somewhere, a 58-year old woman has a co-worker that's glad their friend has found a match.
Speaking of the 58-year old woman...
This is about the time that things are getting very, very real for her. If she hasn't already, she'll soon start on strong doses of chemotherapy that will kill her immune system, so it can't attack when my transplanted cells enter her system in about a week. If something happens to me between now and then, and she can't get a transplant, she'll probably die. I'm being extra-careful this week. No walking under ladders or base-jumping for me!
In other news...
Last Friday, I received a package in the mail that contained a dose of the drug that I'll begin taking this Friday - Filgrastim. The dose I received is now safely in my refrigerator, where it will stay until next Saturday morning.
Filgrastim increases the amount of hematopoietic stem cells that my body will produce, and that overabundance will be harvested during the donation procedure.
There are side effects to this drug, the most common of which are bone pain and headaches (because what's a headache but a big pain in the skull?). I keep reading that the pain is sort of like the aches associated with the flu, and are relieved with Tylenol. We'll see...
Last Friday night I went to a mini-family reunion where I saw some family members I hadn't seen in many, many (too many) years. We had a great time laughing and catching up.
My family is wonderful.
On Friday of this week, I have to go to a blood lab near my house (the same one I went to when I got my initial blood work done in September). They will draw lots more vials of blood, then will send those to Colorado for analysis in preparation for the donation procedure. After they take my blood, I head to the Community Blood Center on Main Street where I'll get my first dose of Filgrastim. I have to hang out there for a bit to make sure I don't have any allergic reactions to the drug, then I'll head off to work. Hopefully I'll make it to work in time to meet with a knitting group that's gathering around lunchtime - yarn therapy is so soothing!
Saturday morning, a home health aide will come to my house and give me the dose that's currently in my fridge. As soon as that's done, we hit the road for Denver, hopefully arriving in time to have some dinner. I've got my fingers crossed that the bone pain won't be so severe that I don't want to do anything other than rest in the hotel room, but if it is, it is. I'll have my computer and knitting and magazines and Frank to keep me from getting too bored. And Tylenol. Lots and lots of Tylenol, just in case.