Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bloodletting for HLA typing....

I stopped by the hospital lab Monday morning for my confirmation blood testing to see if I am a match for someone needing a marrow donor.

There was a box the lab needed to send in for further testing to see if I really do match this patient - it contained maybe 6 or 8 test tubes... the woman in the lab tapped my vein and filled test tube after test tube.  She said I must be a  pretty close match because they included such and such vials....

I was given a consent form, further information about the process and sent on my way.   I read through the consent form, signed it and mailed it to the marrow program.  It says  how they will test the blood... that I'll be tested for blood transmitted diseases like Hepatitis.... at any time I can stop the process... the results will remain confidential and released only to the marrow program and the Dr. who is treating the recipient.

I read through the booklet.  It says even at this stage of the testing for the donor, only 1 in 12 people will actually donate.  I should know in 4-8 weeks and they will let me know either way.

I read about the two ways to donate. 

The first way, they knock you out and take marrow from your pelvic bone.  Sounds like you are sore for a day or two and then you are very tired.... takes a couple weeks to feel fully recovered and within 4-6 weeks your body has replaced all the marrow they took.

The second way to donate, that they give you a shot every day for 5 days.  It sends your marrow into overdrive producing blood cells and platelets.  The booklet said you are bone and muscle sore for these 5 days and then you donate your blood.  Once you donate and aren't receiving the drug anymore, the soreness goes away.

There was a picture of each type of donation.  I'll admit it's a little scary.  Tho' whomever needs the donation is literally fighting for their life so I can't really be much of a baby about it.

The pelvic bone donation showed a person lying face down on a stretcher in an operating room - naked.


I could be passed out, face down and naked in a room full of people.

That's never happened to me, even on my wildest night of college partying....


Laura Crum said...

You are such a brave, kind person to even contemplate this. I freely admit that I am way to chicken hearted about medical procedures to ever consider it. I admire you--and I loved the college party analogy....I can relate.

Shanster said...

I dunno - I signed up when I was 24 and didn't think too much about it. The chances of being called are slim... now that I have been called and I'm not fearless 24 it is scarier... tho' I do feel committed to do it if I'm a match! A couple days o' discomfort is nothing compared to what the recipient is going through.