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Chopper777
5-1-13, 9:07pm
I'm trying to donate bone marrow. I joined the "Be The Match" bone marrow donation registry last year after reading the story about "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts. But it's a long shot. I've been really blessed in life. And sometimes I feel I haven't given enough back to society. So I'm trying to help a cancer patient survive. But it may never happen because I'm 50 years old (most bone marrow donors are 40 or less) and the odds of being a match for any non-family member are not good. This really bums me out. Here I am, sitting at my PC, in great health, wanting to help a cancer patient. But I may never be a match for anyone who needs marrow. Bummer.

Valley
5-1-13, 9:12pm
Good for you for trying...and taking the time to spread the message!

Chopper777
5-1-13, 9:17pm
Good for you for trying...and taking the time to spread the message!

Thank you very much. I sure hope it happens. Sooner rather than later.

Tussiemussies
5-2-13, 12:08am
A great thing to do for someone, so thoughtful. Good luck with it since you are over 40. There may be other things you could such as donate blood. There are many things you could volunteer for too. Let us know how you make out!

Blackdog Lin
5-2-13, 9:57am
That really is SO thoughtful - makes me appreciate that there are people like you in the world. Wishing you luck with it.....

treehugger
5-2-13, 1:26pm
I agree with the suggestion to donate blood instead. Just as much of a need (but not as many dramatic stories) and you will be helping other people in an important way, especially if you do it regularly (every 8-12 weeks, depending on type of donation).

This is an out of the box idea, but you could also look into kidney donation. There's no technical age restriction there; they roughly try to match up age of donor with age of recipient. Much bigger deal (for you and your body) to consider, but I just thought I would throw that out there.

Good luck finding your niche - you will!

Kara

Chopper777
5-2-13, 9:02pm
I agree with the suggestion to donate blood instead. Just as much of a need (but not as many dramatic stories) and you will be helping other people in an important way, especially if you do it regularly (every 8-12 weeks, depending on type of donation).

This is an out of the box idea, but you could also look into kidney donation. There's no technical age restriction there; they roughly try to match up age of donor with age of recipient. Much bigger deal (for you and your body) to consider, but I just thought I would throw that out there.

Good luck finding your niche - you will!

Kara
Well, I would donate blood, but...I had a REAL BAD experience trying to do so for the first time about 3 years ago. You see, one day my wife was having surgery and I was in the waiting room for a long wait. I was nervous, time was passing slowly, and I noticed a sign on the wall that was promoting a blood drive. So I went downstairs to donate blood as a way of distracting myself. Again, this was the first time I had ever donated blood. I had NEVER had a bad experience at the doctor's office when they drew blood, so I wasn't scared at all. I filled out the forms, waited my turn, then went to the "gurney" to be stuck. A nice older lady came up, stuck the needle in my arm, and I should have known right then to get up and leave. She missed my vein...sort of. A bit of blood came out, but not much. She pushed that needle in and out, in and out, and finally called her supervisor over to help...and her supervisor pushed the needle in and out, in and out...until I couldn't take the pain any more. I yelled at her to get the needle out of my arm. She did so, and I tried to get up and leave, but lost my balance and fell down. I was really weak for some reason. They had to get me some food and drink, and I had to lay down for about an hour before I could get up and walk away without feeling sick. By that time my wife was out of surgery, and I completely missed the doctor to get a post-op report on her. I felt like an idiot. Since then, I've learned that those "Red Cross" volunteer blood takers are "the bottom of the barrel" when it comes to having skill at taking blood, unless they just happen to be former nurses. Oh well, I'll gladly go under general anesthesia and give bone marrow, but I'll NEVER EVER try to give blood again.

treehugger
5-2-13, 9:52pm
Since then, I've learned that those "Red Cross" volunteer blood takers are "the bottom of the barrel" when it comes to having skill at taking blood, unless they just happen to be former nurses. Oh well, I'll gladly go under general anesthesia and give bone marrow, but I'll NEVER EVER try to give blood again.

I am absolutely not invalidating your experience, and I also completely understand why that would keep you from ever trying to donate again, but I just want to say two things:

1. I have given blood every 8 weeks for many years (that's a lot of phlebotomists) and have only had maybe 3 bad/inexperienced ones. And believe me, I now know what to look for (I go to the same Red Cross center each time) and will speak up politely if I believe someone needs to get assistance from the supervisor.
2. The circumstances you tried to donate in (worried about your wife, probably hadn't eaten or had enough water that day) pretty much guaranteed a bad post-donation experience (I don't mean this is the reason for the bad stick, although dehydration makes finding a vein very difficult). I have learned through experience that I need to be well-hydrated and -fed the day I give blood or I feel awful afterwards.

Anyway, again, not trying to change your mind, just wanted to give you a veteran blood donor's experience with Red Cross Blood Centers.

Cheers,
Kara

P.S. I am also a kidney donor, so I wasn't being a smart ass suggesting that as an alternative to bone marrow donation. I would never, ever try to convince someone to be a living donor; too much is at stake for the donor. But I like to suggest it from time to time to people who seem open to it, just in case it turns out to be a good fit.

Chopper777
5-2-13, 9:59pm
I am absolutely not invalidating your experience, and I also completely understand why that would keep you from ever trying to donate again, but I just want to say two things:

1. I have given blood every 8 weeks for many years (that's a lot of phlebotomists) and have only had maybe 3 bad/inexperienced ones. And believe me, I now know what to look for (I go to the same Red Cross center each time) and will speak up politely if I believe someone needs to get assistance from the supervisor.
2. The circumstances you tried to donate in (worried about your wife, probably hadn't eaten or had enough water that day) pretty much guaranteed a bad post-donation experience (I don't mean this is the reason for the bad stick, although dehydration makes finding a vein very difficult). I have learned through experience that I need to be well-hydrated and -fed the day I give blood or I feel awful afterwards.

Anyway, again, not trying to change your mind, just wanted to give you a veteran blood donor's experience with Red Cross Blood Centers.

Cheers,
Kara

P.S. I am also a kidney donor, so I wasn't being a smart ass suggesting that as an alternative to bone marrow donation. I would never, ever try to convince someone to be a living donor; too much is at stake for the donor. But I like to suggest it from time to time to people who seem open to it, just in case it turns out to be a good fit.
Thank you so much for your reply/support...I am rethinking giving blood...I would like to...and I am completely impressed that you donated a kidney...wow...I can only imagine how great it made you feel to save someone's life...I want to know that feeling by giving bone marrow...

treehugger
5-2-13, 10:17pm
and I am completely impressed that you donated a kidney...wow...I can only imagine how great it made you feel to save someone's life...I want to know that feeling by giving bone marrow...

Oh, you'll be a lot less impressed when I tell you that I donated to a stranger...so that my husband could get a kidney (we weren't blood type compatible, so we were part of a 10-person chain). It was easy to donate to greatly improve my husband's quality of life (and, not incidentally, mine; dialysis sucks for everyone in the household). The people who donate to a stranger without any personal gain? That is effing amazing. I have a good friend who did that and I admire her so much.

Kara

iris lilies
5-2-13, 10:50pm
The sister of my friend donated her kidney. She did that based on a newspaper article she saw about a little kid who needed a kidney. After all of that hoopla and pain and effort--the kidney was rejected.

Just want people to be realistic about this.

Personally I would NEVER donate a kidney, I've got polycystic kidney disease in my family and I know that you need each and every kidney that you've got. But I donate blood whenever I am able.

Jilly
5-3-13, 1:00am
Kara, I am impressed; those donation chains are one of the things that makes transplantation work as well as it does.

My experience donating blood is just like yours, as well. There is a variety of reason why I am no longer able to donate, but I greatly enjoyed doing it for the years that I could.

And, you know, there should be some satisfaction and even gain for those who donate, just as in volunteering. If any of it was a totally sucky experience, many fewer people would do it.

treehugger
5-3-13, 1:01pm
The sister of my friend donated her kidney. She did that based on a newspaper article she saw about a little kid who needed a kidney. After all of that hoopla and pain and effort--the kidney was rejected.

That is absolutely a real risk, although the treatment of rejections get more sophisticated every year.

It's funny, post-donation I realized that I was actually glad it worked out as it did, that we were part of a chain, and that my husband is not living with my kidney. He had a rejection episode (most rejections are reversible, but they still call it rejection) 10 days after the transplant. It was stressful and scary (he was back in the hospital for 9 extra days, and I was of course still recovering from my own surgery), but at least I did not have to worry about him rejecting my kidney and I didn't have to feel guilty that my kidney was letting him down. :) I have never and will never have contact with my recipient (he lives in Pennsylvania, and I only found out his name by accident), so I can live in blissful ignorance and assume that all is well.

Kara

domestic goddess
5-5-13, 1:13pm
Chopper777, I applaud you for wanting to donate bone marrow. I was on the bone marrow donation registry for years and only received one notification, then they found a better match. Haven't renewed it since I moved, as I really don't feel strong enough now that I am 60. I know you had a bad experience with donating blood, but that really is easier overall on you, and it is something you may want to think about. Having to do a couple of sticks is not unusual (except for someone with my huge veins), so I wouldn't hesitate to ask for someone else to try if the phlebotomist you have can't get it after 2 or 3 times. Sure, it isn't 100% pain free, but neither is bone marrow donation, after the sedation wears off.
I'm glad to see so many people here who donate to others!