Volunteer Journal: Episode 54 – Be the Match for Bone Marrow

doctor-bearI absolutely did not want to do this. Nope. Not at all. Of course I’m American so I had recommended other people do it, but never intended to do it myself. (I felt all recommend-y after I saw this video of Seun Adebiyi). The reason for the avoidance was pure primal fear. Real fear. The fear of huge needles going through my bones. Marrow donation. Pain on a stick. Or pain on the end of a very long needle to be more accurate.

I mean…didn’t that kid die in A Separate Peace because his bone marrow leaked into his blood? It was something screwed up like that. I hate that book. It damaged me forever. And now I am supposed to let some doctor stick a needle into my hip and pop out marrow. No thank you. You can look elsewhere. I have people counting on me. Or at least cats. I have cats counting on me. Cats that would starve if I didn’t provide them food. And I can’t be weak or sick. Do you know how much I work out? I mean this could seriously put a dent into my schedule…

Would I feel comfortable giving that speech to a kid dying from leukemia? Who I matched perfectly. They don’t deserve to die because I’m selfish. Should I turn down an opportunity to have the rarest of human experiences – to be the perfect match? The perfect match in some way, anyway, is better than forever being singular. I know I don’t match the blood type of the people in my family. Figures. As previously mentioned my blood is extremely rare. So what happens to me? If I were to get sick what would happen to me? What would I say to someone who gave me the excuse speech above?

I’d want to tell them they’re an ass. Which I guess is what I was. So I signed up today. For Be the Match. I get the kit shortly and then I’ll send a swab of my DNA back to be categorized (I’ll write about it when it happens). The site says they don’t have to take marrow and can take stem cells and that the marrow procedure is far less painful than it sounds. I called my M.D. father to make sure they weren’t sweetening the deal. He said the stem cell procedure is virtually painless and if they do take marrow I’ll be sore for a few days. I would be good as new in a few weeks – nothing to whine about.

I can’t say I’m excited about this one because I’m not. I’m just scared. I’m sure the person dying of cancer is more frightened than me so again I’m an ass. In a way both my fear and even the potential pain are a gift. You don’t know what it is to feel safe without fear and you don’t know what health is without pain. So…I guess…bring it.

Update: May 9th, 2010 - The DNA kit came today -(tiny) yeah...  less than enthusiastic.  Sorry.  Still scared. The Kit was easy enough to use.  4 long Q-tips in an envelope.  The same kinda Q-tips used in a pelvic exam - a handy visual for those ladies in the audience.  I was instructed to swallow and then swab (like a pirate) the inside of my cheek with each stick, put them back in the envelope, seal it with a bio hazard sticker I wish I could keep, and drop it back into the mail.  Done.  Did it in 3 minutes.  Easy.  Except I think I forgot to swallow twice.