Tuesday, June 22, 2010
A different kind of match
So, it turns out that my match made in heaven (or in cyberspace, as the case may be!) is a perfect match of another sort for someone else. A 39 year old woman with leukemia, to be exact. Billy signed up for the National Bone Marrow Registry last year, and amazingly, he got a call earlier this year that he was a potential match for someone. He had to have a DNA test to see if he was a true match, and they said that this process would take a few months. He let them know that I was pregnant, and when I was due, and they said not to worry, that it would likely take long enough that the baby would be here by the time anything happened.
Well, fast-forward to May: they call to let Billy know that he is indeed a match, and they want to do the procedure on June 23, 24, or 25. Um, I'm due July 1!! We asked them if it would be possible to move it up a bit (we didn't want to push it back at all because that would likely make the timing even more problematic, what with Timothy having been "late" and all) and they were able to move it up to June 21 (the timing of all of this is critical for the recipient, as once they start the process of killing off their bone marrow to ready them for the donation, it's a point of no return, and it is literally life or death for them).
Anyway, there are now two ways to donate - either a bone marrow tap, or stem cell donation, which is done in a similar fashion to dialysis. Billy did the stem cell donation. The procedure consisted of 5 days of injections of a medication called filgastrim, which boosts blood cell production and somehow gets the bones to release stem cells into the bloodstream so that they can be collected. Unfortunately, this is quite a painful process, and Billy was quite uncomfortable from the end of the second day of the injections, on.
The donation itself, done on the final injection day, can often offer some relief of the pain, but this was not the case for Billy. Luckily, he may have set the record for the fastest donation at that location (4 hours 15 minutes!), so he didn't have to deal with the discomfort for the full 8 hours that the booklet said it takes. Of course, they were very good about managing his pain, and they took very good care of him over all throughout the whole process. He's home recovering today, which I am grateful for, because those of you who know him know that he would prefer to power through and just keep up with his regular routine. Fortunately, the bone pain is mostly gone now, and he's just very tired.
So, that's how we spent our Monday, folks. And little girl stayed put! :-D