She saidStem cell donation is more commonly donated via Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC), just like giving blood for 4–5 hours. Blood is drawn out of an injection site and then goes through a process which separates the stem cells from the blood. The stem cells are harvested and the remaining blood is passed back into the body via another injection site.
These injection sites typically being one in each arm.But, before the donation, there is a detailed process of developing / growing the stem cells in the body which is painful and one can experience discomfort.
Upon learning about the registry, I decided to do some research about the process and the effects of it on the recipient and self. The reason stem cell donations are neededis because, this is typically the last resort for someone with a blood-related disease such as Blood Cancer. These are people who have tried everything and lost hope in life.
The donation is a chance at survival, a final one.A match is fairly rare and hard to come by. Once you have registered, your medical report will be kept on the file for years until a possible match is made and they will contact you asking if you are willing to proceed. In my experience, from initial registration to matching it took approximatelythree Years!
There were a series of blood teststo analyze and ensure that I was the most suitable match for the recipient awaiting stem cells. A little over 2–3 weeks had passed, and I got confirmation that I was chosen as the best match to donate! Exciting! I was nervous! Fear grew in me … I wasn’t scared of needles, instead and somewhat selfishly, I started to over think and delve into the time it will take from my work and my personal life and at this point, the only people who knew about my donation were my immediate family members.
Fear and anxiety grew up… But the following words from‘MarkandeyaPurana’ had always helped me to get back to reality. These stanzas are a small part of this epic - sung by Queen Madalasa famously known as “THE MADALASA UPADESH” – A Mother Singing Lullaby to her Son about self(Sanskrit Version).
"yanam chitta utatragataschadeho
dehopi chanyah purushoni vishthah|
mamat vamu royanaya thatathasmin
dehetima trambat amudha rausha|"
Meaning: The Elements [that make this body] grow with accumulation of more elements or reduce in size if some elements are taken away. This is what is seen in a body’s growing in size or becoming lean depending upon the consumption of food, water etc. You do not have growth or decay.
"bhutani bhutai hparidurbalani
vriddhim samayatiyathe hapumsah|
annambu panadibhi revatasmat
natestivriddhirna cha testihanih||"
Meaning: The vehicle that moves on the ground is different from the person in it – similarly, this body is also different from the person who is inside! The owner of the body is different from the body! Ah how foolish it is to think I am the body!
You could relate this with afore mentioned Thirukkural. These inspiring quotes andthoughts helped me overcome the fear and made me think “I’m doing a right thing, I realized, that I am just sharing my vehicle to get someone to travel further from where they thought their journey would end.
If I had let my fear take control, I might have backed out, and if my recipient had no backup, then there was a great chance she wouldn’t have survived. I almost avoided all negative comments from others which couldruin my chance to save someone's life.
After careful consideration, I carried on with the rest of the donation process. This included a day trip to Hospital where I went through about hour or two of general medical analysis to assure I was healthy and fit enough to donate. Once the Doctors confirmed, that I was fit enough to donate, I received injections of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) over the next five days.
During and after the injections I went through minor pain in the bones and particularly in my rib cage, lower back and pelvis due to the increased growth rate of stem cells. A week after the initial G-CSF injection, the donation process started in the Hospital. It took 4 to 5hrs for me to supply the required stem cells to the recipient. My solace and a huge sense of achievement was that I could help someone relive their dreams again.
Save a Life! Register today
On my discussion with Dr. Saranya and Dr. Srinivasan, I heard some beautiful stories, also some horrendous and heartbreaking ones. One that stuck methe most was that of a woman, who had matched with four registered potential donors - Imagine the hope she felt, this could save her life.This was her last chance at survival.
Then without warning, they all (all the four) pulled out before or after the blood tests. She sadly passed away several months later. Don’t you think and feel she had a chance to live.
I can appreciate and understand the inconvenience and the fear of donating, but if you do it — you’re doing something amazing! You’re not just helping theperson you could change the life of their partner, parents and kids. By donating stem cells, you’re giving someone the chance at survival and an opportunity to share more time with their loved ones.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I’ll do my best to answer them.
And of course, I want to say big thank you to My Wife and Son, who were part of this journey through out, taking care of my health during the entire process and my Parents who supported me and blessed me.
If this story has inspired you to register with BE THE CURE, or even to give blood for the first time, please feel free to approach Jeevan’s Be The Cure Registry. You too can encourage others to register- as the Bible Says:
Philippians 2: 3-4 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.