For those expecting some deep regulatory insights, alas, they will come in due course ….. But today I am hijacking Trefor.net to talk about my experiences to date helping someone suffering from leukemia.
There’s an adult female out there somewhere, afflicted with this cancer . Alas, that’s all I am allowed to know for 2 years….. and if she wants anonymity I’ll never know any more.
This time last year I had a phone call from Anthony Nolan, the charity that runs the UK’s largest register. I signed up in a moment of philanthropy 15 years ago…… And despite near misses before, this time I was supposed to be a proper bona-fide match.
More blood was taken (all the samples are done by your local practice nurse) and I kept getting holding emails thereafter. The recipients medical team where unsure whether or not to proceed. Then, two weeks ago, all of a sudden we were go…. and in a hurry.
I’ve now had my medical – this was 3 hours of poking and prodding and X-Rays and ECGs in a special unit in University College London Hospital. All apparently seems fine but I await the result. Assuming that’s OK, a week Wednesday I shall be in to donate.
In most circumstances, it’s allegedly complication free. Simply involves 4 days of injections to get stem cells moving out of your bone marrow into your blood, and then 5 hours on a special “dialysis” machine that centrifuges your blood and separates stem cells from the rest. Sounds like a very long blood donation, though involves bigger needles and one more of them.
This is nowhere like the general anaesthetic and excavation of the pelvis prevalent when I signed up….. and easily fitting around work – the injections are administered by a nurse wherever you are that day …… Though that operation may still have to happen yet (if enough aren’t collected). And for some recipients that is the best way of doing it, medically speaking.
I’ll let you know how it goes on the day; I might even live tweet it on the hospital WiFi. In the meantime though, there’s a shortage of donors, especially from ethnic minorities. If you’re between 16-30, you can sign up with Anthony Nolan here – read it all carefully and be sure before you commit!.
If you’re over 30, or it isn’t for you (there’s no shame in that), can I encourage you to give to the Anthony Nolan here via my JustGiving site, so they can continue to do their life saving work…… tissue typing isn’t cheap, and nor is the procedure. That, and they’ll have to keep me in coffee for a day!
PS. People have said that I’m brave – I don’t consider myself that…..the brave one is the anonymous adult woman battling this disease. That said, I will be teetotal for a week or so, which is probably, for me at least, the bravest bit!