Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bone Marrow Transplants

Some time ago a very dear friend called and asked me if I would write a post on bone marrow donors.  My friend has Lymphoma and has had for many years.  She's undergone all kinds of treatments, some of which continue today.  She has had a stem cell transplant but hasn't yet had to have a bone marrow transplant from someone else, although that day could come.

I remember from years past that to donate bone marrow involved a painful and time-consuming surgery but that's no longer true.  Bone marrow can be harvested from the donor's blood through a process called peripheral blood stem-cell donation - a machine separates and collects the stem cells before returning the blood to the donor.  It's an outpatient procedure that takes four to six hours on one or two consecutive days.  Four days before the procedure the donor receives daily injections of a synthetic protein called filgrastim.  There is a second method that involves using a syringe to collect marrow cells from the backside of the pelvic bone during an outpatient surgical procedure; donors receive general anesthesia in this one to two hour process.

Another thing I learned about stem-cell transplants is that being tested to see if you could be a donor for someone is as easy as pie!  You simply swab inside your cheek with four q-tips - well you don't do it yourself of course, but that's how it's done.  :)  You know that doesn't hurt...we see it on CSI all the time!

If you would consider being a donor for someone in need of this life saving procedure there are a couple of ways to do it.  Often there will be a bone-marrow drive for a particular person and in that case you simple attend the drive.  There is also a bone-marrow testing Center, DKMS http://www.deletebloodcancer.org/, which will send out testing kits for free, according to the article I read.

Recently there was a series of articles in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette about a young woman with leukemia who needed a donor.  The articles were well written and filled with information.  In particular an article on December 17, 2012 was very informative.  If you don't know much about bone-marrow transplants - read a few articles on the internet about it.  There are lots of folks out there, adults and children, who could be helped if we all registered!

12 comments:

Rhonda M said...

This could be one of the most important posts you will write this year because it could save a life. I will be praying for your friend.

Quilting Babcia said...

I will second Rhonda's comment, and add that my son was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma two years ago this month. At that time I read about the possibility of my being a donor for him should the need arise. Because of my age (over 65) and being a cancer survivor myself, this was not an option the doctors would have considered seriously if there were any other chance of having a close-match donor. However, in my son's case, thus far the course of chemo he underwent for 6 months has put him into remission, and we're praying that will be the last of it for him.

Sinta Renee said...

I have always thought about being a donor. But I think now my age might be a factor. I will go read the links you mentioned. Thanks and prayers for your friend.

Susannah said...

Wow! What a great post today! I would have loved to have seen my mother have a bone marrow transplant but her multiple myaloma was through out her body. That was 25 years ago... I'm sure things have changed now, Thank you for spreading the word about this. I have learned much today.

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Fantastic post Marlene! And a very important one.

Kathy said...

A great post!!! I am an organ donor and my husband, who passed away 20 months ago, was a donor as well. I did learn a lot about the process when he passed away. Such a wonderful thing to do.

Thank you for sharing.

Sandy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!!! Perfect article!!!

gpc said...

A friend's husband just had one done last month; things are still touch and go for him, but what a miracle that this technology is now available! Thanks for sharing this information.

Gail said...

I have been on the marrow donor list for years. I think a little discomfort is a small price to possibly help some one live.

Thanks for sharing this information.

Belinda said...

What a wonderful post. I have trouble even giving enough blood for routine labs so I don't think I could do this, but it is so worthy. I hope your friend gets the donation she needs.

Garden of Egan said...

Great article.
I am on the donor list.
It is lifesaving for sure.

Missie of Hallbrook Designs said...

This is wonderful information! My brother needed a bone marrow transplant 22 years ago and I did not match him. He had leukemia. There were only about 80 thousand people on the donor list at that time and we never found a match unfortunately. Before he passed, he and his friends started a golf tournament to raise money for getting donors on the list. Back then it was $75 to be tested. Folks didn't want to spend the money. At the tournament, they would line up the donors to take a sample before the tourney started and each year hundreds were added. They did this and raised many funds for 20 years, putting all of it towards the cost of the donor testing. It has been wonderful to see that the donor list has millions now! And, that the cost to be on the list is no longer there. So many can be helped. I only wish I would be chosen one day to donate. Thanks for your post on this subject! Wonderful!