The other day, my dad offered me a suggestion.
“I’ve figured out what your problem is,” he said. “You need to be more selfish.”
Selfish. That’s a word I seem to have heard a lot recently.
At the stem cell appointment last week, the doctor told me that I would “have to be a bit selfish” during the donation process. He said that since what I’m doing is obviously driven out of a lack of selfishness, I would need to speak up if I wasn’t feeling well or needed anything during the donation. He also said that he and the nurses, as well as my husband, would be there to make sure that I would get what I need.
Now my dad wasn’t talking about stem cell donation, in fact he’s a registered donor as well, and I know he’d drop everything to help someone in need. He was just commenting on how crazy my life can be, running from here to there. I’m sure he feels that I’m too busy, that I give too much of myself for others.
None of these comments bothered me too much. I mean, in my brain, it’s a good thing to have people tell you you aren’t selfish enough, that you should put yourself first more often. That means that they are recognizing what you are doing to help others.
So I was hit extra hard by something a few days ago. It was a stupid Facebook comment. The type that probably was meant with no malice, that meant nothing more that exactly what the words said. But for me, a person who thinks too deeply about things, I have already thought way too long about this comment.
You see, I have been posting stories about bone marrow donation on my personal Facebook site. This one I posted with a comment like, “I am so excited that I get to do this.”
The follow up comment was (again, I paraphrase), “Well, I bet the patient is pretty excited too.”
I instantly questioned the statement. Was this person implying I was trying to make this donation all about me?
I assume the patient would be excited. Except for the fact that this person has CANCER. Which pretty much sucks all around. And, from what I have been told, the patient and her family have no idea I exist. Until the donation is finally scheduled, and the patient starts chemo, she has no idea there’s a match. At least that’s what the doctor told me. No use getting their hopes up if something would cause it to fall through. So they wait. Not knowing I exist. Just hoping and praying that somewhere, there is that one-in-a-million chance that there’s a match, and that that person is on a bone marrow registry.
This is not about me. I have been sharing this journey through Facebook, through this blog. I’m not doing this to say “Hey! Look at me! I’m doing a great thing!” – because honestly, I could care less about myself.
There’s someone out there that needs me, and I have a chance to help her. A chance that so many people, including my friend Bean, didn’t get. And if by doing this, I can spread the word so that others register, and will consider donating, then I have been successful.
All I want to do is what I hope and pray someone would do for me or one of my family members.
If that makes me sound selfish, so be it.
Side note: The offices for DKMS Americas are in New York City. They have understandably been shut down all week due to Hurricane Sandy. So this week, I haven’t heard from my coordinator. My thoughts are with them and everyone else in the area that has been affected by the storm.