In the weeks leading up to the donation, I found that people who heard that I was donating stem cells were invariably going to respond with one of two statements:
“Wow. I’ve heard that is incredibly painful.”
and a variant of:
“You’re such a saint/It’s awesome that you’re doing this/I could never do that.”
I’ll address the first one in a later post where I talk about the actual donation process. (but let me say on the record, it’s NOT painful at all).
But let’s talk more about that second set of statements. I think if you’ve read my blog over the last few months, you probably understand that my motivation for doing this is simple. I act using one guiding principle. To do what I would want someone to do for me if they were in my shoes. It’s easy. If my mom was sick with blood cancer, and someone was a match for her, would I want them to donate? Of course I would. If one of my boys were sick with leukemia, and someone out there could save his life, I would give anything for that person to do it. So it never even crossed my mind to ask if I should do this. There was no doubt that I would. Because someone, somewhere in this world is sick, and I alone have the ability to help her. That patient, and her family, deserve this chance at life.
And honestly, I have a hard time believing that more people don’t feel this way. I’m stunned when someone says to me, “I don’t know how you can do this.” Or, “You’re so selfless.” Or, “I could never do that.” I just want to scream at them, “YES YOU COULD!”
But I don’t scream (what good would it do anyway?), I just restate my guiding principle. I tell them that I am only doing what I hope someone would do for me if the situation were reversed.
And perhaps I’m a bit biased, having seen my best friend go through this process and not find a match. I’ve seen the pain and anguish that leukemia causes. I’ve been in the hospital next to my friend’s bedside as he went through chemotherapy. I watched him endure through two years of treatments, only to find that, for him, there was not going to be a cure. I carried his coffin to his grave. 14 years later, I still cry when I think about it. So yes. I suppose I am biased. But I have every reason to be.
Nobody ever should have to go through that. I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through that experience.
So there it is. There’s my motivation.
And yes, you could do it too. I really believe all of you could do it.
Note: I decided to split up the story of my stem cell donation into several posts. I’ll have a post to cover the pre-donation process (the injections of the medication to increase my stem cell count), and a post will cover the actual donation. Look for those to come later this week…