First Round of Consolidation
So it's been a few days since I've updated — as has been the routine lately, this post is about my health.
I was re-admitted today, as planned, to begin a “consolidation” chemotherapy, which consists of six doses of cyterabine: two per day, with a day of rest inbetween, so I should be heading home on Friday for a late dinner.
They also told me the biopsy results were good, no signs of the cancerous blast cells, which was a relieving thing to hear.
Hopefully they'll give me more independence this time, freedom to move around without calling a nurse first, or to go for longer walks alone or with visitors (instead of laps around the ward).
I should probably be more vocal about the donor issue, since my life might depend on it, but the truth is that matches are very unlikely, so you shouldn't sign up to donate just because you know me personally and value me in whatever way, but you should donate because there is no shortage of other people in my situation, or who will be in this situation tomorrow, and may depend on a match to live, and having more donors increases the odds for everyone on the list — people all over the planet.
I understand people might be nervous about the donation process, especially because you can't limit your generosity to me personally — I know I would be nervous, the immediate questions running through my head would be how involved or painful it is, and how expensive or disruptive it might be. Information can be found at bethematch.org, and from what I gather, neither are quite as concerning as my imagination expected. Donating stem cells is actually a lot like donating blood, and donating bone marrow sounds pretty similar to the four biopsies I've had — pretty painless (though I was sore for a few days). And besides taking 20-30 hours (total, spread over a few weeks), it doesn't actually cost anything, costs are covered by insurance and donations to the organization.
And joining the donor program only involves mailing four cheek swabs to the organization. Also, only about 0.2% of people who join in the U.S. will go on to donate.
It feels a little awkward to make such a non-standard pitch — or really to make a pitch at all — but it really is important, not just to me but tens of thousands of people every year, all over the world. So as awkward as it feels, the need to say it supercedes that awkwardness.
Thanks for reading,