I’m sure my doctor won’t be too thrilled, but I’ve hit a stage in my life where I want to do something more to help people. Being sick so much, limits my options for “going out to volunteer”, and my breathing is too difficult for those volunteer jobs that require phone calls.
After reading several papers on Bone Marrow Transplants the fact they’re upping the number of people who are getting partial match transplants I’d like to help by donating my marrow.
See the thing is. I’m in horrific pain every day. It does nothing for me but make my life miserable. If that’s already happening and thy have to take a big bone marrow chunk from my pelvis - at least I’d be in awful pain for a good cause… and maybe save someone’s life.
Has anyone here ever been through donating/receiving bone marrow? Anyone else ever thought of becoming a donor? I know my health could limit my participation, but I’ve got a kick-ass immune system that’s always at war - and it’s strong. That’s got to count as a positive right?
The only risks I see to myself are respiratory arrest from anesthetic (had this happen before), post-op pneumonia, and general infection concerns.
Anyone that’s been through it or know the procedure wish to weigh in?
From what I understand, first they shrink down a submarine and inject it into your bloodstream. Then the sub works its way through your system and anchors itself to one of the large, major bones. Then the marrow miners disembark and begin their work. After three or four hours of mining, they pack up and head for the lungs, where the sub is expelled from the body in a carefully triggered sneeze.
The procedure has come a long way from how it used to be done (think maple syrup).
Yeah, I have to say that undergoing a fairly serious surgical procedure, when your marrow may already have genetic issues, and when you need every bit of energy your body has to keep yourself well, seems like… um… a really, really bad idea.
First, you have to join the bone marrow screening program, which I’ve done. They’ll take a blood sample and add you to the registry. Then, if there’s a need for your marrow, you will be contacted. I’ve been a member for about 12 years, and only once was I a close match. Someone else was closer, though, and they didn’t use me.
Don’t expect to be a donor. Good matches are rare. Still, it’s a good thing to do, just in case.
My experience is like Dave’s, though I only registered about 5 years ago and have never been contacted as being a near match. My screening had to be done twice (I got a letter after the first one and it sounded like someone had left a fridge unplugged or something and they needed a new sample). But my local blood donation center was able to do this during a routine visit, they just collected into a small tube each time.
I’m sure there are some health considerations, but don’t remember anything about what kind of health questions I was asked. I think www.marrow.org is still the place to find out more - they responded quickly to a question I had back then.
A friend of mine donated bone marrow recently. Apparently they don’t take a chunk of your pelvis anymore. They inject you with something that causes you to produce more blood stem cells, then they harvest the cells. It’s still painful but once your done there are no further side effects or recovery period.
Do you know how the “harvest” worked, TheTrunkDr? Similar to a blood donation? I usually do platelets, they run a line to a machine that separates the wheat from the chaff (mostly via centrifuge it seems), then pumps back the boring A+ bits.
If they are already removing the bone, why wouldn’t you see if they could take some marrow with it? There’s nothing to lose, assuming no additional risk is incurred. I respect jpinard for wanting to help people who go through health issues as he does.
Oh, agreed, but marrow doesn’t keep outside the body. If it can’t be transferred immediately into a recipient, harvesting it is pointless. The odds of him being a match, while not zero, are low. It’s worth trying, of course, but don’t expect to be a donor.
I donated marrow when I was much, much younger. I recall it being absolutely terrifying, but hurting far less than some of the other things that were done to me that year.* The procedure that TheTrunkDr describes is an alternative, but it ain’t what I got to do. SlyFrog pretty much describes it! But as a kid there was enough anasthetic that I barely noticed what was going on and then afterward it didn’t ache much more than a tetanus shot.
*A spinal tap. I specify just in case someone gets funny ideas about what I meant.