Kelly the Culinarian: Donating Bone Marrow, One Year Later

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Donating Bone Marrow, One Year Later

Rocking Door County Half Iron
 that summer
Running a marathon 25 days post surgery
Thursday marks one year since I traveled to Baltimore to donate bone marrow. I don't write about it very often because truthfully, I don't think about it often. The short version is that I went under general anesthesia to have marrow extracted from my pelvis. The same day, it was transfused into the recipient as a potential cure for aggressive leukemia.
My life today is in many ways no different than it was a year ago. I ran 20 miles on the treadmill last weekend (almost a year to the day from last year), I'm training for a spring marathon and a fall Ironman and dealing with the same sort of exercised-induced minor injuries and soreness.

In essence, I am physically the same now as I was before the surgery. A few days of discomfort (never any pain) saved a life and I'm happy to report the recipient today is cancer-free and well on his way to living a normal life.

Swimming across a lake a few months later
It's an interesting paradox in that for a few weeks, the surgery was all I thought about. Avoiding sick people and doing everything in my power to stay healthy was my sole focus, and it was all-consuming for some time. Then the surgery day came and went, and after the first month, I rarely thought about it at all.

My scars are still fading. I was very swollen and sore for a few weeks and even when that subsided, the incisions where the punctures were made were visible for some time. Even now I can still see then, but I doubt anyone else would know what it is.

Bottom line, I would do it again. In a heartbeat. It has given my life purpose to give life to someone else. I feel like my life was moving towards this event in big and small ways for a long time - a flexible job to give me the time to do this, a partner who would take care of me throughout, retired parents to help in the process, an extended family for support, stepkids who gave me enough bugs and viruses that my immune system was in overdrive. Not to mention the results are nothing short of miraculous.
There are very few instances in which a person is given the opportunity to save a life. Be a hero and sign up for the bone marrow registry now.

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