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I Received Blood
It was shortly after the Christchurch earthquakes. My baby daughter was five months old. I was tired, had lost my milk, had no appetite and was getting out of breath just walking up one flight of stairs.
The doctor ordered a blood test, which I had one Tuesday morning. I remember the day clearly, because it was the day I was admitted to hospital with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. I was in pure shock.
I started chemotherapy immediately, and the search began for a bone marrow transplant donor. I also received my first blood transfusion - the first of 34.
The search for a bone marrow donor continued, but despite 25 million potential donors on the worldwide registry there was no donor for me. So I continued with my 30 month chemotherapy regime.
During that time there were significant and life threatening complications. Fungal and bacterial infections at the same time. Together with thrombosis, of the deep vein in the leg and the iliac vena cava, and a ‘small’ pulmonary embolism.
At 11pm one night the hospital phoned my husband and told him to ‘bring the baby now’. It was touch and go.
I had transfusions of blood, platelets and fresh frozen plasma. Each of these allowed me to continue the rigorous and unrelenting chemotherapy. Each time I received a ‘bag of goodies’, I would look up at it with such gratitude.
I had been a blood donor and loved giving (maybe not the needle part!). Knowing that it might help another person was such a good feeling and privilege. To receive is also such a good feeling. I am sure that the positivity and goodness with which a donation is given is also received by the recipient, without a doubt. It's more than physical. A bag of blood could take me from flat to superwoman just like that! (Though that’s not as hard as it sounds when your red cell count is down to around 80 compared to a normal level of 125-ish!).
My gratitude for what that person, that lovely donor, was giving me would often move me to tears. It was lifesaving. Saving my life. It's amazing and healing. We are so privileged to be served by such an amazing blood service. Thank you NZ Blood Service.
Oh and my baby? She is five and a half. So thank you beautiful souls who donate. I just got to see my girl start school.
If you are male and your ancestors were Maori, Pacific Island, or any other New Zealand ethnic minority, please consider joining the Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
Find out more at http://www.bonemarrow.org.nz/
To become a blood donor, go to http://www.nzblood.co.nz/