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Monday, 23 April 2012

Catching up

Does this happen to anyone else... you mean to start a post, but nothing comes to mind to write about? It's been happening to me more often, well that and part of just not getting to it sticks. That's changed though, I have some exciting news. First we'll be going to The Netherlands for three months :). Jerall has a work project, and I'm tagging along. It'll be fun, and my first trip to Europe. We'll be seeing some friends in Germany, and be going to Paris :D.

In other pretty cool news, well at the very least I think it's niffty, I'm a potential bone marrow match for someone. I joined the bone marrow registry about six years ago, there was a big drive to register happening at the Neelsie. At the time I figured why not register, I donate blood so might as well do this too. I soon forgot about it till I received a phone call this afternoon. I was told that I'm a potential match for someone, and asked if I'm still willing to donate. I said I'd love to, but I'd be leaving the country soon. It seems not to be a problem, now just to get the necessary tests done in time. So far it seems that if I am a match, that we might get it done before we leave. I have asked what happens if we find out that I'm a match, but there isn't time to get it done. There's been no answer yet, but my questions did only occur to me late this afternoon.

It was a relief to find out that they won't be sticking needles into my bones. Before getting to the donating part, there are four ETDA tests that need to be done. From what I understand it's to test my kidney function - it makes sense when you read how they'll get the cells. From the site:

  • The medical procedure for obtaining stem cells from the blood is called a harvest. If you were asked to donate, you would be required to attend a specialist harvest centre in South Africa. A full medical examination will be carried out and if you are still agreeable, growth factor (G-CSF)* injections will be administered. These will increase the production of the stem cells in the bone marrow. These excess stem cells enter the bloodstream from where they are harvested using a cell separator machine. This minor medical procedure with minimal discomfort entails you being connected to the machine by an intravenous line (similar to donating blood or platelets) for 4 – 6 hours, possibly on two consecutive days. The precious bone marrow stem cells are filtered out of your blood and your own blood then returned to you. Thus you are able to go home immediately afterwards.

    The harvest will take place in a private ward and the donor is often admitted for the night preceding the harvest as this has proved to be most comfortable and convenient, particularly if the donor is from out of town.

    *Granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF). This is a protein which also occurs naturally in the body. It is given in order to mobilize the stem cells out of the bone marrow and into the circulating blood, where they can be collected for transplant. All individuals are at risk for developing cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma or other blood diseases throughout their life time. G-CSF stimulates normal cell growth. In some patients with cancer or abnormal blood cells, it has been shown to stimulate leukemic blood cells. It is unknown whether G-CSF increases or decreases an individual’s risk of developing cancer. Based on available data from healthy people who have received G-CSF, no long-term risks have been found so far. The data being collected during follow-up of donors worldwide will help establish if there are any or long-term effects from receiving G-CSF. Approved: SABMR Board - 23 November 2007.
Yay for no scary needles :). Although, even if there were still big scary needles involved I would still donate, if I'm a match. I hope I'm a match for the person who needs it. I'll tell you more when I know more, especially about the ETDA tests. In the meanwhile go take a look at the Sunflower Fund, and see if you could help.

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Me in a nutshell: I game, read, tweet, enjoy good food, have bouts of red pen rage and I'm a coffee snob.

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