Today I Became A Possible Bone Donor Match

Posted 8/19/2008 by smartblackboy in Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

No one is perfect. Especially not me.

As I try to juggle varying commitments - a new job as a financial adviser, developing non profit arts programs for the city of Dallas, helping manage this blog, and of course being an artist and poet in my own right - sometimes things get overwhelming.

Thankfully, nothing is too bad - I can't write quite as much as I have been writing. I can't work on my non-profit stuff as much as I want to. The job takes first priority because it is a great privilege and responsibility to help guide individual's financial future and I am devoting most of myself to this task.

However as I was studying the market yields of various types of bonds today, I received a phone call that put it all in perspective.

Last fall I had the worst luck of accidentally making fun of two girls who have cancer, for having cancer, in the span of two weeks.

Although the stories are both pretty hilarious in a terrible sort of way - I did feel really lousy about it, especially considering that my own dear sweet mother has breast cancer.

So, as sort of a penance (to one of the girls in particular) I promised to enroll in the National Marrow Donor Program.

As I said earlier - no one is perfect, especially not me. One of my faults is that I am extremely adverse to personally donating any of my bodily materials. I understand all the arguments intellectually and morally. I even realize that it is especially bad for me since I am a universal donor.

Still, I gave blood once and don't ever want to do it again. I didn't want to be a bone donor candidate because I knew that there was probably a strong possibility that I would be a match. If I am ever an organ donor - I am sure someone would have my organs. I just hate the entire idea of it on an irrational, gut level.

So, today after being on the donor list for less than a year - I received a call saying that I am a possible match.

I freaked out.

The idea of having my bone marrow taken out of my body terrifies me.

I know that there is only 1 in 12 chance that I would actually be a donor, I know that there is a chance they might want white blood cells instead of marrow, and I know that theoretically I won't even feel a thing if there was a surgery.

Still, the worse illness I have ever had was mononucleosis my first year in college. I have never broken a bone, never been hospitalized, never have even had stitches.

Heck, I haven't even had a cavity and have managed to avoid having my wisdom teeth pulled.

So maybe most people have interactions with doctors where they are worked on and find out that its okay. I haven't.

So I am scared out of my mind.

However, I know that morally I have to call back - even though I don't want to. I wish I could just pretend I didn't get the message. I wish I could just delete the email sitting in my inbox. Erase the MySpace message. I wish I could just go back to dealing with my already too busy life. Go back to my job, my non profit, this blog, my friends, the arts.

Yet, I have a message that says I have a 1 in 12 chance of being able to save a person's life. I could justify not responding to it by saying I have already saved people's lives before - which is true. I could say that I am devoting my entire life to helping other people, isn't that enough? I could say I have the right to say no, which is also true.

But every day 19 Americans die waiting for a life-saving transplant, and the statistics are even worse for minorities.

After wallowing back and forth, getting over the shock, and dealing with the fear - I am left with a deep sense of joy and excitement.

I might be able to help save someone's life. Even if this time isn't a match - I stay on the donor list for almost the next 40 years. If I never donate that is fine, but I tried - I was an option.

So, please pray for me and for whomever it is who needs somebodies bone marrow. If you haven't I urge you to join the National Marrow Donor Program. As I have said before the harvest is plentiful but the laborers few.

We must always do everything we can to help other people, to positively impact our communities, and on those rare occurrences - to even physically save a life.

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