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My stem cell recipient passed away today

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My stem cell recipient passed away today

Old 09-29-05, 07:20 PM
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My stem cell recipient passed away today

This is a little long...

8 years ago, my Mom and I went to a Hawaiian festival at a park nearby. While eating kalua pig and shave ice there was a booth for bone marrow donors. At the time, a little asian girl with leukemia was in need of a bone marrow transplant. The people were asking for asians (and other minorities) to become marrow donors. "Go sign up!," mom prodded. So I did. They drew a small vial of blood. "Hey, we doubt we'll ever call you, but it's good to have you registered."

4 1/2 years ago, I get a call from the City of Hope. "Hi, remember when you signed up to be in the donor registry? You still up for donating?" "Huh? Is this for real?" "Yeah, you're a close match for someone unrelated to you who's really in need." "Okay, sure." So over the next few months, i go thru phone calls to set up an appointment. Heck, I'm doing more follow up than the City of Hope is. I mean, I'm concerned here, for my health as well as this unknown stranger. I go thru a series of blood tests to make sure my blood is ok and that we're indeed a close match. 24 viles of blood later. They schedule me. "We're going to do the stem cell thing. It's new, but we feel it's the best chance for this person." "Does it hurt? Are you doing the spinal tap thing or are we cracking my hip open?" "Why? Want to back out?" "Oh no, just prepping myself for the possible amount of pain involved. I'm going to go thru with it no matter." Prior to this, I'd only given blood once. So in October of 2001. I take my shots of filgrastim. It increases my stem cell counts. I get 1 shot everyday for 5 days. Then I go to UCLA and they hook me up the an apheresis machine and draw my stem cells.



I'm hooked up to it for 6+ hours. And I do it two days in a row. Do you know how hard it is to hold your pee when they're pumping 2 IV bags into you? Anyways, I'm off the machine. I talk to the City of Hope coordinator who tells me it's going to a young guy who has to remain anonymous to me for a year. She says after that, you're free to exchange info and whatnot then I watch the gal run off with my bag of stem cells. Looks like passo-guava juice to me. I get a really nice thank you card. I'm donor #1126354 or something like that is how I'm referred to.

So a year later, we exchange information and decide to meet up. He's a local guy. Cool. So the City of Hope has this survivor anniversary and first time meeting thing. We do it there. I meet him and his family. Right on, he's pretty much like me, except 10 years younger. Artistic, we like the same things, listen to pretty much the same music. Right on. I gain a blood brother and an extended family.



So over the past 4 years, we've hung out a few times. Our families get together for Christmas. And I've been donating more blood and more recently, platelets. I see him 3 weeks ago, during my first visit to the donation center to try this platelet donation out. We both go in, him for a transfusion. He's been talking me up to a cute sigle nurse there. :eyebrows: His process take longer than mine and I had to get my donation cut short due to some sensitivity to the IV drip. I schedule another appointment for another time. Find before I go in for my next visit, he's been admitted into the hospital. Shortness of breath, fluid in his lungs, yada yada yada. So I go make my donation and chat with the nurses there and ask about him. They had no idea. And I make a point of seeing him a little later. I end up being late in my procedure so I had to bail. So I make a point of visiting him last Saturday. We chat. He was surprised to see me. From the letters his mom sent to my mom, it was touch and go for a while, but he seems a helluva lot better. We catch up on stuff and he's saying he might go home Thurs (today). I'm like right on dude, gimme a holler and I'll come over. Things are looking good.

Then I get the phone call today. His mom lets me know he passed away. He was again having shortness of breath and they were moving him to ICU to drain fluid again. Looks as tho his heart just gave out. He was only 27.

It's funny. Watching My Name is Earl last Tuesday and how it sorta relates. I kinda did this because of karma. Not because of some Carson Daly revelation, but I figured it would be good for me. Not like I've been dealt good hands in my life, but I never thought of NOT donating when I was called to. I gave Jan an extra 4 years. He was able to finish college. I'm sad that we can't go to another Dodger game, badmouth the ever frustrating Lakers, or talk about the cute nurses. But I think he's in a better place now. No more having to deal with pain or physical limitations.



RIP, Jan. I'm glad you became a part of my life.
Old 09-29-05, 07:39 PM
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Sorry to hear about Jan

You helped give him a few more years than he would've had. That's priceless. My hats off to you for jumping in there to make a difference in a strangers life.
Old 09-29-05, 07:42 PM
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I don't know what to say.... I'm proud of what you did and saddened by how it ended so suddenly. Karma or not, you're a good guy for giving. Hope you're gonna be okay.
Old 09-29-05, 08:42 PM
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much respect for what you did. being a donor (of whatever it is) is a great thing to do to help others live. I'm sorry to hear about Jan, he's in a much better place now.
Old 09-29-05, 08:44 PM
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Sorry to hear how it's ended, but what an awesome story. That was an amazing thing that you did for him.
Old 09-29-05, 08:47 PM
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Amazing story. Much respect to you.
Old 09-29-05, 09:18 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about how this ended, but you should be commended for helping him.
Old 09-29-05, 09:22 PM
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Karma owes you for this one. With all the people now a days taking life, it's nice to hear of someone giving it

Last edited by glassdragon; 09-29-05 at 09:30 PM.
Old 09-29-05, 09:48 PM
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I don't think I could say it better than Tom. I'm sorry for your loss.
Old 09-29-05, 10:10 PM
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Amazing story sorry for the loss though
Old 09-29-05, 10:50 PM
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Great story...you're a good person for doing that.
Old 09-29-05, 11:00 PM
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for posting. Good, but heartbreaking, story.
Old 09-29-05, 11:57 PM
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all I can say is "wow".....




peace.
Old 09-30-05, 12:30 AM
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I am so sorry to hear this. You were truly blessed to have him come into your life as he was you. You gave him over for years of life that he may never have had before. You are an amazingly loving man.

RIP Jan.

Side-note... My mom donated bone marrow a few years ago to a leukemia pt in Canada. We flew up there to meet him and his family a year later (after having to wait the year out and what-not) and he was doing great. About another year later, he passed away while in the hospital for pneumonia. It's so sad to go through. You really have a bond, closer to them then your own mother.
Old 09-30-05, 12:34 AM
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That was a very noble thing you did. Much more so because you befriended him. I'm sure that meant a lot to him.
Old 09-30-05, 12:35 AM
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thats a good story...and a good life. thanks
Old 09-30-05, 01:11 AM
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wow. don't know what else to say. i'm glad you helped out your fellow man!
Old 09-30-05, 02:26 AM
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extremely selfless thing you did, wonderful.
Sorry he passed away so young.
Old 09-30-05, 04:09 AM
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Wow, dh. i'm so sorry for your loss. You helped give a man a 4 year extension on his life, not only that, you went beyond the call and became his friend. Otter's (hell, the world's) a better place for having people like you in it.
Old 09-30-05, 04:36 AM
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Sorry for your loss, and thanks for sharing part of your and Jan's story.
Old 09-30-05, 10:32 AM
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You are an amazing person for this. I'm sorry about the outcome.
Old 09-30-05, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by glassdragon
Karma owes you for this one. With all the people now a days taking life, it's nice to hear of someone giving it
So true!
Old 09-30-05, 11:43 AM
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Sorry to hear this, but I commend your actions. If everyone was like you the world would be a better place.
Old 09-30-05, 02:25 PM
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Heartwarming and touching story. Sorry to hear about him passing away, A.
Old 10-14-05, 10:39 AM
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Hey, ds, I just wanted to let you know that our church is sponsoring a bone marrow/stem cell donor registration drive on Sunday, and a big reason that I am doing it is your story.

Thanks.

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