Sunday, December 22, 2013

A True Christmas Miracle in One Mother's Words

FamilyMatterswithAmber.com, Amber J Chapman
Photo: www.FamilyMatterswithAmber.blogspot.com
I am blessed to be a recipient of this news:
An acquaintance of mine has a daughter who is 
selflessly saving a life at Christmas this year.

Please read the following emails from this mother- I hope you feel warm and fuzzy, and might be inspired…Then, please share this true Christmas miracle with others to raise awareness or share the joy (some details have been left out for the sake of privacy):

December 12, 2013

"My daughters name is Julie.  A few years ago when she was a student at OU, she participated in a bone marrow drive by getting swabbed.  3 months ago she was contacted by The Gift of Life asking if she would undergo some additional blood work as she was a potential match.  Turns out she was for a 67 year old woman who is dying from a plasma cell disorder.  After an extensive physical, it was determined that Julie was an appropriate donor.  Tomorrow Julie begins to receive a daily injection of neupogen, a drug that will increase her stem cell production and move her stem cells from her bone marrow to her blood stream (don't ask me how that happens).
...she will receive the last injection on Monday morning.  She has been told she will feel sick for the next 5 days with flu like symptoms.   Julie will undergo a procedure known as aphersis, equivalent to a 5 hr blood donation.  Because her arm veins are tough to access, they will insert a catheter in her jugular.
Julie's blood will be filtered and the stem cells harvested, and then the blood put back into Julie and the process repeated.  If the neupogen is not successful in moving the stem cells, they will then ask Julie to get the stem cells by doing an extraction from her pelvic bone.  Hopefully this will not be necessary, but Jules has to be prepared.
The recipient receives the donation on the same day, but they cannot meet for at least a year, if both agree.  Other than the flu like symptoms, the best case scenario is that Julie feels a bit tired.  But at the end of the day, having potentially saved a woman's life.  Amazing that less than 50% of people who are matches follow through on donating. I recently read an article that was advocating for bone marrow and stem cell donors to be financially compensated for donating because so few will.  I am proud to say that Julie is doing it because as she said:  "I have something in my body that this woman needs.  I can make more."
Again, I am a proud mama, feeling that I just may have done a few things right!   Prayers, positive thoughts, good karma:  all welcome for the recipient and Julie.  AND for good traveling weather!!! Many many thanks. 
Susan

This is the latest update from Susan:

Dear friends,

I am not sure I can impress upon you how easy it is to save a life! Julie would tell you that today was easy ,relatively painless and joyful. She would also tell you that it was even a little boring! We decided to name the recipient Mary to personalize the process a bit more and kept imagining how she was feeling as we were headed to the donation center.

Julie woke up with the same headache she has had for days and a little cranky, but ready to go. After about an hour of poking every vein in her arm, the donation team was finally able to get 2 lines into her arm so that the catheter was not necessary. After that it was simply sit back and let the blood flow in and out of her body 5 times! Each time, more stem cells were harvested until she had a nice bag of reddish fluid that is in some ways liquid life. It took about 5 hours to gather the right amount. The courier was right there to whisk them off to Mary. They cannot tell us where she is, only that she will receive this gift of life in the next 24 hours. My sweet Julie wanted to send along a box of Claritin as Mary will now have all of Julie's allergies as well as Julie's blood type! Really quite amazing. Julie will get updates on Mary's progress throughout the year and hopes to some day meet her.

Also amazing was Kait from the Gift of Life program. They have been great support, encouraging and just plain kind. I give my time to the Ronald McDonald Room, $ to MS, and I now plan to get swabbed myself. (FYI, after 60, you can no longer be a donor, so I will do my best for a few years)

This process really got me thinking about how simple it is to impact someone's life. Why is it, that too often, the simple right thing to do is many times what we don't think about doing. I will be reflecting on that thought over the next days and weeks and looking for the simple ways to make a difference.

Julie is tired but quick to say that the few days of feeling sick was more than worth the glow she feels from doing this. We will head home tomorrow morning knowing, that although we might need to do a bit more shopping, the best gift has already been delivered.

Many thanks for all the good wishes!

Susan

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