I chose this as my photo of the day, because this image best captures a Stem Cell Transplant. My job was easy and consisted of being transplanted with my donor’s cells. It was everyone else around me who was responsible for the effort and work needed to pull this thing off. My nurse Jenna, pictured above, is just one example. Today she coordinated with the Cell Processing Lab, fielded questions from my Transplant Team, administered all my medications, coordinated with my 3NE doctors, took my vitals every 15 minutes, made sure I ordered lunch and dinner, noted my fluid levels, monitored me during the entire 8+ hour transplant for signs of anaphylaxis, threw me a surprise birthday event with the other 3NE staff, maintained a sunny and supportive disposition, gave a tutorial to cell sign offs, all while managing another patient. I’m fortunate that so many of my Team emulate Jenna in their own unique way. I would not have had my transplant without wonderful people such as these, or the National Marrow Donor Program (Be The Match). This is why the above image is my photo of the day.
It’s now late, the clock is rounding up towards 9 pm, and I’m exhausted. I took a few photos of the day, enjoyed (in 2020 style, no doubt) a Zoom call with family, and ate a piece of chocolate cake. It is my new birthday, after all.
And finally, this day would not be possible without the most important person of all: my donor.
I was lucky to qualify for the protocol at the NIH. I was even luckier that my Team found you through the National Marrow Donor Registry. And the best yet – that you are a kind and generous person, who was able to donate your cells, in spite of all the obstacles that could have prevented such an act. Thank you, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, my parents, loved ones, friends & family – thank you.Excerpt from a letter to my donor
If you are interested in potentially becoming a bone marrow or stem cell donor, please visit BeTheMatch.org. 15 minutes of your time could save the life of someone like me. Thank you!