The doctor decided I needed blood. That frightened me, because there was so much stigma around receiving blood. “I don’t know if I want to do that.” I was concerned about diseases.
The nurse explained that testing is much better today, and I should take some time to think about what it would do for me. My blood showed severe anemia, and that’s why I couldn’t stand up. “You lost quite a bit of blood during the operation.”
“Alright. I’ll let you know tomorrow.”
“The sooner, the better.”
It would be something if I were cured of my advanced cancer, but caught another illness with someone else’s blood. I always think, “if only I would have kept Isabella’s umbilical cord.” The cord can be used to make your own blood. But having had cancer in my body, wouldn’t that procedure have failed me anyway? I realize the new blood would be healthy, but how do my genes affect this blood if the cancer came from a genetic disorder?
With some reluctancy, I agreed the next day to receiving the blood, and it was given almost immediately. I’m not sure I really had a choice. The nurse likely gave me the time to feel more comfortable about it. She hooked me up to an IV unit, and it took a couple of hours for the blood to go through. It felt strange – in my mind – that I could receive someone else’s blood.
As soon as the day after, I couldn’t believe the burst of energy I had. Finally, I could get out of my bed.
A couple of months, at the most, prior to diagnosis, I was having lunch at a nearby downtown food court. As I was heading back to the office, I walked passed an area where people were laying on beds and drinking orange juice. There were IVs next to each bed, and bags filling with blood. It made me think about donating. I requested a business card, and tucked it in my wallet. I intended to do my part as soon as I had the opportunity. My general health was normal, but recent months and the testing I was doing following the bleeding incident brought on hesitation. “Maybe I’ll just wait until I feel a little stronger.” But I had made no relation between my health that was about to explode and my giving blood. I was determined to do this deed.
Unfortunately, the investigation into my own health didn’t allow any time or reassurance that it was a good idea. If I had donated my blood, I wonder whether the cancer would have been detected. I had had bloodwork previously, but none ever signified a serious health issue.
Eventually, I forgot about the card that sat in my wallet until I came across it some time following my treatments. Although I knew the answer, I still called the clinic to see if I could donate blood if I was in apparent remission.
I see the importance of donating blood, now more than ever. I’m so grateful that this help exists. I wish I could do it now, but obviously, I’m one of those people who needs it, not gives it. So I threw away the card.
A plead for all those who need you, when it may be too late to ask you: Check your health for your sake, give blood for others’. God bless you all!