It has been a while since I had to explain why I didn’t write last night. Of late, I have just taken a day off because I was enjoying the boys, or Brooke, or a night out with some friends. Last night though I was not having fun. I made an interesting discovery. I think my stem cell transplant donor is allergic to birch pollen. We have had an amazing run of warm weather which has really brought the trees to the point of summer. Suddenly we got a bunch of moisture in the air and I think the trees went wild. I took the boys for a bike while I ran to get some exercise. About 2 miles into the run I suddenly got a little nauseated and started swelling up. At first I thought I was just overheating but it was quickly apparent that I was having a significant histamine reaction to something. As I hadn’t eaten anything new or had new meds I can only imagine it was pollen related.
After I struggled to get myself back home, walking slowly, while the boys circled around me I got even more swollen. My eye lids were pretty remarkable and I started getting erythematous (red) all over. I didn’t really want to take benadryl given my liver issues but I saw no other option. About an hour later the itching had subsided enough for me to get to sleep. Luckily I didn’t really get any shortness of breath which I heard a few other people got while out last night.
As I thought about it today I was really struck by how little I know about my donor. I find it quite amazing that someone is out there with essentially (hopefully I have none of my own blood cells) the same blood. With most organ transplants the recipient never gets to know much about the donor who likely has passed away. Also they have one organ system that they are dealing with. My donor cells are everywhere, in every organ, and I can’t do anything with out them. I spent a good deal of time today wondering if I will ever get to meet my donor. I don’t know the rules. I know that the earliest I can find out anything is a year. Some situations require a two year wait. I have no idea what the Seattle set up is. I often think about her and wonder what she is doing. Would she be glad she helped me out? Have I done anything she would not approve of? Have I used her gift well? What has she had to cope with in her life? So many other questions jump around in my mind. Now I can add to that list what other allergies does she have and will I have them also?
I am sure the day will come when I can find out if I wish. At times I am sure I will want to know, to be able to thank her, to be able to tell here what a hero she is to me. I am sure she would like to know that even if I am not what she hoped for she can be happy my boys have a dad and my wife a husband. I would love to ask her what she would want me to do with my life. I think she would be granted that. I am not sure I could carry out what she hoped but I would try. Some times though I am freaked out about finding out. I don’t really know why but I think it has to do with just not being what she expected.
I find it so amazing that no matter what I do my donor cells are keeping me going. I find it wild that we as a medical profession do not really know exactly what the cells are doing or what some of the effects of the transplant will be. What a wild idea, putting someones stem cells into another person. I will never get over the wonder of this. I can’t believe it has worked this long. I sure hope it keeps doing what we all want it to. I look forward to thanking my donor some day even if she is allergic to a bunch of stuff. She gave me the chance to even go out for a run with my boys and that is amazing.
One other note, I didn’t get to write about last night, my liver numbers look a little better. This had made yesterday one of the best days I can remember in the last few months. Again, what a phenomenal idea, someone gave me life by lending me her cells. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.
Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.