What it’s like to donate – one donor’s experience

Posted September 13th, 2010 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories
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There are two ways to donate cells to a patient in need of a transplant –- marrow donation and peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation. Most donors (75%) — like Mandi — give PBSC.

PBSC donors receive daily injections of a drug called filgrastim for five days to increase the number of blood-forming cells in the bloodstream. Then, through a process called apheresis, a donor’s blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to the donor through the other arm.

Read what donating PBSC was like for Mandi, in her own words

Day 1
I went in today for my first Neupogen® injection (Note: Neupogen is a brand of filgrastim). They drew some blood today and did another pregnancy test. Took my vitals and the nurse went over what to expect. I got my injections in the arms, nothing more than a little shot. I get allergy injections in my arms every 4 weeks, so this was nothing new to me. This stung just a tinge more than an allergy shot, but no big deal.

I laid low most of the day catching up on some DVR. I did notice that my stomach was a little off. I wouldn’t say nauseous, but I had no appetite. That being said, I went out to eat with an old friend and managed to eat half of my piri piri chicken dinner and a nice burrata cheese, tomato and petite basil appetizer. I can always make some room for dinner at my favorite bistro.

Sitting at the bar was uncomfortable though. My lower back is definitely sore, enough that you’re fully aware the pain is there, but not enough to stop me from going out to eat. I’m hoping that Tylenol does the trick.

Day 2
This evening brings me to a different kind of pain. Rather than just an achy back and hips, the place that is most affected for me is my ribcage and sternum as well as my skull. I say skull because it’s not a typical headache, it feels like my skull hurts. When I cough or sneeze (I have bad seasonal allergies, has nothing to do with the injections) my skull hurts. But it is not persistent like a headache.

The ribcage pain as well seems to only be when I exert myself, or when I stand up from a resting position, my ribs throb a little bit until I get used to being upright. So, the pains  are not a constant, and if I relax and stay on the couch with my movies, I’m okay. I also took the prescription pain meds they gave me, which helped considerably more than the Tylenol, especially on my achy back and hips.

So for day two, I experienced different pain. This is the bone pain they asked me if I had experienced. It’s not like anything else I have gone through in the past. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say overall around a 5 or 6, with the medication closer to a 4. I don’t want to discourage anyone from this, because it is a small price to pay and will only last a few more days. From what I’ve read, on the 5th injection day when they start to collect the cells from your blood, you leave that day feeling much better. So, until then, I will relax on the couch with my movies and kitty cats.

Day 3
Today was a very good day, mild pain at times, but that was it. Primarily felt a throbbing bone pain in my rib cage whenever I went from a seated position to an upright position. Again, achy lower back and hips, but those would only be a 1 or 2 on the scale and Tylenol took care of those. I even managed to go to a BBQ and play in a cornhole tournament.

PS. Interesting factoid I learned yesterday … the recipient of my PBSC will have my blood for the rest of her life. Her blood type will become mine if it’s not already, and my DNA will be a part of her. How cool is that?

Day 4
Much like yesterday, the pain is very minor. Little bit of an achy back and hips, a 2 or 3 on the scale, so I just took a few Tylenol. My ribcage doesn’t hurt like it did the last few days. The only new thing is that my hands feel a little tight.

I am looking forward to tomorrow and for the collection to begin, because that means the recipient is one step closer to her transplant.

Day 5 (Collection Day 1)
This morning I got my last Neupogen® injection and then headed to the Donor Center for the apheresis procedure.

It was very interesting. The machine was prepped and ready with saline solution in the lines. Since one line draws blood from my arm and one returns it to my body in the other arm, in order to start the circulation it had to be filled with saline. I have small veins, so one of the phlebotomists came in to hook me up which took about 10 minutes.

The machine started up and the nurse explained to me what it did. My blood came out and into a centrifuge where it separated into parts, plasma, white blood cells and stem cells. The plasma and the white/stem cells are collected in separate bags; the remainder of your blood is mixed back together and returned to your body. Also, a blood thinner is added to the blood to prevent clotting. That actually binds with calcium in your blood and the calcium depletion can cause side effects for some.

First thing I noticed was that I was cold. Your blood is running through this machine which is not heated and returned to your body, so most people get cold during the process. I had a few blankets on to help with that. Also, my lips and tip of my nose were tingly, which was from the calcium, so they put me on a calcium drip as well to help with that. Another weird feeling I got from the calcium was a vibrating sensation in my chest. It felt like my heart was vibrating along with the machine, it was very weird. I also got light-headed. The whole process took just over 4 hours.

Mom was there. She was lucky enough to have the task of itching my nose with a towel because we all know as soon as you can’t use your arms you get that itch on your face. I did feel a little bit of lower back pain and tiny bit of nausea, but that was from the last injection and the fact that I had only eaten half a bagel probably didn’t help that. I avoided any liquids this morning to try to not have to go to the bathroom during that time period. I was not successful in my quest. They went through two bags of the blood thinners which are fluids. You’re not allowed to move your arms or get out of the bed, so I’ll let you use your imagination there. Nurse assistance was needed. I’d say that was the most traumatic thing of my morning. HA!

Afterward, I felt weak and exhausted, couldn’t quite get my legs back under me fully and felt wobbly for about an hour and a half. Went straight home after and laid down. Now this evening, the shots’ side effects feel like they’re close to gone. Aside from the fatigue I may feel tomorrow afternoon, the achiness and nausea should subside from the shots.

Day 6 – Final Collection Day
Today was the last day of my donation process. No injections today, just straight to the Donor Center for my second apheresis.

Today’s procedure was much better than yesterday’s. Very little tingling, only a brief fluttering in my chest. The nausea went away and I was pretty comfortable. It seemed to go faster, only about 3 hours total, maybe a few minutes more. I was actually able to make it through today without having to go to the bathroom, but it was a race as soon as I was unhooked.

The first collection day seemed a bit scary to me and actually had me dreading going back today, but in retrospect I think it was a combination of the last shot hitting me along with the apheresis happening all at once.

Today was an easy day. I felt better right afterward, no light-headedness or wobbly legs today. My mom and I went out for breakfast after, and I’m home and feeling like my good old self. No more bone aches or headaches.

I’m a bit of a complainer (my family & friends may laugh at that one), but I was just trying to paint a picture for those of you interested. What may have seemed painful or uncomfortable for me may seem no big deal to others. In other donor’s experiences I’ve read the donors seemed to find it less uncomfortable than I did, but I wanted to paint a picture of what I went through.

Now my prayers are with the recipient, I hope that the transplant is successful and that I was able to give her the gift of life she needs for a long, healthy and happy life.

137 Responses to “What it’s like to donate – one donor’s experience”

  1. N K says:

    This article may scare people away from registering. Too many details. Thanks.

    • Brad says:

      Actually the honesty in this story is really what I was looking for. Information like this is hard to find and actually puts me more at ease than just reading the sugar coated simple version in the pamphlets.

    • Carrie says:

      Actually I appreciated the details… it was exactly what I was looking for. Helps to know what might happen. I already donate plasma so it sounds similar to that, only more intense and lengthy.

      • Darienne says:

        This is exactly what I was looking for as well I am 19 years old and have been on the registry for a year. I am committed to doing this if/when I get the call but I want to understand and have an accurate picture of what it is like.

    • Pam says:

      This is definitely not too much info. I’m on day 3 of my injections and I was curious as to how others felt. Also my curiosity is running wild about donating in 2 days. I truly appreciate you sharing your story.

  2. Rosanne Perricone Raleigh, NC says:

    Thank you for sharing! I’m not scared to donate. My mom died from Leukemia 2 years ago. I’d gladly go through what you did just so no one has to experience the hell she went through. God Bless you and the person you helped! We should ALL be so selfless and caring! Congratulations you did it!!!

  3. Tyler says:

    Thanks a lot for that! I think no matter how bad it sounds, so long as you have an idea of what to expect it is better than nothing. Like the post before me, this is very little to go through to help someone who could, or potentially has, been through much, much worse.
    Thanks again!

  4. ksm says:

    I think if this scares someone away, they weren’t likely to sign up anyway! I’d much rather know what I might expect. I appreciate the details. I hope that I someday get matched and can make my own comparison of aches and pains (and DVDs and kitties)…. Thanks for your gift, Mandi.

  5. Lisa says:

    I have to admit, the post did scare me. However, it doesn’t stop the feeling of wanting to help someone. The post helps because now I know what to expect if I do get the call. Thank you.

  6. Paige Lewis says:

    My son’s life was recently saved by a bone marrow trasplant. All I can say is that we appreciate the sacrifice! He is 29 and is now cancer free. There is no greater gift.

  7. C in NC says:

    I agree that this doesn’t provide “too many” details that might scare someone away. I am sure when they select and prep you, they tell you all these possible symptoms anyway. It was just nice to read about someone’s experience and see how the process effected her life outside of the donation center (ie: pick up some good DVD’s and plan on quiet evenings at home)

  8. Bonita Rekucki says:

    Mandy, you are an amazing woman to be so generous with your donation. I am sure the discomfort you felt was small in comparison to what a cancer victim has to undergo. I am currently an apheresis platelet donor and go to the Red Cross every 4 weeks. I have been doing this for the past 2 years. This is usually a 2 hour process and I do experience some of the the tingling and buzzy feelings you spoke of. To avoid much of this I beef up on yogurt and Tums the day before and the day of my donation. It seems to help alot. I have a decent meal prior to donating and feel less discomfort when I come with a full stomach. I also like to chew gum during apheresis even though this is not recommended by the apheresis staff in case there were any complications. When I go to the Red Cross, I read the list of people that are in need of platelets. It gives a general description of their age, sex and situation. People from infants to elderly are listed. It warms my heart to know how I am helping someone in need. I encourage people to look into becoming a platelet donor also. No shots are necessary. I look forward to donate my blood marrow since this will hopefully save a person’s life. What greater gift could there possibly be?

  9. bd says:

    I appreciate your honesty and step by step details of what you went through. I am definitely the type of person who would rather know what to expect. This would not scare me away from donating if needed, but rather would help me mentally prepare for the experience.

  10. D.Pace says:

    Thank you for your honesty! This gives me an idea of what the process is like and what to expect should I ever be called upon to donate. God bless you for your willingness to help someone else.

  11. Debra Hubbard says:

    Will the Neupoegen (filgrastim) hurt by body? Please explain more what it does. Will it go away after donating. This will NOT keep me from donating, I just want to know. Thank You Mandi, for an informative post! Debra Hubbard

  12. csc says:

    Like others, I would prefer to be prepared…as I was for childbirth. It didn’t sound that bad to me, especially if you like to complain, Mandi 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience with potential donors! And yes, stocking up on movies sounds like a good recommendation for dealing with the discomfort.
    Also, thanks for the tips, Bonita!

  13. Lisa Frank says:

    I definitely appreciate the time you took to write down your experiences! And unlike the first commenter, I think the more real life examples that are out there, the better. My mom received a PBSC donation in August of 2007 and as a result, she enjoyed several more months with her family and with a very good quality of life than she would have had otherwise. All the best to you and THANK YOU for giving such a selfless gift!

  14. r2 says:

    Great post and the detail is very helpful indeed. Nothing can compare to the selfless gift of saving another person’s life. I have been staying on the 8 week schedule for whole blood donating for years now. I sure wish more people would roll up their sleeves. Thanks for taking the time to let everyone know Mandi.

  15. DJR says:

    I was lucky enough to be a stem cell donor January 2010 and it was the most incredible experience of my life. The worst part of the experience for me is that the filgratstim shots stung, but only for a few seconds. I felt none of the nausea or flu-like symptoms-in fact I was worried that the shots didn’t “take” because I felt so good-the night before my first collection I finally felt some discomfort in my hips, but that was it. The collection process was easy for me, it took 3hours each day and the only side effect was tingling in my mouth-tums took care of that. When the courier came and got the cooler with my stem cells, I took a picture with him, myself and my husband and that is one of the proudest moments of my life.
    With regards to side effects of taking the filgratsim, I had a complete blood count taken 6 months after the collection and everything was A-OK.
    I would donate again without hesitation if I were lucky enough to match someone again.

  16. Kelley says:

    EXCELLENT post! Yes, it sounds a little scarey and it probably is – but it makes me feel like if I am ever selected I know what I’m getting into.
    Like most people have said, it is worth it. You’d want someone to do it for you if you were in need. These details are great for a real picture. Thanks to Mandi for donating AND taking the time to inform and inspire others to do so!

  17. Heather says:

    It’s not too much detail or “scary”. It’s truthful which is what people need to know. Anyone who is signed up to be a donor obviously already knows that there is a good chance for some small discomfort. I’m not scared at all to donate! I hope I get that call some day. What greater gift can you give someone than the gift of life? If those little details above have scared someone off from donating they probably were never REALLY ready to donate in the first place.

  18. Donna says:

    Mandy, thank you for this article. I found it to be very informative and extremely well written. I appreciate you walking us through the details. I look forward to the day when I am called upon to donate and will be less anxious now that I read your piece. As you said the minor discomfort is a small price to pay for the chance to save someone’s life. God Bless!!

  19. Katie N says:

    I agree, anyone who is freaked out by this process, probably wouldn’t sign up anyway. I think people sign up to help, no matter what the discomfort is. Mandi, thank you so much for going through this to help someone. When you mentioned that your blood type/DNA was going to be part of the recipient, that sounds so cool to me! Like you’re connected by this experience in so many ways!
    It’s one of the greatest human honors to be part of this process! Thanks again!

  20. Kaitlyn Clark says:

    Congrats and THANK YOU!!! my dad (he had MLS type of leukemia)had a transplant from an unreleated donator(dp). the appreciation there are no words to explain. I’m on the list but still havent gotton a call and i am waiting for one to be a donor. I hope someday i can have a story like you,
    thank you and god bless you,
    Kaitlyn

  21. Marty says:

    I don’t think this post would dissuade anyone. Such a small price to pay to help save a life. Thank you so much for sharing. It really helps all of us potential donors get a picture of what its like. While most people were going about their regular days you were out there saving a life! How cool is that!?! 🙂

  22. tweaver says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  23. Stephen King says:

    Dear Mandi,
    I donate blood every 28 days using the aphersis method. Many times I am there for over two hours. I would think that another two hours would not be too difficult donating for PBSC. I enjoyed reading your comments and feel that you gave a very accurate description for those that haven’t donated or are considering donation. Thank you for taking the time to share your story not to mention the donation you made to help someone live a longer life.

  24. paulg says:

    Mandi, thanks for donating and thanks for taking the time to post your experiences here. I have been on the donor list for 3 years and was recently notified that I’m a possible donor match. I’ve read the materials on what to expect. Your write up adds more detail on what expectations to have. Didn’t know I won’t be able to use my arms/hands for a few hours. 🙂
    Also thanks to Bonita for the tip on yogurt and Tums the night before.

  25. Lori Curry says:

    I appreciate you documenting your experience. My husband died of AML three years ago. His brother was a match and donated they same way you did. He experienced dull pain and fatigue. I don’t your experience will scare anyone away. I watched my brother-in-law go through it and I am not afraid. I would be honored to give!!!

  26. Liz says:

    That’s awesome Mandi! We’re all so proud of you! And thanks for the heads up on the process 🙂

  27. David Sinclair says:

    I’m glad that I read this, the definition of self-sacrifice is the sacrifice of oneself or one’s own interests for the benefit or well being of others. That’s what this is all about, helping people. What donors go through is nothing compared to the feeling of satisfaction they must get in helping another with no prodding but from their own conscience.

  28. Marc d says:

    I was fortunate enough to be matched with a recipient just over four years ago. I was 23 at the time and the NMDP nurse who came to my house to interview me did a wonderful job of talking me through all of the potential pains and discomforts of the process…almost as if she was trying to talk me out of donating. I felt that no matter what my personal discomforts, if there was even a minute chance that I could help save someones life, I had to go through the process.
    I had very little discomfort from the filgatrim other than very minor flu-like symptoms that were taken care of with Tylenol. The donation process was a bit more difficult. The tingly mouth was there but by the end of day two I was shivering almost uncontrollably and extremely uncomfortable. I knew I was almost done and pushed through to finish.
    I have since been in close contact with my recipient and would gladly do it all over again, given the opportunity. We have a very close connection (she has my blood type now and part of my DNA in her, after all), and she refers to her transplant date as her new birthday (four years last July). I get follow up calls to see if there are any effects from the Filgastrim (it is an experimental drug still, so they keep tabs), but I have never had any ill effects.
    I agree that anyone willing to donate in the first place wouldn’t be deterred by reading another’s account, just more informed. Thanks to all donors for what you have done, and everyone on the donor list for what you are willing to do.

  29. Dondeb says:

    About 10 years ago I donated both using traditional bone marrow donation and the PBSC method (a year apart to the same recipient) and neither method was to terribly unpleasant. Yes, there was discomfort with both, more the bone marrow than PBSC, but neither method enough to make me hesitate to do it again. Plus, the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something truly good makes it worthwhile. I also wanted to mention that for the PBSC instead of using a calcium drip, they had my wife give me a Tums whenever my lips got tingly and that worked great.

  30. Debbi Groves says:

    I have been a registered since my son was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1991, was notified 1 time of a possible match but things didn’t work out. I would do it in a heartbeat and it helps knowing what I might be in for. Thank you for Sharing your experience. Dg

  31. Steve Bunten says:

    Like others have said, I was glad to read what the experience was like. My wife had a bone marrow transplant April 2008 but her donor went the actual marrow route. I’d love to read what that experience was like. Since the AML my wife had was too strong for her to fight it she didn’t make it much over a year so I’ll never have a chance to talk to the donor.
    As someone else said about blood donations, if you are donating platelets, RBC, or plasma you use a similar machine. And I remember that little tingle of the lips and all. Also they only used a single arm for it so it took blood out, go through the machine, and then back into the arm. So I had one that was free to drink juice and all (and scratch my nose!)

  32. Karen Knopp, Fulton, New York says:

    Wow – I have to say I was very greatful to read your experience. I currently am on the donor list and I hope to expierence that very same thing. My twin sister passed away less than a year ago from Leukemia. I was her donor and unfortunately we did not get that far in the process and she passed away. I took alot of things for granted up to the point my sister was diagnosed with Leukemia. Which I beleive alot of people do.
    I think it would be a honor and a blessing to give someone life. I do hope someday I will be that person to help someone else. THANK YOU for sharing your story. A true inspiration!

  33. Tim says:

    Mandi, awesome that you took the time to write this piece. And I agree with all that there was not to much info, if this info scares someone off, they weren’t really going to go through with it anyway. I have been anxiously waiting for many years to be a match, had a close one 5-6 years back, but after the second draw, I must not have matched up. Oh well, it’ll happen someday hopefully! Thanks again Mandi!

  34. cindy b. says:

    Mandi, ((HUGS)) to you for your donation. I too, went through the same process about 13 years ago when I was a match for my sister. I believe that anyone who truly wants to be a donor would NOT be feeling any different after reading your post. And to those that are thinking about their ‘pain’…you can’t imagine what a cancer patient goes through!! Like you, the Neupoegen shots just left me feeling like I had the flu. Someone asked what it does and it simply makes your bone marrow go into overdrive and pumps out more good cells for the transplant! (thus the achiness in your lower back). I did have a more severe reaction to the loss of calcium but nothing that lots of ice-cream afterwards didn’t fix…LOL!! And to the person who had their picture taken – what a WONDERFUL idea. I wish I had thought of that, but at the time, was entirely focused on helping my sister. God bless to all those that have signed up to be donors. I sincerely hope and pray that I might one day be able to give someone the gift of life!!

  35. Joanne Burden says:

    Thank you for being completely honest. I think what people fear the most is the unknown. So – for my opinion – I’d like to KNOW what exactly to expect and dismiss things with a sigh of relief as minimal – rather than get surprised with things and have a million questions as to why no-one ever told me to expect that.
    Thank you Thank you thank you for sharing your story. And most of all – thank you for giving life to another person. You are truly an angel of life… God Bless…

  36. Sarah B says:

    Thank you for your honesty. Knowing is half the battle for the donor… and the recipient has a much longer battle ahead, which puts things in perspective! You’re awesome! Thank you!

  37. Shery Bulat Ferguson says:

    I find the details Very Helpful! I would not be going into this blind. I’m on the donor list and would be honored to be called to help save a life.

  38. Norman H. says:

    Mandi, thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve never read up on anyones experience on this. It does make me nervous a bit, but I believe I will get more satisfaction in the aftermath – and that’s a better feeling to me.

  39. Lynn Juozilaitis says:

    I think she did an excellent job of relating her experience. I don’t think this will deter anyone who truly wants to donate. It really is a small price to pay to save a life when you think about it.
    You did a great thing! God bless you!

  40. Vicki H says:

    I hope this does not change anyone’s mind about donating. Many medical procedures are somewhat painful for some, but no problem at all for others. Especially if you already have a tolerance for some discomfort from things like pulling a muscle, a bad back or even geting a tattoo! I’m registered as a donor and would gladly go through that to help someone – just like my mom’s donor did for her!

  41. Mercedes says:

    Thanks so much for writing this Mandi!! I registered to be a donor and always get a little nervous when I receive an e-mail in my inbox from the registry. Your honesty really put me at ease and made me more excited about being a posible donor for someone one day. Thanks so much for being real with us!! God bless!

  42. Constance Hetherington says:

    Mandi-Great job on donating. I really appreciate the fact that you told the truth on how you felt and the process. I’m hoping that I am a match for someone and can help them the way you have. Congrats!

  43. Stephanie says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing! I registered a couple months ago and although some of this sounds scary, it doesn’t change my mind or want to donate. :] Definitely worth it!

  44. Lori says:

    I was a little surprised at how much discomfort there seemed to be. I donated 23 years ago through an inpatient procedure where they took the marrow out of the back of my hip bone and I didn’t have nearly the discomfort Mandi seemed to have. I went into the hospital on a Thursday evening, gave marrow on Friday morning and was back at work on Monday. It just felt like I landed hard on my butt and was just a little sore. Sorry you had so much discomfort. By the way, my recipient is doing great; he is in his mid 20s and is a great guy!

  45. Kristen M. says:

    Thank you, Mandi. I honestly didn’t know anything about this kind of process, so I found it very interesting. Sure, it makes me a bit nervous to think of going through that, but the cost is NOTHING compared to the possible gain of saving someone’s life. Like others here, I hope that I get to donate some day. I registered about 8 or 9 years ago, but so far no one has needed me.

  46. Scott Miller says:

    Way to go, Mandi. I don’t know who wouldn’t give their left _____ (insert dang near anything) to help save a life, and this is a heck of a lot easier than walking into a burning building like the firefighter who is now fighting for his life.

  47. Belinda Howard Smith says:

    If Mandy’s description scares people away, then let’s post labor and delivery stories and scare teens into celibacy! In both cases, any pain and discomfort is proviving life for someone.
    Thank you Mandy for your bravery, for going before us, and then reporting back with encouraging words. The unknown and our imaginations are much more frightful!

  48. Kathy L. says:

    Thank you, Mandi, for sharing your experience! I like hearing all the little details & hope that one day I might be able to help someone in need. Kudos to you for donating!

  49. JAACO says:

    Thank you, Mandi. I am a registered donor and I honestly didn’t know anything about this kind of process, so I found it very interesting as well. I wondered how long from the time they matched you to the end of your process and did they test you again to make sure you were indeed a match? Thank you for what you did to save a life! You are special, I hope you feel it!

  50. Cheryl Konanui says:

    My 13 year old daughter Makanalani Konanui is currently in need of a bone marrow match donor, we live in Honolulu, Hawaii. she has Leukemia aml cancer. thank you for all the information i can get on what the donor has to go through because we are having a bone marrow drive and alot of people ask alot of questions ..

  51. Lexy Hughes says:

    I thank you for your detailed post. I don’t think it had too many details. Does talk of the pain of childbirth keep women from having babies- NO! I have been on the registry for about 8 years and I continue to wonder if I will ever be privileged enough to save someone’s life. Thank you for your honest recount of your experience.

  52. Juergen Stegmair says:

    Hey thanks for sharing. I am a wuss at the best of times, but I think that’s doable. I signed up as a donor, so I guess I am waiting to be contacted …
    Again: you did good!

  53. Jo Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have had my name on the Donor List for over 15 years and I keep praying that the chance for me to donate will happen. About 10 years ago I received a call that they needed me to do another “typing” to make sure I was compatable but I wasn’t. I enjoyed you sharing your experience and am so glad there are people brave enough to help others. God bless you and all the other donors from blood to organs.

  54. Trish says:

    Thank you, Mandi for sharing your story! I am now much better informed and am glad for that! I hope that I, too, get matched and am able to give this gift of life to someone someday!

  55. Patricia Lee says:

    Thanks for being so candid about your experience. Everyone has different side effects, so it is important to get all sides. When I donated marrow, I had almost no pain, but I read someone else’s experience where they had severe pain. The more information potential donors have, the better. And thanks for giving the gift of life.

  56. Joanne Kittel says:

    My husband received PBSC transplant for leukemia and lymphoma 6 years ago aftr battling cancer for the prior 12 years. He is cancer free today. His sister was the donor. I have been on the donor list for 17 years now and still wait for that contact. These transplants are life saving and in my mind, any donor is a hero. Thank you to all who sign up and who donate stem cells, blood, platelets.

  57. Jeanne Rossiter says:

    I donated stem stems for my brother in the same way as this young woman. I, too, found her description a little scary and not like mine.My experience included only minor discomfort, especially in the hips, from the neupogen. Tylenol eased it and I most definitely did not require pain killers! The day after donation all discomfort was gone. I can relate to the bathroom experience! That was the worst having to rely on others to help (and I am a registered nurse!) I”m blessed to be able to say that my brother has been in remission for three years and is doing well at almost 70 years young! My siblings call me (the youngest) “Spare Parts” and I can’t think of a better reason to have been born! I would donate for anyone at any time! It is absolutely amazing!

  58. Holly says:

    Thank you for the details. I found them helpful. I’m a little scared about all this possibly happening, but reading what you wrote helped. Again, thanks!

  59. Rebecca says:

    I’m so glad I saw and read this. I would have had NO idea what to expect and actually having someone share the process in donating is a great thing. Thanks for what you did and for sharing the experience. 🙂 Kudos to you!!

  60. Cathy Stratz says:

    I too appreciated your running experience. I donated platlettes via aphersis for years, until the last FDA change made me ineligible to donate blood. BUT I am still able (and willing) to donate marrow or whatever is needed should I be a match. Thank you (and all of you others) for stepping forward to help another.

  61. Tim says:

    MandiI can’t wait to get the call to give marrow. I have been a platelet apheresis donor for several years. I have given around 125 times or so. I often joke with the folks at the Red Cross about using square needles, or hooking me up to two machines to get more. But really there is no more satisfaction than giving the gift of life to someone. I know the hours on the machine can be tiresome but it is well worth it to be able to help another person. I look forward to have the opportunity to step it up a notch and do what you have been given a chance to do. Good luck with the recovery.

  62. Tammy Moore says:

    I so wish I would get the call that someone needs my donation! Thanks for sharing your story!

  63. Walter says:

    I am waiting for my call to help. I have been registered for about 7 years. It all started when my wife needed a kidney transplant; I donated my left kidney to her in 2002.
    Since I had to go through the type and DNA cross-matching for the transplant I was able to use that info for the NMDP registration.
    I also, like others who have posted here, am a regular Apheresis Platelet donor (you can donate platelets every 10 days, your body quickly replenishes them). Some of the side effects mentioned by Mandi during the actual apheresis stem cell donation process are the same as for platelet donation; tingling from the calcium depletion and coldness.
    It helps a lot to chew 3 or 4 TUMS before hand to give yourself a calcium boost and of course they supply blankets during apheresis.
    I am lucky that I have a platelet level that is on the high side of normal and I am on the large side (230 lbs.) – both of these factors allow me make a double-unit donation in just over 1 hour. (I have even given a triple-unit a few times).
    There is always a need for platelet donation because, unlike plasma and red cells, platelets cannot be frozen and they only last a few days…
    So, if you are waiting on the NMDP list for marrow/stem cell and would like to get a feel for part of the process, give platelet donation a try!!!
    Platelets are used every day to save lives!

  64. Jovey Gomes says:

    Thank you Mandi and DJR for your testimonials. That just shows the two different spectrums you could encounter. Either way I cant wait until I match someone! I much rather prepare for the discomfort and experience what Mandi did or even better walk out like DJR! I know one thing for sure though, after watching my mom lose her fight to leukemia, as a donor it seams to be a walk in the park!

  65. SonzTwin says:

    You gave an incredible account of your experience, Mandi, and I greatly admired your courage – maybe you’re not as much of a complainer as your family would have you believe, or maybe the better story is that even “complainers” can do this and live to talk about it. I thought the whole thing was very nicely documented: realistic, candid, no guises. Unlike most who have posted, I have no loved one waiting for a donor, no history of a loved one who died from the lack of a donor. This all started when the friend of a high school friend had a relative who was waiting, and he wanted people to sign up. They still haven’t called me!

  66. Robyn says:

    About a year ago I was notified that I was a potential match. I promptly agreed to further testing and filled out all the paper work and waited, but unfortunately was notified that they were not proceeding with the transplant. Although the specific reason was not given, I assumed that the recipient had died. I was apprehensive about the procedure but your account actually would have put me more as ease; seems like a small inconvenience to potentially save someone’s mom, dad, son, daughter, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or grandparent. I pray that one day I actually have that opportunity.

  67. snoodles McGee says:

    I’ve had hangovers worse than that. 🙂

  68. Elischeo Vera says:

    I joined in the beginning of the year. My Fiance calls me a big baby when it comes to anything hospital related, but that did not deter me from joining. The benefit is so tremendous, you can only want to help. I only hope I get that chance to help someone in need. Your explanation did help me mentally prepare myself when and if I will be needed. Your bravey, made me a lot braver as well. Thank You.

  69. lindy says:

    Thanks for sharing- I would way rather know every detail ahead of time than be scared. What’s a couple of days of being uncomfortable to save a life?

  70. Curtis Anthony Morrison says:

    I strongly believe that if one is healthy it is their responsibility as a fellow human being to donate.

  71. Linda Dickinson says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, I would love to be a match for someone. I have been on a list for about 15 years and have never been contacted.I guess there are so many factors that have to match before you are a match for someone.

  72. Bob Pung says:

    It finally happened! 22 years after joining the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match Registry I received a phone call today of a possible Marrow match for a patient considering a transplant! I am so excited! They advised me that it may be a couple weeks before I hear anything for sure but I pray that I am a perfect match for this patient in need. Thanks Mandi for your sharing your experience…Hopefully soon I can tell everyone about my experience and get more people to join the Be The Match Registry! Wish me luck!

  73. Sara C Romine Tuell says:

    Thank you for being a donor. My younger brother passed away 2 years ago almost, at the age of 22 because we couldn’t find a donor in time and none of us family members were a match. My family & I now do marrow registry drives in his memory, that was his wish, if not to save his life then just one other person’s life. This helps me in describing what goes on exactly to those interested in registering at our drives. Your post was very, very helpful. God Bless You and your family!!!

  74. Charlotte Meadows says:

    If anyone is scared off from signing up to be a donor based on your description of your experience, I hope they never decide to get pregnant and deliver a baby. MUCH more dramatic experience and the effects on your body last forever. When you consider that someone is being given the chance to LIVE, this small amount of pain and fear is very minimal. Thank you for sharing with us.

  75. DJR says:

    Bob Pung-I joined the registry January 1989 and donated January 2010-I hope you are a perfect match and get to donate-it feels like winning the lottery! Best wishes and prayers to you and your recipient!

  76. Alexis Coleman says:

    Mandi, congratulations and all the Kingdom’s blessings to you. I hope I’m able to do this for someone. Like what another person posted, at least we know what to expect. My best friend is about to placed on this waiting list to receive a donor. So I hope there is someone brave enough to donate for people like her…

  77. Mandi says:

    Thank you for all the compliments!
    I agree that anyone committed to the registry would not be scared off by this at all. You are told of the risks and side effects repeatedly by your registry rep, registry physician, nurses, techs and physicians at your donor center as well as tons of literature and a DVD. So I was fully aware of what I signed up for and this did not make me second guess my decision even for a second.
    I really wanted to paint a picture of what I went through, because I couldn’t find many blogs on it prior to donating. I found a few, all of which said they barely felt any discomfort, some a mild sore back or hips. Not everyone experiences the same side effects, so mine may have been more than yours would be if you are blessed enough to be a match for someone.
    I will say that it is a small price to pay. A few days of discomfort is nothing compare to what my recipient must have gone through. It feels so good to be a part of something bigger than you or I and to give someone a second chance at life.
    @Debra Hubbard – the filgrastim will not hurt your body. What it does is stimulate your bone marrow into producing high levels of white blood cells and stem cells. Your marrow goes into “overdrive” essentially and the extra stem cells (peripheral) make their way into your blood stream where they can be filtered out. I felt like myself and the symptoms were gone after the second day of collection for me. Your body replenishes your white blood cells in a matter of weeks. No lasting side effects at this point of the study (20 years in).
    Thanks again for the compliments!
    ~Mandi

  78. Gladys Johnson says:

    Thanks Mandy!! for sharing your story, that was a lot of courage to suffer to give someone else life…God Bless U and I hpe if I ever get a call I could be as strong as you.

  79. TAMMY ALVIAR says:

    I feel what you went through is not the same as a person who needs our help in the first place. Everyone who donates in my book is a hero. So we go through a little. We save a life and that is wonderful thing. Thank you. GOD BLESS

  80. Erika Neumann says:

    Good for you! The details are fine, you let people know what to expect. My dad passed away from cancer. It’s horrible. You gave someone a chance at life and there is no greater gift. I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you!

  81. AJohnson says:

    The detail provided is great – I have been doing apheresis for the past 20 years in several states. This is usually a 2 hour process and I do experience some of the the tingling and buzzy feelings but the process has greatly improved. If you platelet numbers are high enough you can donate every 2 weeks and help many people. The donor centers always have open seats to donate blood products. What a nice way to cool off on really hot days. Turn off the beeper or blackberry and relax 🙂

  82. Raul Santiago says:

    God bless you over and over again. Thank you for your honesty, and I agree with all who say that this will not discourage those of us who are willing to donate. The courage comes at the beginning when one decides to do it. Once committed, stories like yours could only encourages us even more to continue. Again, thank you!

  83. lynne says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Mine was very similar. I had achy joints from the filgrastim and the tingling and cold sensations during the donation process. I felt pretty uncomfortable at one point during the donation and was watching the clock (that doesn’t help!). But overall it was a piece of cake. The nurses were great too.

  84. allisn blain says:

    Excellent reporting–as a nurse, and hopefully a donor someday, this was spot-on!! Nothing scary, just the facts. Everyone’s pain tolerance and nausea level varies, of course, but this was a good general overview of what to expect. No rose-colored glasses, except for the fact that this is a wonderful GIFT, and must be looked at in that way!! Great job–hope to join your ‘club’ soon!!

  85. Mandi says:

    Thanks again for all the comments.
    just wanted to answer a question from JAACO.
    @JAACO – the whole process for me from first phone call to donation was 7 months, but with a set back included.
    In January I got a call that I was a “potential match” and scheduled an appointment in February for blood work for further HLA typing and to test for infectious diseases. Usually there are a number of people called at that point and they narrow it down to the best or perfect match from there. I was told I wouldn’t hear anything for 60 days. Pretty much right at the 60 day point I got word that the patient was no longer ready for transplant, which meant either he/she was responding to treatment well or that the patient was not healthy enough to receive the transplant. I hoped for the first outcome and was told I was released from this patient and back on the registry to be available for others. I still wasn’t sure if I was the best match or not. This was in April.
    In June I got another call that I was in fact the best match and the patient was ready for the transplant now & would I be willing to donate in August. This was probably the most exhilarating phone call I’ve ever gotten and I was sooooo happy to hear this. More blood work was scheduled. Repeat infectious disease testing, full workup to make sure all my levels were normal and health. I also had chest films, an echo and a physical done to get cleared for the procedure. This was all done in June and since I didn’t donate until August, I had to go for repeat blood work one last time closer to the donation date.
    So when it was all said and done, 7 months from first phone call to donation. But if you were to take the set back out of the equation, about 2 months from the phone call that I was the best match. Each case is different, it depends on the health of the patient.
    ~Mandi

  86. David says:

    Thanks for the details. I registered ten years ago and have never been called, but now if I ever am I’ll know what to expect.

  87. Wendell Jay Pruitt says:

    Mandy,
    I would like to echo what others have already said and that is you are brave. I am a recent donor myself PBSC and I had similar experiences. After my injections I would sleep three hours and another nine to ten hours at night, so I got to catch up there. I was on the list for twelve years plus and I had forgotten I had signed up, then I get the call and wondered who where these people. The caller said this is usual and that most do forget after this length and most don’t follow through what they had originally pledged. So I went against most others and followed through and found out it was no big deal. My recipient is still unknown to me but I understand he is at home recuperating just fine. Congrats for finishing.

  88. Bob Connolly says:

    I was also a donor match in 2006 and found it kinda interesting to go through the same things as you did. It definitely wasn’t the most fun process to go through, but would I do it again (absolutely) as a matter of fact I was just informed I’m a match to someone else. Would I rather hit the lottery (I get the feeling like I did). The way I looked at it was, My wife and I have coached hundreds of kids over the years and have 2 of our own, what if it was one of my kids that needed this donation would you do it?

  89. Gerri Buteyn says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I’ve been a little afraid of actually being called up to donate, because I’ve heard it’s very painful. Your description made me feel like I can do this . . .my mother-in-law endures hemodialisis 3 times a week, so if she can do that I think I can go through the donation process also!

  90. Anne says:

    Thanks for the wonderful description. I’m a RN, and worked at a major cancer center for 10 years. This is a very accurate portrayal of what our donors went through. I’m also a donor, but never called to match. Thanks for what you did. (And to answer Debra Hubbard, the Neupogen is actually a a synthetic version of a substance that your body makes itself to create stem cells. We just give you more of it to bump up your production for the collection. When we stop it, it goes away and doesn’t permanently affect you.)

  91. KimM says:

    I joined the registry in 1995. I was called as a potential match in 2001 but after further testing there was another donor who was more suitable. I was called again on Monday and am waiting on the last of the tissue typing to be done. Your account was very informative. It has not made me want to donate any less.

  92. Cindy H says:

    I registered this summer as a result of a co worker being diagnosed with a form of cancer. Not sure what is really is but a poster was posted in the break room asking for donors. I wasn’t able to attend the event that was hosted in his honor at our local cancer clinic but signed up on line that night. I am so hopeful that I can be matched with someone. I work at an outpatient diagnostic radiology clinic and I see so many people who are sick. My heart aches for them and their families. Just the chance that I could do something to help one of them was all I needed to sign up. My family is very community oriented and they support my efforts completely. I am so thankful for my healthy family (3 daughters and 1 son) and will welcome any opportunity to help someone else.

  93. Gary says:

    glad you could help someone. I hope that one day too i will get to help someone. kudos to you again and thanks for the insight to your experience.

  94. Alice Murphy says:

    I appreciate your documentation and understand what the first commentor felt but like the others, it seems a small price to pay to help someone to live. Thank you for your honesty and sharing.

  95. Diane says:

    Mandi, thank you for your description of the process you went through. Everyone experiences procedures differently. If I ever get the chance to donate, I know your description will help me through the process. I feel the more information I have, the better prepared I am. I realize everyone will thoroughly explain what will/may happen, but hearing it through personal experience gives it more impact. Thank you again for writing your experiences.

  96. E. Botto says:

    I think your comments and descriptions are invaluable. I am a regular blood donor and a frequent platelet donor so much of what you describe is similar to the procedure of donating platelets when I first did it. Now they only need one arm but the first few times, it was a two arm procedure. My veins are small and I often set off the alarm on the apheresis machine 🙂 I am almost always on the bed for three hours. When only one arm is used, I take a book. Going back to two arms, I think I would take my laptop and watch a movie 🙂
    I look forward to the day I get the call and can help someone like this – what a wonderful opportunity to help someone or maybe save a life!

  97. Scott Jones says:

    Hi Mandi, we have something in common! I donated PBSC’s last year. I did have a little pain but not like yours, nothing tylenol didn’t cure. Every one that I worked with from be the match was wonderful and made it one of the best experiences in my life. I would not hesitate to donate again! Now you’ll find yourself counting the days to hear an update on the recipient and getting scared when the time gets closer, hoping that its good news. Take care:)

  98. Deb Krsek says:

    I used to donate plasma on a regular basis, and your experience sounds much the same. Although the experience is unusual, it is well worth the process, and I’ve found that the anticipation is the worst part, while the actual donation is probably not a big deal. Calcium depletion can be uncomfortable though, so if you begin to feel warm, tell the attendant right away (been there, done that – twice).

  99. Betty says:

    My 5 year old grandson has ALL. He was so blessed to receive a bone marrow transplant and so far is doing well. We are so very thankful for the gift someone gave to him, the gift of life. You cannot imagine the pain and suffering that the recipients experience during this process. Thankfully he is through the worst. We are grateful to people like you who are willing to give this wonderful gift to those who desparately need it.

  100. Wendy says:

    I am so glad that you shared a day by day experience. I was called in May as a potential match for a 12 year old boy with Adrenoleukodrystrophy (ADL), which is the same disease that is featured in the movie, Lorenzo’s Oil. I was prepared to donate, but I had lots of questions. The website was helpful, but it wasn’t specific. I’m sure the experience could be different for each person, but knowing what one person experienced is helpful.
    Update – I received a letter that I may still be a “match” for this boy, but his physician has chosen not to do the transplant at this time. For privacy reasons, they do not explain why. He could be better, worse or receiving a different type of treatment. I will probably never know. In the meantime, I have prayed for this child and his family, which is the only amazing gift I can give him….at least for now.
    Thanks again for sharing your story, Mandi. A few days of discomfort is worth helping someone else…possibly saving a life!

  101. Wendy says:

    I meant ALD, not ADL…oops.

  102. Danny says:

    Thank you very much Mandi for your words on your experience and for donating. I’m young so I’ve only been on the list for a year or so but I hope one day… Anyway, thanks for the detailed explanation. You saying you’re a complainer and it was ONLY these symptoms makes it even easier. Like others have said, I would rather be prepared and know someone else’s experience firsthand. Thank you again and big hopes for the recipient as well.

  103. Diana Delgado says:

    Mandi my name is Diana I like yourself had the blessing and opportunity to donate my experience was somewhat like yours and the feeling to know your saving a life is incredible. I just met my recipient on the 21st of this month and that experience was even more exciting. Today I could say I have a new family and this is something I will cherish for ever and ever.

  104. Jennifer Ruppert says:

    This was an excellen journal of your experience. I often wondered what it would be like if I got the call. I am ready. God bless you.

  105. Kim says:

    I appreciate you sharing your experience. I have been on the donor list for many years and have never been a match. I pray that some day I will get that call and will be able to help someone the way you did. God Bless you!

  106. Peggi LaTorre says:

    Thanks for the great post! Sounds amazing yet scary but worth every minute of discomfort! I’ve been on the list for a few years now and hope I will someday be granted the honor to give the gift of life!!

  107. Angela Rocca says:

    I have to be truthful, I am a little scared of the process, not the pain, but the needles (I’m somewhat phobic) but it seems like a small price to pay for someone’s life and I’m willing to do it. I appreciate the candid account of what you went through, it’s important to know what to expect. Thanks!
    Angela

  108. Dorothy says:

    Mandi, thanks for the heads up!! I am a donor and so wanting a call for my chance to help. my mom was on dialysis for years, sound similar as do the symptoms of fatigue and nausea – like so many others said – a small price to pay. God bless you and prayers up to the recipient – i hope to be able to post my story one day.
    9/27/10

  109. Lorenz Redlefsen says:

    Great writeup, Mandi!
    I donated stem cells in 2004 and 2006, and my experience was pretty similar to yours, although it sounds like I had a slightly easier time — no nausea. I also could sort of move the arm with the return line (which was a plastic hose in my case, not a needle).
    http://www.redlefsen.com/redlefsen/Lorenzs_PBSC_Donations/Entries/2004/3/26_PBSC_Donation_Writeup.html
    Regarding stinging shots, warm up the vials of Neupogen by holding them in your hands for a minute or two before the nurse draws the liquid into the syringe (e.g., while she’s doing paperwork), if you can — part of the stinging is caused by the fact that the liquid is cold.
    Finally, for a lot of the blood work that they do before and after, I asked for pediatric needles — they’re a lot smaller, so they hurt less going in. Takes a little longer to fill the tubes, but I didn’t mind.
    To anyone else who’s about to donate (paulg): I’d encourage you to write down the details of your experience, and share them online, so others after you know what to expect. When I did my donation, I found a blog by someone named Lindsay, but that blog has since disappeared.

  110. Danielle Blackburn says:

    Thank you for this 🙂 It’s good to hear someone’s personal experience

  111. Baileigh Johnson says:

    mandi you are truly inspiring. my grandmother is receiving a stem cell transplant in about a month, and though i was already grateful for the man donating for her, my gratitude just grew so much more. thank you for sharing this with us.

  112. Angela Miller says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am signed up to donate but they haven’t needed me yet. I can’t wait to save someones life! I am a little scared of giving blood but I can handle it if it means helping others. So thanks so much! Now I’ll know what to expect, should they need me.

  113. Sue Van Ess says:

    Mandi-
    You are a hero, I had a BMT in January 2010, I’m wondering if by any chance you could be my donor! I am forever grateful to my 24 year old female donor and I hope that I will be able to meet her after the one year waiting period. My donor saved my life and gave me a second chance. Anyone willing to be on the regisrty and donate if called is awesome. I was on the registry for over 10 years, and never had the chance to donate, I rather have been the donor then the person in need, but so grateful to Be The Match and my donor.

  114. Terri Johnson says:

    My mother is getting ready to recieve her gift of a stem cell donation from a 29 year old young man. I feel so blessed to know exactly what the donor will experience. Thank you for sharing. It is so touching to know that a complete stranger is giving this selfless, not painless gift. Praying that I too will be a match someday.

  115. Anita Holman says:

    My 21 year old son just received a bone marrow transplant. If you are an exact match to someone that in itself is a true miracle. Your honesty is refreshing and you are a true hero for donating. Don’t ever forget that!

  116. danielle knudson-goodwin says:

    I am a potential match for someone and I REALLY appreciate your post! It definitely scared me a little bit but I am the kind of person who needs to know what to expect. Thank you! If I am the match at least I know what to expect and can prepare myself.

  117. Maria Moss says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I go tomorrow to give blood to find out if I am “the match” for a 17 year-old girl with leukemia. I appreciate the details. I know everybody is different, but sounds like it wasn’t so bad. Thanks again for sharing! Take care.

  118. Julia L says:

    Thanks for sharing! I don’t think it was too many details or too scarey at all!! I went through this years ago and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Your article brought back all those memories! You did an amazing thing!

  119. Louis says:

    I frequently donate platelets, so the machine part sounds similar (although the draw and input go through the same needle, and only takes about 60-90 minutes). They usually give me tums (which has calcium) for the tingle I feel on my lips. I guess it’s more severe with your type of donation, so they require the drip. I’d be happy to go through the more extreme circumstances to help save a life. Thank you for sharing your full story!

  120. joanne steele says:

    Thank you Mandi,
    Good to know what the discomfort factor may/not be , informed choices are always wise.
    I am thrilled, willing and able to donate and again, appreciate your generous candor.
    Jo Steele

  121. Maureen says:

    I am among those that would prefer to know what is going to happen rather then going in w/o any knowledge. I’m glad I saw this. I pictured being in surgery like is dramatically shown on television. I will rest easier now if I should ever get a call. Thank you.

  122. ghd says:

    What i could say is thanks.Really.it is not a easy job for others.

  123. Kathy says:

    I am glad to know what to expect. I have been registered for 15 years. Two years ago I got notice that I may be a match and needed further testing. I was not the best match. I so wanted to be. I am glad someone was able to help. My mind was racing with visions of what they were going to do to me if I matched! I was thinking it would be a lot worse than described. I wasn’t going to let that stop me though! Thank you for the info. It is nice to hear experiences from a real person and not read them in a fact sheet.

  124. Amy says:

    As a recipient of an Allogenic Stem Cell Transplant from an unrelated matched donor, I just want to say thanks! It is such an incredible gift – the gift of life – that you’ve given. I am so grateful for my donor and would encourage anyone to become one. I was 28 at the time of my diagnosis with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and 31 when I received my Allo transplant this past summer. Also, in 2008, I received an Autologus Stem Cell Transplant, meaning that it was my own stem cells that I received. So, I also went through the same neupogen and apheresis process that you donors must go through. My experience was much like yours, with the typical bone pains, etc. My apheresis collection actually lasted 4 days, because my blood was fairly depleted from prior chemo treatments. However, the apheresis machine that they used on me warmed the blood back to 98.6 so that I didn’t experience the chills that you did. Also, I was permitted to move my arms! 🙂 Thanks again for sharing your story and for sharing your stem cells! It is truly amazing when I consider that the blood pumping through my veins and keeping me alive and cancer-free is not actually my own, but my donors! What a gift!

  125. Duane Wilson says:

    I donated via PBSC like Mandi did…that was back on March 10, 2010…what everyone should know is that the side effects are going to be different for each one…with me, I didn’t feel much discomfort until after my 3 injection and the pain was minor…light headaches, and body aches were all that I really felt…kinda like how I might feel if I was starting to get the flu…with the Tylenol and the precription pain medication I was able to get through fine…the night before my donation and after my 4th injection I would feel the worse pain which for me was a sharp pain in my lower back and extending up to my neck and shoulder region, but this was in large part because I failed to take my pain meds when I should have…it was a small price to pay for the feeling that I felt knowing that I was helping someone in need….I would do this again in a heartbeat…

  126. Marianne Luchetta says:

    I also donated PBSC back in Nov 2002 to an unrelated donor. I was very fortunate as I had very little discomfort from the shots, and the 2 day donation. The hardest part was being away from my 4 month old son at that time. I am happy to say that I have met my recipent who was suffering from MLS and he is considered completely cured. The bonus, we now both have new extended family.

  127. Rose says:

    Thanks for your honesty. I like being informed about what is going to happen. For me information takes the fear out of this process.

  128. Nick says:

    I am surprised they didn’t have a TV or DVD player or something like that there (or was there and you just didn’t mention it because you didn’t feel like using it?)

  129. Rey says:

    God bless you… I’m frightened, really wanna do it but i’m challenging because i m not brave enough.

  130. KevinTran says:

    Nice post

  131. Jack Anderson says:

    Hello there, You have done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  132. Jonathan Scott says:

    I’m on my second day and I’m up at 5:14 AM with a headache and throbbing back pains. I thank you for posting this. I feel at ease and I pray the third day and fourth day is better. I just took a Tylenol and two Ibuprofen. I hope the pain subsides. If not, I’ve got some prescription pain medication I can take. I’ll get a hold of my bone marrow consultant lady and see if I can take it. I know my lady who is dying from cancer is going through ten times worse treatment than I am. I was notified that once I start this Filgrastim and my body accepts it and I have no allergic reaction, they begin breaking her body down to nothing. She will die if she doesn’t receive my stem cells. This pain will make due knowing that. I also feel comfortable knowing today is hopefully my last day with this effing pain. My lower back throbs, and the base of my head hurts. About fifteen minutes after each injection I notice slight weird feelings in my chest. I remember reading that those were normal. My breathing gets labored a little bit as well, but that’s normal too. Hope this helps. Don’t fret in donating. It saves a life.

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