Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday update

I waited three hours for my platelets today. My pre-transfusion count was actually a little better, meaning I might be holding on to them better or maybe making some of my own. On Monday I was as low as 2, (thousand), Wednesday I was 6 and today I was 12. Woo hoo! Obviously far from normal, but up is good.

While I waited in the clinic for my platelets to show up, Diane was among the good samaritans over at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center donating platelets. Not all the platelet donors are giving directly to someone as Diane is to me. One woman was celebrating her 100th donation and was presented with a cake, which the others shared. Diane said it was a little tricky to eat, because the arm that is attached to the machine is immovable.

Diane got a travel mug today marking her 10th donation (she's been going every week). For her fifth donation she had received a pack of cards.

She says she can see why people become committed to donating. There's a sense of comaraderie, a satisfaction in doing something that really helps other people. Sometimes when the regular infusion room is full, I get my transfusion in the Kraft Center. The donors sit on one side of the room, the "receivers" on the other. They always seem to be having such a good time on the other side, laughing and chatting with the nurses. Of course the nurses laugh and chat with the patients too, but it's a different feeling.

An elderly relative wondered if when Diane donates, the two of us lie on a bed together and the platelets pass by tubing from her to me. It felt like an odd question, but on second thought, why expect anyone to know the process?

There is one needle in the donor to which three tubes are attached. One takes the blood out and a machine extracts the platelets from it. The other is giving the blood back. The other contains an anticoagulant. The platelets are bagged and held for about three days while they are checked for impurities. Then the recipient receives them though an IV drip.

The platelets build back quickly, so it doesn't harm the donor at all.

Today I wished we could just be connected by that magical tube. Finally, though, my platelets did appear. They pre-medicate me with Benadryl to keep me from breaking out in hives, which has happened many times. When I got back to Diane's, I konked out.

Follow-up to white blood count obsession mentioned in previous post: I got a shot of Neupogen Monday, pushing my WBC to 8 (high normal) on Wednesday. I loved looking at that number. Today it was back down to 3.5, which is OK too. Also I got my last chimerism results. I'm 100 percent donor!
Someone asked this question in the comments, so I'm adding the answer here. To find a place to donate platelets, contact the Red Cross or your local hospital.


Nancy in Texas said...

Good news! We'll continue to keep you in our prayers.

Cat said...

Glad to read your platelet levels were higher today. "Up and to the right" is always good when tracking numbers, right?

Is there something special someone needs to do to donate platelets? I donate blood, but I'm happy to do platelets too. I just don't understand much about the process. Or is it just a very refined form of blood donation?

Any info you've got would be great. I'm so happy to hear you're doing better.

Susan said...

Awww, 100% donor! Isn't that just great!

Susan C said...

That's a funny image of direct transmission of platelets from person to person. As if you don't feel connected enough with your sister already, that would really seal the deal.

Hurrah for rising WBC and 100% donor.

Terri said...

Wow, first I'm thrilled to hear the good news. Also, thanks for sharing the first person account of your experience with the donors. Makes me want to be a regular too!

Nelle said...

Congratulations! 100% donor is fabulous. Sounds like things are going good right now. So happy for you. I found most people do not understand anything about blood components or transfusions. Even had one person ask me if he gave blood to my son if he might develop leukemia. (hard to keep a straight face answering that one!)
Keep on keeping on!

PJ said...

Looks like things are going in the right direction. Chimerism is excellent--gold star for you!

Ann said...

Congrats on being 100% donor! Now relax and get as much sleep as you possibly can while your body gets busy making cells.

donna said...

I was sooooooo happy to read that last line. 100% donor and all counts coming up, YAY! Happy Passover and Easter! See you soon!

Howard said...

100% donor is beautiful news. I let out a whoop when read it. Good thing I'm alone in the house this afternoon....

Good, good, good.


Ronni Gordon said...

Cat: It takes about two hours, longer than giving blood, but other than the time commitment I don't think there's anything else that different. The place where you donate blood could probably tell you where to donate platelets. Or ask the Red Cross or your local hospital.