Well, it’s been almost two weeks since the donation, so I thought I’d give a little update on how I’ve been recovering. My mom made me a couple smaller pillows that fit perfectly behind my back in chairs to give me some support, and those have been a life-saver in the past couple of weeks. When we got home on Tuesday afternoon we got me settled into a big over-sized chair with an ottoman in my living room with one of those pillows behind my back. Pretty soon after we got home my good friend and coworker came over with a card, flowers and a little gift from all my coworkers. I also have flowers from Cole waiting for me when I got home. What can I say? I’m a pretty lucky girl! That night Mom and Cole watched and I “watched” (aka slept through 95%) of a movie. The hardest part of that night was walking up the stairs. My bedroom is upstairs and although my brother would’ve let me stay in his room, I really wanted to sleep in my own bed. So Cole helped me walk up the stairs, which took over five minutes. It took a few days before I was able to walk upstairs by myself. The first night was pretty rough because I was trying to lay flat on my back, which was causing a lot of pressure and pain. I tried sleeping on my stomach, but that was just as bad. My bed is low to the ground, so when I needed to get up and go to the bathroom Cole had to get up and help me get out of bed. I finally gave up on sleep about 6:30 in the morning and made Cole get up and help me walk downstairs. Poor guy. He really did so much for me and didn’t complain at all about anything. It was much more comfortable to sit in the chair, so I was able to sleep some downstairs. We also set up a bunch of pillows in my bed so I was able to sleep in a more sitting up position, and I had to sleep like that for about 10 days before it was comfortable to sleep on my back again.
That day Janis came over to check on me and brought me a heating pad and ice/heat pack which has helped so much, and she also got me a new set of sheets which are so soft and comfy. One of my neighbors also stopped by and was talking to my mom while she was outside and after my mom told her that I had just donated bone marrow she went out and got me a huge bouquet of flowers. I have been so overwhelmed with all the love and support that everyone has given me throughout this whole process. I didn’t donate bone marrow for the recognition, attention or gifts, but I appreciate everything that everyone has done for me.
I basically spent the rest of the week and weekend relaxing and napping in the chair with intermittent adventures outside, walking around my house and “supervising” the projects my parents, brother, and Cole were doing in the yard. We also went out for Cole’s brother’s girlfriend’s birthday (say that five times fast). We went to dinner, and by the time we were leaving my back was killing me from sitting straight up and down in a booth for about an hour and half, but when we went back to their apartment I was able to kind of sit back on their couch and I was fine, but I was exhausted by the end of the night. Nothing too bad, but I definitely wasn’t back to my normal self. I was always tired because when they harvest bone marrow it makes you anemic until your body replaces the marrow that was removed. I was really tired for the first week, which made my first couple of days back at work difficult, but I feel more energetic with every day that goes by. I was also walking really slow after the surgery. Like grandma slow. That has gradually gotten better, but I still walk slow compared to before the harvest. I took one of the little pillows my mom made me to work to put behind my back in my chair, but by the end of everyday my back was still pretty sore. Hopefully that will continue to improve everyday too. This weekend I was feeling good enough to go out with some friends Friday night, and then Cole and I went to a local art and music festival on Saturday, which was a lot of walking. By the time we were ready to go home, my back was hurting pretty bad but I we went home and I took an ibuprofen and sat down for a little while and I was feeling much better by that afternoon.
So, two weeks after surgery I’m still not 100%,, but I’d say I’m probably 70-75% back to normal. I’m still a little more fatigued than usual and my back is still pretty sore at the end of the day, but it hasn’t been a major inconvenience. I can do pretty much everything I want to do, I’m just a little slower and I don’t stay out quite as late. Next week I’m going to go back to the gym and walk on the treadmill and slowly work myself back up to my normal gym routine. I’m sure in the next week I will start feeling even better, and I know I will be 100% recovered in no time! A lot of people have asked me if I would donate again, and my answer is 100% yes! Any side effects that I’ve had from the harvest, which have been minor anyway, are far outweighed by the fact that by doing this I have *hopefully* saved someone’s life. And in the very least, if his body does not accept my marrow, I’ve at least given him a few extra months with his family. I know several people have told me that they’ve decided to sign up for the registry after hearing about me donating bone marrow, which I think is awesome. I’d love it if all of my friends signed up! The more people that are on the registry, the more patients they are able to help. You might never go on to donate, but you might end up being a patient’s only match and their only chance at survival. Donating bone marrow is the easiest way to save someone life, and it’s something that pretty much everyone can do. Click here to sign up and they’ll send you a cheek swab kit!