Life Just Isn’t Fair

About a month ago, I shared with you about being a possible bone marrow donor. This would be for a 25 year old young lady with a form of leukemia. I named her “Texas” because that is where the office that contacted me is located. I thought she was also located in Texas but it turns out that might not be the case.

When a person submits a blood sample or a swab test, they are able to pull two markers in the initial testing. In rough terms this would be similar to identifying a person’s blood type, only much more complicated because it is closer to trying to match DNA. With these two basic markers, they are able to scan the database of more than 11 million potential donors.

Since I was a match on those first two markers, I was contacted to see if I was still interested in being a potential donor. Of course I was definitely interested and consented to further testing of my blood that they had frozen and stored. This testing would identify additional markers to see if I truly am a match for “Texas.”

I have said a prayer everyday that if I am not a match that “Texas” might still find some kind of treatment that would help her live a longer, healthier life. It’s been tough waiting and wondering if I am a match.

Well, the wait has ended. I was phoned today with an update. Unfortunately, it was not good news. Lisa from the National Marrow Registry phoned this morning.

“Texas” did not make it and passed away.

Lisa may as well have told me a family member passed away. I immediately began crying. It just wasn’t fair! Why did this young lady have to die?!

I sat with that information for a while as I drove to a doctor appointment and as I sat alone getting a treatment. It occurred to me that there might be multiple reasons for my crying. I really needed to sort this out. Was I crying because I was sad this young lady had died? Or, was I crying because I wasn’t given the opportunity to help someone is such a huge way?

To be honest, it was likely a combination of the two.

As an educator, I know I have had an impact on other’s lives but I haven’t been able to see the results with the vast majority of my students. Here, my impact could have been HUGE. How much bigger can it get than to give another a healthier life and more years on earth?! Not only that, I might have had the opportunity to know the positive results by communicating with “Texas,” even if it had been anonymously.

I’m ashamed to say that I felt a little robbed that that opportunity was taken from me by her death. I admit I had this selfish thinking. It’s important for me to know this about myself and to acknowledge it. I’m sure others have had similar feelings at times.

Along with my selfish thoughts does come a great sadness for “Texas” and her family. To lose someone so young really is not fair. I’m sure she had many hopes and dreams that were stripped away from her. I will continue my daily prayers for her family.

I am not certain if I was a match after all. I just know that her health did not allow for us to get to that stage. But, as Lisa pointed out, “Texas” might be saving someone else’s life because of her own. Because the extra testing will result in having more markers to compare with me, it is more likely that I could be a match for someone in the future.

If you are the praying kind, I ask that you lift “Texas” and her family up in your prayers.

And, please, consider registering as a potential donor or consider supporting the cause in some other fashion. Visit Be the Match’s website (http://bethematch.org/Support-the-Cause/) and learn about joining the registry, donating financially or donating cord blood of your soon-to-be-born baby.

RIP "Texas"

RIP “Texas”

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Do You Know Your Purpose?

mission

We all have those moments when we wonder just what our purpose is here on earth. As someone with depression and suicidal thoughts from time to time, the question sometimes gets modified. We begin to wonder if we have outlived our purpose. Is it possible to have outlived your purpose?

In mid-April 2010, I was really pondering this. I had just completed my fourth hospitalization in a psychiatric unit. I was homeless and I just didn’t know what was next in my life. I began to wonder if I had already fulfilled my purpose. After all, I had been an academic advisor for nearly 10 years and touched many, many lives already. Maybe my time was up.

The day after this was really weighing on my mind, I got on my computer and saw a quote on one of my regular websites:

Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.

~Richard Bach

I’m sure this was all part of what would lead to giving up the option of suicide. While it felt like that decision was made in an instant, it is clear that there were other things happening and people entering my life that would lead up to that decision. (Read more about that here.)

A couple of weeks ago, June 13, 2014, I received a potentially life changing phone call that was another confirmation that perhaps I had not outlived my purpose on earth.

Because I did not recognize the number, I did not answer the call but immediately checked the voice mail:

“Criselda Marquez, this is Lisa with the National Marrow Registry. You signed up with us at Odessa College back in 1999 and you have come up as a possible match for a patient. We are doing some testing on the blood we have frozen but I want to ask you some health questions to see if you want to continue.”

HOLY COW!

I couldn’t return the call fast enough! Hell, yes, I want to continue!! My initial thought was that I could not pass up the opportunity to help someone have a better life.

After a little phone tag, I spoke directly with Lisa in Texas. She works for the National Marrow Donor Program, Be The Match. She was calling to inform me that I had been identified as a potential bone marrow match for a 25 year old young lady with leukemia. We spoke for a few minutes as she gave me a little more information, confirmed my contact information and we hung up.

All of the sudden it hit me…

If I had killed myself four years ago, as I so desperately wanted to do, I wouldn’t be around so that this young lady could possibly benefit from my life. This is HUGE! One friend couldn’t have said it better: To be able to do that for someone – one of life’s biggest joys. Kuddos my friend. You are here for a reason. God is not finished with you yet.

I passed the health questionnaire stage. After providing consent for further testing, we sit and wait. It could take 2-6 weeks for the next stage of testing to be completed. This will let us know if I am a true match for “Texas,” as I’ve named her. Even if I am not a match for “Texas,” because they have done the extra testing, I could be called again for someone else.

In reviewing their website, it appears that the age of the donor is pretty important in long term survival of the recipient. “Doctors request donors in the 18-44 age group over 90% of the time.” Guess how old I am…43. {shivers}

If it turns out I am a match, my donation will likely take place here in Indiana…unless I happen to be in Texas at the time. Depending on the donor center, I may be able to have anonymous communication with “Texas” for the first year after the donation. After that time, we would be allowed to reveal ourselves to each other. I truly hope this will be the case if I am a match. While not being able to get updates or have communication would not stop me from donating, I think I would feel like I was left ‘hanging’ by not knowing the outcome.

I will definitely keep you updated with any news.

I encourage you to consider supporting the cause in some fashion. Visit Be the Match’s website (http://bethematch.org/Support-the-Cause/) and learn about joining the registry, donating financially or donating cord blood of your soon-to-be-born baby.

 

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