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Old 04-19-2012, 10:06 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
19,865 posts, read 18,312,135 times
Reputation: 7955

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There was a program on donating bone marrow on TV today and they put it as though it was a simple thing to do, like donating blood.
I know little about it, but they said the donor automatically gets a health and life insurance covering the donation. That doesn't sound very motivating, even if bone marrow can of course help the recipient a lot.

Has anyone donated bone marrow and how does it work? Does it hurt?
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:09 AM
 
29,988 posts, read 35,848,534 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
There was a program on donating bone marrow on TV today and they put it as though it was a simple thing to do, like donating blood.
I know little about it, but they said the donor automatically gets a health and life insurance covering the donation. That doesn't sound very motivating, even if bone marrow can of course help the recipient a lot.

Has anyone donated bone marrow and how does it work? Does it hurt?
I've been on the bone marrow donor registry for at least a decade but have never been called up to be a donor.

More info. here: Be The Match: Hope for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, blood cancer and sickle cell disease
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:14 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
19,865 posts, read 18,312,135 times
Reputation: 7955
Yes, I know it helps fight various types of cancer, no doubt about it. They always focus on the recipient's side for obvious reasons, I am more interested in the donor's side, though, as I was wondering if I should or could do that. Thus I was asking for the opinion of people with experience Like, how is it done, what are the risks, etc.?
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:33 AM
 
29,988 posts, read 35,848,534 times
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My point was the first step is joining the registry, which includes your blood type/marrow screening. Then you wait to be called up. You do not just go in to randomly donate as one does blood.

If you are truly interested you should attempt to join the registry and your eligibility will be determined. If accepted into the registry this does not obligate you to donate if you are called up.

It helps if you actually read the links provided. I'll even take you to the FAQ page:
http://marrow.org/Join/FAQs_about_Joining.aspx
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:48 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
19,865 posts, read 18,312,135 times
Reputation: 7955
I am interested in the donation itself, how it feels, etc.
I prefer the personal opinion of people with experience to the website of an organization trying to convince people to donate bone marrow.

And paying to be included in that registry?!? Are they crazy? They should be grateful for everyone willing to donate bone marrow. Charging donors is ridiculous.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
21,485 posts, read 26,089,700 times
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Removing bone marrow is painful. If only enough for a biopsy is needed, then usually only a local anesthetic is used, because it is a very quick procedure.

For a donation, major anesthesia is used. It can be general anesthesia (you are asleep), a spinal or an epidural. About 75% of people are asleep. The general anesthesia does not have to be deep, and it is short, since even the harvest for a donation does not take long. There is some risk associated with any anesthesia, and you need to be willing to accept that.

The procedure itself involves inserting a large hollow needle into the large wing shaped bone of the hip and using a syringe to withdraw the marrow. A small incision (about 1/4 inch long, no stitch needed) is made to make it easier to get the needle through the skin. Two to four sites may be needed. A donation for a small child would need less marrow than for an adult, for example. You usually go home the same day that you donate, and the soreness from the punctures goes away quickly. You are back to full activity in a few days.

It is possible to donate stem cells, also. These are harvested by withdrawing blood from one arm, sending it through a machine that removes the stem cells, and returning it to the other arm. no anesthesia is needed.

See here:

Join the National Bone Marrow Registry - Volunteer Guide

Donation FAQs

Less than 2% of people who register as donors actually end up donating. Just remember that if you have an uncomon tissue type, you may be able to save the life of someone who has no other potential matches.

The cost of testing is about $100. That is a relatively small donation to make for a good cause. You could even ask someone to sponsor you or give you the money instead of a birthday or other gift.

Actually making a marrow donation will cost you nothing. The recipient pays the donor's costs.

Minority donors are greatly needed.

I commend you for considering placing your name in the registry.

Here are some donor stories:

http://www.oncolink.org/coping/artic...1&ss=76&id=105

Last edited by suzy_q2010; 04-19-2012 at 05:24 PM..
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Alameda, CA
578 posts, read 1,065,747 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
There was a program on donating bone marrow on TV today and they put it as though it was a simple thing to do, like donating blood.
I know little about it, but they said the donor automatically gets a health and life insurance covering the donation. That doesn't sound very motivating, even if bone marrow can of course help the recipient a lot.

Has anyone donated bone marrow and how does it work? Does it hurt?
From Mixed Marrow:

"There are two types of donations that can help patients with blood diseases, Bone Marrow Donation and Peripheral Blood Cell (PBSC) Donation.

Bone Marrow Donation is a painless out-patient surgical procedure where liquid marrow is removed from the donorís pelvic bones with a needle. General or local anesthesia is applied and the only discomfort the donor endures is soreness in the area post surgery. Donors do not lose anything permanently from this procedure, bone marrow replenishes within a few weeks.

PBSC Donation is a nonsurgical procedure where blood is removed from the donorís arm, it is separated in a machine where certain blood-forming cells are taken and the remaining blood is returned through the other arm. Like marrow donation, your cells replenish and normal levels return in weeks of donation."

It says on one of the marrow sites that "PBSC donation is now the most common form of donation."
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:01 PM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
19,865 posts, read 18,312,135 times
Reputation: 7955
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
Removing bone marrow is painful. If only enough for a biopsy is needed, then usually only a local anesthetic is used, because it is a very quick procedure.

For a donation, major anesthesia is used. It can be general anesthesia (you are asleep), a spinal or an epidural. About 75% of people are asleep. The general anesthesia does not have to be deep, and it is short, since even the harvest for a donation does not take long. There is some risk associated with any anesthesia, and you need to be willing to accept that.

The procedure itself involves inserting a large hollow needle into the large wing shaped bone of the hip and using a syringe to withdraw the marrow. A small incision (about 1/4 inch long, no stitch needed) is made to make it easier to get the needle through the skin. Two to four sites may be needed. A donation for a small child would need less marrow than for an adult, for example. You usually go home the same day that you donate, and the soreness from the punctures goes away quickly. You are back to full activity in a few days.

It is possible to donate stem cells, also. These are harvested by withdrawing blood from one arm, sending it through a machine that removes the stem cells, and returning it to the other arm. no anesthesia is needed.

See here:

Join the National Bone Marrow Registry - Volunteer Guide

Donation FAQs

Less than 2% of people who register as donors actually end up donating. Just remember that if you have an uncomon tissue type, you may be able to save the life of someone who has no other potential matches.

The cost of testing is about $100. That is a relatively small donation to make for a good cause. You could even ask someone to sponsor you or give you the money instead of a birthday or other gift.

Actually making a marrow donation will cost you nothing. The recipient pays the donor's costs.

Minority donors are greatly needed.

I commend you for considering placing your name in the registry.

Here are some donor stories:

My Personal Experience as a Bone Marrow Donor - Brian E. Beattie | OncoLink Cancer Resources
Your description alone makes me shudder, I am the type that can't see blood
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:52 PM
 
7,099 posts, read 23,889,158 times
Reputation: 7248
I am not a donor, but I had to have bone marrow withdrawn from my hip to "soak" some cadaver bone for some spinal fusions that I had done. I didn't have any problem except that the hip used was a little sore from time to time for some months. And I don't mean painful.....just a little achy sore. It was easy to ignore.

I have a friend that was a donor for a close relative. She also had the slight ache from time to time for a while. So perhaps, it is just the body healing itself in that spot.

It certainly is a wonderful thing to be able to do if you can match a person in need.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Camberville
11,395 posts, read 15,995,267 times
Reputation: 18034
I cannot be a donor, but I am the person who might be benefiting from your donation someday!

I had a bone marrow biopsy which is a similar procedure, just shorter and awake. I blogged about the experience here: The dreaded bone marrow biopsy. ę The Good Hodgkin's.

The good thing about bone marrow donations are two fold: 1. They are needed less and less as stem cell transplants are getting more sophisticated and commonplace and 2. They put you under so you don't feel it.

For reference, after I got my bone marrow biopsy (where I was not even sedated - just given a Percocet and popped a few Xanax before the procedure) I had a bandaid put over the incision, was told to lay down for 10 minutes to make sure everything clotted up well, then walked out on my own with instructions to take Advil. I at a whole big Mexican meal less than 30 minutes after the procedure - and I'm a wimp. I think I was a little sore for about a week on my hip, but nothing horrible. It just felt like a bruise.

Stem cell collection is a different ballgame. You are given Neulastra shots to boost your red cell production - they're not bad, but can cause achyness. Then you have your blood removed, filtered for the stem cells, and put back in your body. Very cool!

Side effects for either include minimal pain. The reason that you get life and health insurance is as an added incentive - any medical procedures has risks and the goal of the transplant process is to make it as smooth as a procedure as possible, so that is seen as an extra perk.

Leukemias are the big source of bone marrow donations. Lymphoma (which is what I have) typically uses stem cells. In my case, if I relapse, I would first be my own stem cell donor (called an auto SCT) where they remove the stem cells, freeze them, then nuke the crap out of my body with chemo which will destroy my bone marrow. If I was to relapse again after that, I would need donor stem cells to repeat the process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
Your description alone makes me shudder, I am the type that can't see blood
You won't see the blood. I made it very clear that I was not to see ANYTHING - not the needles, equipment, marrow they removed, anything during my bone marrow biopsy. Since it happened, I've been able to watch videos of the procedure on other people, and that's pretty cool. Science!


Minorities, especially Jewish, mixed-race, Native American, and Southern Asian
people, are DESPERATELY needed for donor banks. People are much more likely to find matches within their own ethnic group. Testing only involves a mouth swab.
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