Monday, November 5, 2012

Underrated Bodily Fluids

This year Halloween came a little late to the Caro household - specifically me.  With my last two chemo treatments both scheduled throughout the month and my body rapidly losing strength, October was less than kind.  In fact, it was downright brutal. And last week during my post chemo labs it was clear I was going to need a little boost to get through this last round of treatment.  After attempting to rehydrate me with two liters of saline and some steroids, the decision was made to order two units of blood. 

Blood.

 Even though I've given blood products to countless patients and never thought twice, something about needing a transfusion myself seemed a. extreme and b. ooky.  But the simple truth was I was losing ground.  I was lethargic to the point of not being able to drink a cup of soup without needing to sleep for hours and I was short of breathe just walking up the few stairs to our bedroom.  My heart rate raced above 120 with simple activity.  It had to be done.
Hey Baby - What's your type?  (A Positive)
The effects weren't immediate - but within 24 hours I could feel my energy returning and I wasn't struggling to breathe any longer. Over the weekend I had the energy to play with my kids, get caught up with laundry, read a book and even write a little - oh and did I mention I can breathe again?  It's kind of a big deal. 

(My blood levels were low because chemotherapy kills rapidly dividing cells - of which blood is one.  However, red blood cells take about three months to regenerate so we were killing them off faster than they could bounce back.  They would eventually come back on their own, but I was too symptomatic to sit back and wait for that to happen.  Not everyone who receives chemotherapy needs blood.  But in my case it was definitely needed.)

I wasn't a trauma victim.  This blood didn't save my life.  But it did speed my recovery through this.  Made my life easier and allowed me to breathe easier in every sense of the word.  And for that I am ever so very grateful. So thank you, thank you to all of you out there who donate blood.  Please know that it makes a difference.  Sometimes in ways you could have never expected.

And if it's been a while since you last donated - get out here and do it.  Tell them I sent you (and ask for an extra cookie - you deserve it!)