Great News Today! We Found a Match! (My Fitness Journey – Vertex Fitness Diary 19)
I posted recently about the bone marrow donor registration process. When my older brother was diagnosed with leukemia, his best hope for remission was to receive a bone marrow donation. When no existing donors were available through the national registry, it was hard to keep the worry at bay while I waited to hear the results of my HLA test to see if I or my other brothers and sister would be a match. On Halloween, I got one of the best calls of my life–I MATCHED!
Our younger brother also ended up being a match, and the doctors felt that he was the better candidate for our brother, so I likely won’t be asked to donate at this time. I’m still processing the whirlwind of emotions I’ve felt since the day we were told he needed a donor, but right now I feel primarily grateful. I’m so unbelievably thankful that my prayers and the prayers of literally hundreds of others who care about my brother were answered, and that he has the match he needs to get better. Even though I may not end up making a donation to my brother, I have another reason to be thankful–I got an email yesterday that they are processing my HLA test to add me to the Be The Match registry. I might still get the opportunity to be the answer to someone else’s prayers, who is living through the agony of waiting and hoping that I was living just last week.
Finding out that I could be a donor has made me start thinking about something I’ve never really considered before–how my health affects those I love. When they called to tell me that I matched, they took a comprehensive health history on the phone to make sure that I was medically cleared to donate. For a few minutes, I was terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to donate after all and my brother would be left without a match (we didn’t have my younger brother’s results yet, and we already knew that two siblings did not match.) I was suddenly so, so thankful that I had never started smoking, and that I had been performing a strength training regimen that was helping me stay in good health. Many friends and family had reached out to tell me that they had tried to sign up to be donors, but were ineligible to donate because of health reasons, and I could feel their sadness and frustration.
We tend to think of taking care of our health as an act of “self-care”, and it is. But we don’t always think about the people that are counting on us everyday, and how we need to take care of ourselves so that we can take better care of them. I’m thankful that I got serious about my health as I’m nearing my thirties, and not needing to deal with decades of neglect down the road. There are a lot of barriers to health care for some people, and that was certainly the case for me when I was in college–I’ve got the dental bills to prove it. But it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself, and to start reaping the benefits of a healthier, fitter you.
Talk to a trainer at Vertex Fitness if you want to learn whether a fitness regimen is right for you, like I did. I’m so glad I did.