Thursday, December 11, 2008

Have You Donated Blood Lately?

My husband Mark is the bravest person that I know. Every day that I wake up next to him, I thank God for that unbelievable privilege. I know that may sound a bit extreme, but there was a time when I would cry my self to sleep because I didn't know if he would live to see another day.
Mark has a rare bone marrow disease called aplastic anemia. This basically means that his bone marrow does not make enough red blood cells (which supply your body w/ oxygen), white blood cells (which fight infection), or platelets (which clots your blood). Because you need these vital cells to live, Mark had to receive blood transfusions on a regular basis to stay alive.
Over the last five years, he has been through three different chemotherapy treatments to fight this horrible disease. Because only 2 out of 1,000,000 people have aplastic anemia, it is very hard to find doctors that treat him. For his first 2treatments we went to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Unfortunately, both treatments were unsuccessful.
The third treatment was the most drastic & scary. We found Dr. Robert Brodsky in Baltimore, MD. at Johns Hopkins hospital that specializes in aplastic anemia. I will never forget the our first visit with Dr. Brodsky. He was telling us all about the risks of the treatment & he stated, "There is a 50% chance that you will die from this treatment". I lost it...I remember Mark just holding me as I sobbed saying over and over that he WOULD live through this treatment.
Mark did go through the treatment and today, is in what they call "Partial Remission". This means that his body is making cells, but his blood levels are not all within normal range. To Mark & I this is a success! There was a time when he would need transfusions every day to live & now he can go months without one.
Just last week Mark went from feeling good, to getting out of breath when he took out the recycling bin. We went to the doctor & sure enough, he needed a red blood transfusion. I always get nervous around the holidays because the blood bank can sometimes take days to get blood Mark's blood. During the holidays the demand for blood goes way up, and people aren't donating as much. There is nothing worse than waiting by the phone for the blood bank to call while your husband can't even get off of the sofa because he is so weak.
So, this week I'm going to Florida Georgia Blood Alliance to role up my sleeve. I wanted to tell you our story in hopes that you might do the same :o)
To everyone who donates blood, Mark and I would like to say thank you. You are a hero & are saving many many lives. Thank you from the bottom my heart. Without you & God I wouldn't have my Mark...*THANK YOU * THANK YOU * THANK YOU* :o)


Jessie December 11, 2008 at 11:09 PM  

Oh gosh Erica, that is tragic! Is Mark okay now? You must be a very strong women.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.


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