Whew. It's taken me a while to catch my breath after the donation. Physically, it was over when it was over and all I had was a big bruise on my arm. But the emotional bruise was bigger; as expected, I felt adrift. But I was secretly sure that expecting the feeling would fortify me against it. Not so. Suddenly there was nothing to do but... nothing, no more anticipation, no needles to stick myself with, just waiting to find out what would happen. And the possibility that, worst case, nothing would—a month would pass, and another and another, and "my patient" wouldn't be ready for the transplant.
But last week I got my monthly check-up phone call from the blood center, along with some very good news: "the product was infused" last Wednesday. Whew! Suddenly the whole adventure seemed scarier than even a really, really big needle: she jumped off the cliff, no turning back. And part of me jumped with her. I was taken back to the surreal feeling of that very first phone call: how is it possible that my cells can rebuild the immune system of a stranger? And how in the world can part of me be inside someone I don't even know? But it is. My friends keep reminding me that they're prime, healthy cells, and so have a excellent chance of fulfilling their purpose. I can only hope and pray, and try not to let good or bad fantasies of what might happen get in the way of living with the kind of patience and strength I imagine my recipient must have learned over the course of her illness, and the waiting for last Wednesday.