Monday, November 3, 2008
Ironing things out
Long story short: In about a week I'm donating my bone marrow to a stranger. All I know about the lady is that she's 59 years old and has leukemia. A bone marrow transplant is her last hope.
For obvious reasons, the bone marrow donor (i.e. me) needs to be extra healthy. And so I had a day-long physical at City of Hope cancer center to make sure I'm a good match for this woman.
Four chest X-rays, a dozen vials of blood, a long meeting with a transplant coordinator, two health surveys, two meetings with surgeons and one cup of pee later, I was officially declared healthy. All my levels of everything are precisely where they should be. Yay!
Here's the thing, though. After the surgeons extract the bone marrow, my hemoglobin will drop dramatically. So much so that I'll probably need a blood transfusion. (That's why I've been donating pints of blood the past couple weeks for my own transfusion. Weird, huh?)
And even though my iron levels are really good right now, I need to have even more iron than usual before going into the surgery.
So what does this have to do with the beets in the picture?
Plenty. Beets are super high in iron. So are dark, leafy greens. Combine the two, and now you understand why I've been eating beet salads every day for the past week.
I've also been integrating other great sources of iron into my diet: Lentils, tofu, blackstrap molasses and lots and lots of beans.
Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well for the transplant next week! I've never had a surgery before, so I'm nervous -- but I'm even more concerned about the lady who is receiving the marrow. I really hope my donation will help her get better.