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Jan 21st
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Home Our Missions Bone Marrow Donation Though I Lost You, I Could Save Another You

Though I Lost You, I Could Save Another You

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My affinity with Tzu Chi is quite special, because I am a bone marrow donor, and also a family member to a bone marrow receiver. The receiver, is my son Cub. Cub was diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when he was four. His doctor encouraged us to receive treatment aggressively for three years that Cub’s recovery rate was pretty high. During the treatment, Cub needed to get numerous injections and got side-effects of the chemotherapy. Cub painfully asked, “Why me?”

When his three-year treatment was about to end, Cub’s disease recurred, and he needed to take more and stronger medicine for another course of treatment. That was a strong blow to our family, and we could do nothing but to cope with the treatment. At that time, a child in next ward went through the chemo therapy and yet passed away.

We were so worried and decided to take alternative therapy. The alternative therapy lasted for one year, but Cub’s cancer cells spread at high speed. Cub was in so much pain that he couldn’t help hysterically hit his chest and knocked his head against the wall. We decided to come back to the hospital again and then the hospital became his second home.

One time, Cub’s leg was bitten by a mosquito and the wound became cellulitis. In order to cure Cub’s damaged bone and abscess, the doctor had to carry on debridement surgery. The surgery took 8 to 9 hours.

Have you ever waited outside the operation room and overwhelmed by fear? I have, several times. Now, I still cried whenever I recalled the memory.

When Cub woke up after the surgery, the pain took over and he said to us, “I don’t want my leg. Let the doctor take it.” I was so hopelessly depressed, and I kept thinking why my lovely son had to go through all these?

Being through one to two months, Cub’s infection index was higher than before. Moreover, Cub was infected with mold in his lungs and antibiotics didn’t work for him. Cub’s infected lung needed to resect partly. Again and again, I couldn’t stand more upcoming bad news. I had to hide in the bathroom to cry out loud.

Decided to Do Bone Marrow Transplant One Day the doctor told us that chemotherapy no longer worked for Cub. The doctor gave us two options, one was hospice care, and the other one was bone marrow transplant. The doctor told us clearly that bone marrow transplant was at low successful rate with many side effects. The doctor asked us to make final decision very carefully. It was hard to make such a decision for my son who’s nine years old! My boy, however, decided bravely to take a chance. We were so lucky to have a matched donor via Tzu Chi. We were so much grateful that the donor gave my son another chance to live.

Before the transplant, Cub had to take annihilation therapy. Cub developed a mouth sore badly and couldn’t swallow anything. The destruction of Cub’s platelets made his body very hard to aggregate blood. When Cub was transfused blood, they had to put a pan to collect blood running out from his nose. Cub was too pale that he could only stay in bed all day.

My heart was up and down until the day of his transplant surgery. When I watched my boy receiving stem cells, drop by drop, I hoped for the best. However, Cub’s health condition was too weak. About twenty days later, Cub passed away.

Give Someone a Chance to Reborn After Cub passed away, one day I accidentally knew there was a blood drive by Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center, so I decided to go register for donation. Three years later, Tzu Chi volunteer informed me that I was matched. I was so happy and promised that I would go and donate my marrow because someone was striving to live, just like my dear son Cub. I was injected G-CSF (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) and started to feel bone sore. I couldn’t sleep and even became nausea. I felt that stem cells in my body were growing to help. Good things do not come without toil. On the day of my donation, I was changed by two doctors to collect my bone marrow with nine shots. During the process of peripheral blood collection, I felt tingling. Then I recalled my son’s donor. I realized that how great it would be to help another person to gain his/her life.

Two weeks later, I received a letter from my marrow receiver. He was a thirteen-year-old boy with AML, just like my son Cub. I couldn’t help but to burst into tears. I believed it was my Cub to ask me and let him reborn by giving this thirteen-year-old boy precious marrow! I am so delighted to donate stem cells because I feel I have gained another son. I believe, it’s a blessing to be needed, to have a chance to give. Now, I am so happy.

Excerpts from the 2013 new book of Buddhist Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center, published by Rhythms Monthly
By Stem cells donor Meilin
Translated by: Chiang Ching-Yi

 

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