The first thing that ran through my mind was, “I HOPE it’s not me.”
During the spring break of this year I had traveled out to beautiful Colorado to share the Gospel. The first Sunday that our group was there, there was a group of people standing out in the lobby of the church that we were helping.
They were there because there was a young man in the community that was suffering from a rare type of blood cancer. They were taking swabs to try and find a match for him through a company called Delete Blood Cancer. He was only a teenager. I remember thinking, “Man, that really sucks, I really hope he gets better.”
Sure enough a guy in our group suggested that we all do a swab, just to see if it could be one of us.
The first thing that ran through my mind was, “I HOPE it’s not me.”
This isn’t a story about how courageous and brave I am for donating my stem cells. This isn’t a story about how I made the selfless decision to save a life because I’m this wonderful human being. This is a story of how Christ is SUSTAINER and REDEEMER.
I got a call at the beginning of October from Delete Blood Cancer telling me that I was a potential match for someone.
I was blown away.
Never in a million years did I think I was going to get called. I asked everyone else in our group of they had heard anything and they hadn’t. I was the first.
Over the phone in that moment obviously I had said yes, that I would pursue further testing. But the only thing that was running through my mind was fear.
What if something went wrong with the procedure? What if there was a lot of pain? What if I became sick as well?
Satan was doing everything he could to get me to not do this, and I was starting to nibble at the bait.
I soon had done more testing and was found to be a positive match. Next was my information session, running down all the risks, rewards, and info about the patient. It had been close to an hour into the information session phone call when I had found out that the person I was donating to was a 68 year-old male.
I remember thinking, “Oh, well he’s lived a full life, right? Why does he need this?” In that moment I had determined that he didn’t deserve to be saved. That his life wasn’t worth my time. That because he was old, he was worth less…
I don’t remember much of the phone call after that. I was too busy being slapped around by one question I heard Christ ask me, “Who are you to determine what a life is worth?”
I was wrecked. Christ had shown me so much Grace and I had done a TON of shitty things in my life. How did I know that this guy didn’t deserve a second chance? When did I try to put on the face of Yahweh and play Creator?
I hung up the phone after agreeing to follow through with the procedure. There was a lot of growth during that time after the phone call. Christ had begun the process of teaching me about the sanctity of life and what sacrifice truly meant, and with that lesson there was a lot of pain and tears.
Fast forward to December.
I got to fly out to DC to have my physical done at Georgetown University Hospital. It was wonderful getting to see our Nation’s Capital, admiring all of the works of our forefathers, feeling the air of importance within the atmosphere of the great District. I soon found out more about the process of donation.
It was decided that I would be donating Peripheral Blood Stem Cells as opposed to bone marrow. Bone marrow, being a more invasive procedure, was seen as more risky. The cool thing about donating PBSC is that it was much like donating plasma, in that all they do is filter your blood. They give you a set of injections to increase your lymph and white blood production by about three times. So that’s about 1×10^23 to about 3×10^23. That’s a LOT of cells being produced!
I started injections about 2 weeks after my physical. I had become very excited to be given this opportunity. Christ had changed my heart. I was happy to be helping another person out, to be the ending of their pain. But with that ending of their pain came the taste of the pain they had been feeling.
The injections started to accumulate. By the third injection everything hurt. My back was in agonizing pain, I had massive migraines, I was nauseous, it was hard to walk or stand, I didn’t want to be around people, and I DEFINITELY didn’t have any motivation to do basic, daily tasks. The pain was so excruciating at night that I could not sleep. Up until my donation day I was averaging about 2 hours of sleep a night. I have never been hospitalized in my life, never broken any bones, never been in any kind of major physical suffering apart from my childhood (that’s a different story for another time), so this pain was the worst thing I had ever experienced.
During the donation I got sick, I almost passed out, I lost a lot of blood, I was at the weakest physically I have ever been in my entire life. I felt like garbage. But it was quick, it was seamless, it was miraculous. I was told shortly after that my donation was one of the quickest ones that have happened, and the most agreeable. There wasn’t a single hitch in my donation process.
I still don’t know how to feel about my donation but I do know that the one thing I want to come from all of this is the glorification of Christ. That the only way something this wondrous and flawless could happen is by the Grace of the Living God.
I started making parallels between my donation and the Gospel, I wanted to learn all I could from the experience. Here’s the rundown: There was a lot of junk in my body that was causing an excruciating amount of pain and there was nothing that I could do to fix it. A third party had to come in and take from me what was causing that pain, then all that bad became a testament of good to another’s life.
There’s a lot of bad in me. Sin has always tasted so good in a moment of temptation, and, me being me, I’m very apt to be caught hook, line, and sinker. Through this whole process there was a lot of fear, cowardice, and pride on my end. Christ was the courage, Christ was the bravery, Christ was the humility. Christ gave up his life, his feelings and emotions, his ambitions, his deity for a time, so that we might be more than the things we are naturally. I don’t deserve that, Grace isn’t fair though, so because Christ gave his blood to me, I could live, the cancer of Death was cured, and I could now share that with others. Physically and spiritually.
Blood for blood, I was given a second chance, so that’s why, blood for blood, I had to do the same.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.