Bo has definitely been experiencing more nausea, vomiting, pain, and discomfort over the last 48 hours. It is hard for us as parents since he can’t tell us exactly what he is feeling, but we know our boy and can tell he is not himself. We have stepped up the frequency and intensity of his anti-nausea and pain meds to keep him comfortable and also to help him keep down the nutrition he is receiving through his feeding tube.
During a bone marrow transplant, the patient’s marrow is severely weakened through chemotherapy so that the donor’s new marrow will engraft and ultimately replace the patient’s marrow and begin producing healthy blood again. Blood and platelet transfusions are an important part of the transplant process during this window when the patient’s marrow is weakened and the donor’s cells have not fully engrafted. Our care team monitors all of Bo’s blood levels with a full blood panel drawn every morning at 4:00 am.
Bo has needed a daily transfusion of platelets the last five days. Platelets are tiny blood cells that help our body form clots and stop bleeding. Despite daily infusions, Bo’s platelet counts have remained low. Please pray that his platelet levels will stabilize so that he won’t continue to need daily transfusions. Yesterday his platelets were at 6 in the morning, jumped to 41 after his transfusion, but were back at 7 this morning. Our team isn’t too concerned as this is normal for transplant patients, but want to see his platelets stable above 20. Prayers for engraftment to happen soon are needed so that his body can begin producing the platelets he needs.
These blood products are available to transplant patients and others thanks to generous blood, plasma, and platelet donors, but these products have a limited shelf life and great demand. There was one day when we had to wait several hours on a transfusion for Bo because platelets matched to his blood type were not immediately available in the blood bank here at our hospital.
Many of you have asked us how you can help in this season. A great way to support Bo and patients like him is to donate blood or platelets at a local blood drive or donation center near you. You aren’t able to direct your donation to a specific patient, but ensuring that your local blood bank has enough products available for all the patients who need them is a great way to give of yourself and serve your community.
Every 2 seconds someone in the US needs blood and a single donation can potentially save up to 3 lives.Would you consider donating blood or platelets this month in honor of Bo?
I have donated both blood and platelets, and am happy to share my own experiences or answer any questions you may have about the process. We often think of giving and serving through our time, energy, or finances, but blood donation is a unique opportunity to help others by literally giving a part of yourself.