April 15, 2013

I'm No Hero

I'm No Hero
I've been called many things in my day, not all of them good.  OK, very few of them have been good, but that is just the nature of the beast.  People are slow to call you good things and pretty darned quick to call you bad things.

At the end of the last week I got called a hero for donating my bone marrow at the end of 2011.  Of course this adulation comes from the recipient, which totally makes sense.

Oh yeah....maybe I should have mentioned I'm officially in touch with my bone marrow recipient.  So, that's now a thing, a thing I'm not really handling yet.  Once we did the exchange of information through the National Marrow Donor Program I befriended her on Facebook and I've gotten a couple of emails.....

....and I haven't responded.  Yes, this last week has been busy with a big school project due/overdue, but I've also been at a loss as to what to say.  On a base level I'm very glad that she's doing well....that is very awesome.  On another level I'm a bit uncomfortable being thought of as someone's personal hero.  On here end what I did was fricken huge, but that is more just her being lucky winning the genetic lottery where the prize was a life free of cancer.  Well, hopefully that was the prize and she just didn't get some (relatively) lame runner's up prize of a limited remission.

I'm not upset.....bothered maybe....that the idea of my donation....on this side of the equation anyway, is a big deal.  This came up for me time and time again during the donation process.  I was asked way too many times if I was "still up for it" with regards to donating.  Early on in the process I understand, but after a certain point it really bothered me.  At a specific point in the process the recipient has all their own white blood cells killed off and if they don't get the bone marrow they are going to die.  Giving the donor the opportunity to back out as late as right before surgery is so wrong and just a symptom of why this bugs me on such a fundamental level.

Seriously though, have you joined the registry?
I am cognizant of the fact I was brought up a certain way and that (obviously) a lot of other people weren't.  I'm not saying this way is necessarily healthy either, but it is what it is.  I was raised with the firm belief or understanding that when someone asks you for help the answer should be "yes".  The only time "no" is acceptable is when you cannot do so for a good reason.

When the NMDP calls and says, "someone needs your help" the answer is yes, especially since I
opted into the program so many years ago. The fact that I would experience some pain, some discomfort, and several really crappy nights of sleep really isn't a factor when you consider my "help" was presented as a matter of life or death for someone in need.

Believe me, you do not want to see what goes on up there.
It really was a no-brainer for me and I'd like to think it should be a no-brainer for everyone....but obviously it isn't.  That kind of makes me sad and I think of this when I'm being praised....even when it totally makes sense to the person doing the praising.

Of course maybe I'm just too in my head at the moment and I simply don't take praise well.  I've done heroic things before, I just don't think this is one of those times.

Now, if you told me my bone marrow recipient was just trying to build a relationship with me in case she needs another donation in the future......I'd think you were wrong, but I'd totally applaud her forward thinking.  That would be worth a butt-load of brownie points in my book....

.....which would be worthless 'cause all she'd need to do is ask.


Topher Kersting said...

You're wrong. Too many people, when given the choice between doing the right, but inconvenient, thing and ignoring someone in need will choose the latter. Someone needed your help and you were willing to give it, even though it took time and caused some physical pain. It doesn't make you a superhero, but it is heroism.

Christopher Stogdill said...

No, I'm right...and that is the problem....well right about people not doing the right thing.