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More Recipient Stories
Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia SUCCESS STORY!
After a trip to Las Vegas, I was feeling nauseous and lethargic. The next day, I went to my favorite workout class and found I could barely perform the warm-up. My legs felt like I had just run a hard race, and I knew something was not right.
I drove to the urgent care, and after a blood test, I was told I had jaundice and needed to go to the hospital. What I thought was a bad hangover turned into something way more serious. My mother drove me to the hospital, where the doctors told me my hemoglobin levels were so low I shouldn't be walking- 4.9g. They immediately told me I needed a transfusion to get my red blood count up, but they didn't know why it was so low. A whirlwind first night showed my antibodies were attacking my red blood cells, making me weak and dizzy.
I was diagnosed with idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), a blood disorder with no direct known cause. It sometimes appears in people with other health issues like lupus, but I did not have any underlying illnesses. Over the course of two weeks, I received 14 units of donated blood from the Red Cross, and with the help of some very powerful steroids and the immunosuppressant drug Rituxan, I made a full recovery. My antibodies made matching the blood donations difficult, but the Red Cross did have matches!
As a prior blood donor, I knew the importance of donating, but now I have a life-changing perspective and appreciation for the Red Cross and its mission. Thank you to each donor that helped save my life, for without your blood, I could not have survived.
I am a Zebra....
To quote the Primary Immune Deficiency Foundation website, “There is an old saying. In medical school, many doctors learn the saying, “when you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras” and they are taught to focus on the likeliest possibilities when making a diagnosis, not the unusual ones. However, sometimes physicians need to look for a zebra.”
I am a 48 year old zebra. For most of my adult life I suffered with chronic bladder, throat and respritory infections because I do not make normal amounts of Immunoglobulin G (IgG). Some studies show that 1 person in 50,000 people have my same diagnosis. After seeing over 30 specialists, over 15 years I finally received the diagnosis of Hypogammaglobulinemia. For the last 3 years I have received immunoglobulin replacement therapy twice a week. This is a sub q immunoglobulin therapy which I infuse into my legs under the skin twice a week. The body does not store Immunoglobulin replacement so I will need this therapy for the REST of MY LIFE to avoid infections and it takes blood from 1000 DONORS for one treatment! I work full-time and as a 2nd job I teach art and paint murals. I have a normal full life and most people do not know I am sick because of blood donors!
THANK YOU Red Cross for your blood drives because of YOUR WORK I can live!
(If you would like a video of my infusion therapy please let me know I will be happy to send one."
Transfusion gives mom of 4 new life in the delivery room
About 5 years ago, I learned I was pregnant with my fourth child. My previous pregnancies had been uneventful, but this one would prove very different. In my 2nd trimester, my doctor told me I had placenta previa. He soon put me on bed rest because of the danger of hemorrhaging. In fact, previa patients are at such risk that some units of blood were reserved at the hospital for me, just in case. Little did I know how much I would need them. In the wee hours of a snowy February night, I began to hemorrhage at 35 weeks. I was rushed into surgery for an emergency C-section. But after the delivery, while still in the operating room, I continued to bleed, eventually requiring a second surgery and 8 units of blood to keep me alive (I've been told the human body holds about 10 units). Fortunately, my hospital's blood bank had enough available. That blood, and the generous donors who gave it, helped save my life. It was a gift not only to me, but also to my husband, our three boys, and the little girl who was born that night.
Thank you to all blood donors!
My 68 year old mother is currently in ICU. She received a small blood transfusion today for a hemoglobin deficiency. When they brought the bag in, it hit me that that is someone's blood. They gave that so that someone who needed it could be healthy. It really moved me and now I'm going to try and get to a local blood drive today and donate, along with my sister and niece!
a reflection filled with gratitude.
As I lay on the table in interventional radiology, I had to remind myself that I had already delivered a healthy baby boy, Theo. Although partially sedated, I knew I was thirsty and my body was tired, but I wasn't sure what was taking place during this procedure. I just remember looking up at the lights thinking this must be a dream. No, it's not- this is really happening. As my thoughts continued to drift during the three hour procedure, I found myself looking over and seeing a friendly looking man in an apron coming back in the room- who is that person? Why was he back? What is that he is carrying? Why are they reading aloud my stats? Wait a minute. He's from the blood bank- how much blood am I getting? What is really going on?
Fast forward a few hours and I'm in the ICU. Everything was going well. Interventional radiology was a success. I was stable, but they were still monitoring me very closely.
All of a sudden a swarm of nurses and physicians are in my room, they are very calmly and deftly telling me about my situation and next steps. As they comb my body for additional veins, I see tables being set up outside my room with igloo containers of blood. At this point, I realize how grave my situation is and again, reminding myself this is really happening.
When my husband and I arrived at UCSF on October 7 to deliver my second child, I never imagined the series of events that would transpire. My pregnancy was totally normal and I had very few side effects. As we drove in that morning, I was really hoping to be home in three days as I have a toddler at home and I didn't want to be away from him for too long.
As I awoke from my emergency c-section, I met my beautiful son as the doctor shared that we may need to do a hysterectomy due to bleeding. They were going to do all they could to prevent that from happening, but I was experiencing atony, or continuous bleeding postpartum.
I really wasn't expecting this to happen. What was atony? I hadn't heard of that before. And then they requested approval for a blood transfusion. I had donated a few times myself, but really had not envisioned myself as a recipient- and again, now?
In the spam of twelve hours, I welcomed a beautiful baby boy to the world and received 30 bags of blood- 26 bags of blood and four bags of platelets. I was cared for by an exceptional team of nurses and physicians and am so grateful to all of the blood donors who aided in my recovery. Without their generosity, I wouldn't be here today to celebrate all of the amazing moments with my children, husband, family and friends. Life is so precious and the gift of blood that I received saved my life. Words cannot fully express my gratitude, but please know how grateful I am to all of the blood and platelet donors who selflessly donate to help others.
This weekend, we celebrate Theo's four month birthday and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about my experience, and the gratitude I have for each moment.
Now as I look back at myself on the table in interventional radiology, I remember every single thing that happened that day- all the people who helped me, and I smile. I made it and I am so lucky.
(I've attached a photo of my family: husband, Tim, Henry (2.5), Theo (six weeks).
My first born was given the gift of life.
My story is not only my own, but that of my almost 25 year old son. He was born 27 weeks premature in Buffalo, NY. Blood transfusions were his gift of life. Transfused many times during his 8 plus week stay after birth. They were only small amounts of blood, but it was what his tiny body required. At the time not thinking about were the blood came from or whom was giving his body this gift. Now looking back I am thankful both for the gift of time and the gift of blood. Thank you as my healthy son turns 25 and is a wonderful young man that was given the gift of blood and the gift of life.
Labor and Delivery Trouble
I was 21 years old and happy to be at the hospital waiting son arrival. My pregnancy was so horrible. As soon as I got to my second trimester, I had all kinds of problems. I told my doctor something was wrong, but he kept telling me everything was fine. I spent the last 6 months of my pregnancy throwing up. It got to the point that I was scared for my son's life because I couldn't hold anything down for more that a couple of minutes. I coughed so hard, I gagged myself. My eyes were blood red from busted blood vessels. With all that, my doctor still told me everything was fine. Now to the day my son was born... I was in labor for 20 and 40 minutes and had begged and begged for the doctor to do a C-section, he refused. My son went into distress and they lost his heartbeat. The wheeled me off to do and emergency C-section (dropping me on the way). Landon was born at 6:40 am. He was perfect. I on the other hand had difficulties. I had pre-eclampsia which turned into eclampsia as well as HELLP syndrome. I was bleeding internally and the doctors couldn't figure out why. They thought they stopped it, but they didn't. As soon as the nurse handed me my son for the first time (several hours after he was born) I felt a seizure coming on. I buzzed for the nurse and asked for someone to come get my baby because I was about to have a seizure. A nurse came running in and scooped my son out of my arms just in time. I had 3 Gran Mail seizures back to back to back. I flat lined several times. After several tries the doctors revived me, gave me 7 units of blood, plus several other fluids. My family said I looked like I was 300 pounds (100 pounds normally.. 138 right before my son was born). I was so swollen that my family didn't recognize me. After a week in a week in a coma, I was almost back to my normal self. I was able to see and hold my son for the first real time. If it wasn't for blood donors and the power of prayer I wouldn't be here to be a great mother for my son. I want to thank the Red Cross as well as everyone who has donated. Because of y'all my son has a mother. I can no longer have any more kids, but I love my son so much and he is plenty for me. I'm just glad I'm able to see him grow into a little man. Thank You Red Cross.
Blood for our Bailey
Our daughter Bailey was 6 months old when she began showing signs of fatigue and pale color. Following a trip to the pediatrician, emergency trip to the hospital, and ambulance ride then to another hospital, we learned that she was severely anemic. She spent 3 days in the hospital, received 4 blood transfusions, and left with a diagnosis of Diamond-Blackfan Anemia. DBA is a type of bone marrow failure syndrome where the body does not make it's own red blood cells. The next 9 months, she received blood transfusions of packed red blood cells every 3-4 weeks to keep her alive. She takes chronic steroids now to stimulate her bone marrow to make it's own red blood cells, but requires blood transfusions if and when her steroid treatment is not working. Bailey is a spunky, sweet, and energized 5 year old now! She would not be here without blood donors! We are forever grateful for those who donate blood!!! Thank you!
I received the gift of life
When I was born my parents had the RH factor problem and I was rejecting my own blood. If it were not for the nurse who donated blood to me I'm not sure if I would be here now. Today there is a much stricter process for donating blood, which is a very good thing. Back then I was simply lucky that she was able to be a direct donor.
Donor becomes Recipient
I started donating blood when I was a senior in high school in 1989. I try to donate at least twice a year and with the exception of the years I was pregnant (1998 & 2001) I have tried to donate as regularly as I can. In 2009 I had a simple outpatient procedure at which time a blood vessel was accidentally nicked. I bled for four days before returning to the ER where I was given seven-eight units of blood to replace the blood I was losing. It made me feel great that my donating had come full circle and that I didn't feel guilty for now being a blood recipient; just overwhelmingly grateful! I was back home a few days later and I am very healthy and able to be a mom to my kids thanks to the generous and life-saving donors whose blood I received. God bless all donors! You never know when you may be a recipient!