Yearly Check-ups

by Elana Roth Parker in


I got the letter in the mail yesterday from the New York Blood Center telling me it's been 2 years since I donated bone marrow. I used to get a phone call. For the first six months afterward I got the phone call monthly. I guess at a year or two out, they would rather you call them to make sure you're still alive and that the "medical research trial" you were technically agreeing to didn't cause any lasting damage.

But every time I get one of these envelopes from them, I actually think they are going to tell me I matched someone else. I have only donated once (Only? you say) but I'd preliminarily matched 3 other times before the one that went through.

I'm a statistical anomaly. I like to credit my brilliant mixed genetic heritage. (Way to go, Eastern-European Ashkenazic Jewish father for marrying a mixed-breed, former-Protestant mother!)  

Most people on the registry don't ever match anyone. In theory, that means I got my one unlikely match out of the way. But there was a stretch in college where about once a year I got a call or a letter in the mail. So part of me feels that another bone marrow donation will be in my future...at some point.

Also interesting? That 2 year mark of donating my stem cells is also about the two year mark of becoming an agent. A lot has happened since then. 2 years ago I lived in the East Village, thought I was on my way to getting married, and had no idea what living on commission really meant. 

It's weird what a letter showing up in the mail can make you think about.