I need a bone marrow transplant but I feel really lousy about asking my family to get tested. I've heard it is a painful procedure for donors and feel really guilty. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Many patients feel the same anxiety you have about asking family members to be tested as potential donors.
While there can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful side effects from donating stem cells, these symptoms do not last long. Most donors feel fully recovered within a few days to a week's time.
If your family member is a match, they will be evaluated by a physician to ensure that it is safe for them to donate and they will be counseled about potential side effects.
There are studies that have looked at how sibling donors feel going through the transplant. A majority of the sibling donors reported that they had positive changes in their personal life with closer relationships to their siblings and their other family members, they had a sense of pride in being able to donate, and really felt happy about being able to help their sibling.
Keep in mind, too, that this cancer is not a diagnosis that you carry alone -- it is something that affects all those close to you. And those close to you often want to help and may not know how or what they can do.
In my own experience with many transplant patients and families, I have found that family members are more than willing and happy to have the opportunity to help in any way that they can.
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