After being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in early 2012, it was determined that a course of chemotherapy leading up to an analogous stem cell transplant was the best treatment at the time. Chemo would be used to combat myeloma so that my stem cells could be "harvested" and later injected back into my blood.
I quickly found out that being both a donor and recipient was quite simple. Donating stem cells is basically the same as donating blood, it just takes longer (about 4 to 6 hours) as blood goes through a centrifuge machine. Receiving stem cells is done through an IV bag and takes about 45 minutes.
While chemo was challenging to cope with-fatigue, hair loss, etc..- it was a necessary part of my treatment. The stem cell procedures were painless and quite literally saved my life. I was in remission for 2 years and in that time new treatment options became available as well as the possibility of repeating the same process a second time.
The work done by Canadian Blood Services is incredibly important, not just in treatments but in research that advances the myriad of possible applications of stem cells.
I am living proof.