Have you ever seen the TV ads about giving blood and wondered why they mention people on chemotherapy? Well, now I know. First time around I had problems with my immune system but my red blood counts remained perfectly normal. This time? It’s been a very different story.
So far, I’ve had six lots of chemotherapy, with two more to go. And every time I’ve had to have a transfusion of platelets to “keep you safe”, in the words of my oncologist. Without enough platelets, blood doesn’t clot so you don’t stop bleeding.
For me this means I bruise ridicuously easily, have nose bleeds that take up to an hour to stop just because I sneezed, and might not make it to the hospital if I’m ever involved in an accident.
I’ve also had two full blood transfusions because I was so anaemic I couldn’t walk up a short flight of stairs without being breathless. The first time this happened I thought OK, I’m getting unfit, too much being a couch potato (one of the “perks” of being a cancer patient), maybe I should try doing some exercise. But no, it wasn’t quite that simple.
I can’t express how grateful I am to the wonderful people who’ve given blood and helped keep me alive. Just think, if you donate blood, you might be helping me without realising it, and if not me then one of the many other cancer patients I’ve met whilst receiving blood.