For those not familiar with April; she is a lovely 15 year old giraffe who currently lives at Animal Adventures in New York. She is expected to give birth to her 5th calf any minute now. Her mate, Oliver, is 5 years old and lives in an adjacent pen. The fine folks at Animal Adventures thought they could stir up a little publicity by putting a camera in April's pen so folks could check on her and maybe catch the live birth. So far April has received about 20 million views. Fun fact: YouTube took down the live video because folks complained about "nude and sexual content". People, please.
You can still find the feed here. For those not inclined to click the link - April is chilling as I type this*. She walks around in a very relaxed, giraffe-like manner. Occasionally she eats. Mostly she stands still. She doesn't seem to know/care about the camera. She's just doing her thing preparing to have a 150 pound, 6 ft tall baby. Bless her.
Enough with April the giraffe, it's really all about me. I'm not sure what kind of shenanigans my ancestors got into but it must have been interesting. Out of the 29,000,000 or so people currently in the Be The Match bone marrow registry, there seem to be no viable donors for me. At least right now. The transplant team at SCCA are looking at other forms of transplant like umbilical cord blood and "haplo", to see what might be a good option for me. The good news is that my disease is currently behaving so they have a minute to figure things out. For that I am very grateful. They are also monitoring me closely. So, if things start to change, they will know right away.
Getting back to the 29,000,000 who are in the registry- people of white/Northern European descent (like me - or so I thought) have about a 97% of finding a donor match. African Americans have about a 34% chance of finding a match through the registry. Those of Hispanic/Latin American descent have a 20% of finding a match through the registry. I'm in the bucket with those that are of mixed race and have about a 4% chance of finding a match. I always thought my ethnicity was boring - mostly Irish, some Norwegian. But now, who knows!? Scandalous!
So, what's next? The transplant/research team met to discuss my case. I meet with my hemotologist - oncologist in a week or so. Hopefully, we will get more information then. In the meantime, I'm taking good care of myself and trying to get as healthy as I can in the time I have to help ensure a successful transplant. I remain incredibly grateful for all of the love and support that I recieve.
I promise to update more frequently. Thank you for being so patient with me.
Things April and I have in common:
- April has been pregnant for 15 months. I feel like I've been pregnant for 15 months.
- April's belly is huge. So is my belly! Ok, April has a 150 pound baby in her belly. I have an enlarged spleen and a complete lack of self control.
- Waiting for a baby giraffe to be born can be frustrating and may feel like it's taking forever. Ditto - waiting for a stem cell transplant!
- April likes younger men.
- April's brain, proportionate to her size, is small. Nuf said.
*Disclaimer: I have spent a total of about 10 minutes checking on April. Please do not worry that my brain has atrophied and I'm sitting in a chair endlessly staring at a video of a pregnant giraffe.