Tag Archives: platelets

Blood and Platelet Donation

My first blood donation was done at the University’s Red Cross Blood Donation Drive. As a donor, I have always wondered who would be the recipient of my blood unit. Regardless of who he or she is, I felt great knowing that my blood would save someone.

On my first admission into SGH, my haemoglobin and platelet counts were 5.10 g/dl (normal range is 14 – 18 g/dl) and 30.0 x 10^9/L (normal range is 140 – 440 x 10^9/L) respectively. The presence of blast cells had caused a large dip to my haemoglobin and platelet level. Thanks to blood donors, I was able to top up my red blood cells and platelets on days that they were low. So I switched side from a donor to a recipient, and from feeling great to being grateful to the kind donors.

Staying in the haematology ward was an eye opener to me. Patients with different blood disorders, at some point of time, require blood and platelet that match their blood group. Hidden from the public eyes, here’s a busy place where blood units are in high demand and transfusions are going on 24 hours round the clock. All these would not be possible without the help of donors and the blood bank.

Although researchers are currently working on producing synthetic blood from stem cells, the first clinical trial on human is only expected within the next five years. Blood donors are still very much required! I sincerely hope all my healthy friends will consider donating their blood to help others. Become a blood donor champion today and influence more friends to join you. You can find out more about blood donation through the Singapore Health Science Authority (Blood Bank) website here.

P.S. Chemotherapy is wiping out my blood cells slowly. I’m going to receive some platelets today and most likely a unit of blood tomorrow. Thank you, donor!

Life Changing 34 Days

34 days of confinement and I am finally discharged from SGH! This is quite an experience for me, a life changing one.

I remember the scene that mum teared when I told her it’s leukaemia. Devastated. It’s so cruel that she has just accepted her husband’s stage 3 lung cancer, and now, she has to accept her youngest son’s new diagnosis. The sight and thought of her crying breaks my heart. I knew to make her smile again, I have to be strong and positive – and it works! This is the power of positive influence!

Although the statistics for AML patients to going into complete remission look promising, I felt a need to have my girlfriend reconsider about our relationship. Qipei knew about the possible outcomes, but she believed in me. We want to go through this together and I am certain it will further strengthen our relationship.

The first cycle of chemotherapy (a.k.a. induction chemotherapy) aims to bring the disease to remission. Cytarabine and Idarubicin were administered, both intravenously, for 22 hours over 7 days and 3 boluses over 3 days, respectively. Of cos, anti-nausea and anti-vomiting (antiemetics) drug was given prior to chemo to prevent any nauseous feeling or vomiting. This cycle was rather gentle on me – only experienced bloated tummy and dry skin. The gassy stomach was relieved towards Day 7 and there was moisturizer for dry skin.

My platelet counts dropped after chemo and brushing teeth was a no no! There was an occasion after rinsing my mouth, in front of the mirror, I noticed some bits of cookies stuck in between my teeth. My itchy finger removed it and fresh blood flowed out from the adjacent gum. In the subsequent two days, my gum bled at various locations and they just refused to clot until what felt like a blood gelatin formed. I tried to remove these gelatin with my tongue and my poor gum begun bleeding again. The pseudo-jelly salty-iron tasting blood in my mouth was really yucky! I learned my lesson to go on soft diet and not disturb any clots when my platelet counts are low.

I was prepared for hair loss and I thought it really does not matter to me. First, it was finding strands of hair on my pillow in the morning. Next was seeing loose strands of hair on my palms after shampooing. The ultimate was when I sat on my bed and shook my head vigorously, strands of hair just fell off. I laughed. Then I botak-ed myself with mum’s help. It was cooling and not so demoralizing anymore.

A few days into chemo, I began to inform a few close friends. They came with well wishes, food, entertainments and good companionships. It was really heartening and morale-boosting for me – I wasn’t fighting leukaemia alone! A particular support that I must mention is from LeRoy and his family. Aunty Susan, LeRoy’s mum, blessed me with some wellness products to complement with my treatment. She also cooked a variety of healthy vegetarian dinners and delivered them to me almost every evening. And of cos, there were lovely messages from friends who could not make it to visit me. I felt loved and I saw genuine care and kindness from everyone. All these – priceless!

My life has changed. I am now living a life with gratitude, love, hope, and zest!