Breath and blood

August 7, 2013 in Lymphoma by Jeffry Reed

I was asked today “How many transfusions have you had?”

I had no idea. I received two last week, but in total since this started? I really don’t know, too many to count.

That got me to thinking, people who donate blood sure saved my butt and I can’t thank them enough. But others can do their part……

I get asked all the time “What can I do for you and your family?”

I have an answer now. Donate blood. Please. I can’t ever do it again because of cancer, but those of you that are healthy can sure save others and help those going through chemo by donating blood. Chemo destroys blood cells so it is absolutely necessary to get blood transfusions, or get two or three units of blood during chemo. Especially at the doses I’m taking. I’m A+(positive) for blood type, thought it doesn’t really matter what you are, you will be doing good for somebody that really needs it.

I’m low right now, I can’t catch my breath today. Just walking to the bathroom I feel like passing out and I’m out of breath. I just don’t have enough red blood cells to carry the oxygen to my body. I’m basically stuck on the couch……It’s not one of the things I ever thought about for those dealing with cancer.

They measure your red blood cells by “hemoglobin” ;

Hemoglobin (/hməˈɡlbɪn/also spelled haemoglobin and abbreviated Hb or Hgb) is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloproteinin the red blood cells of all vertebrates[1] (with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae[2]) as well as the tissues of some invertebrates. Hemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the respiratory organs (lungs or gills) to the rest of the body (i.e. the tissues) where it releases the oxygen to burn nutrients to provide energy to power the functions of the organism, and collects the resultant carbon dioxide to bring it back to the respiratory organs to be dispensed from the organism.

So when this level drops below 8, it’s time for me to get blood. Normal levels are:

If you are a grown-up male Between 14 and 18 gm/dL
If you are a grown-up woman Between 12 and 16 gm/dL

So imagine if you open a vein and drain out 50% of your blood supply, stitch yourself back up and try to go back to work.  Won’t happen. If it is done that fast you will just pass out. Those that are anemic or have low blood supply, that lose it slowly overtime, adjust to the lower levels to a point and can function but may appear to be lazy and tired all the time. And they run out of breath easily. It’s called being anemic. Women are more able to handle it because of their monthly cycles and when they say they are tired, well……they are.

Men should never be below 14, ever. 16 is normal, so I’m pretty darn low because mine stays between 7-8. I’ve been in the low 6’s before as well. Not a fun thing.

Anyhow I wanted to write this all down so in the future I can remember it’s not just the sickness from the chemo, but the lack of energy due to low blood. It’s hard to write, it’s taken all day because my brain just can’t focus at times, and I feel weird. But I do want to ask again, please, if you can, donate blood. There are 10 donations sites within 10 miles of me, some are Mobile centers at familiar eating places and a lot of times you get a free meal.

Just put in your zip and find a time and place and help those that need it if you want to or can.