Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Letter to Donor

"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
Blanche DuBois

I don't get to know who is saving my life for a year. In fact, I may never get to know. But I can thank him but he mustn't learn where I live or whom I am. No clues about walks on the beach or seeing summer sunset that might place me in one hemisphere or another. Our letters, like those of our soldiers are censored, twice ,and then sent on, stripped of any identifying info. Age, marital status, disease state, and a bit about my work are OK I think. I hope so
Apparently most recipients never thank their donors. What is that all about? I so look forward to meeting him, and learning his story. What makes a 22 year sign up as bone marrow donor and go through the painful and time consuming process? Who is this angel? If he agrees, in a year, we can connect directly without the City of Hope and the Bone Marrow Registry as go betweens. Some country ban any direct contact between donor and recipient ever. Some you must wait a full two years. So waiting a year is not too bad, I guess. I have already used the line from Tom Petty,(Waiting is the hardest part), but I guess that will be a recurrent theme in the transplant world.
So here's my brief opening volley in what I hope will be a long two way conversation over many years:

Dear kind stranger,
I am writing to thank you in advance of my upcoming transplant. I am a 56  family doctor, happily married for 32 years,  and father of 4 who has an incurable cancer, specifically an aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and without this transplant I might not have the chance to see my children finish college and begin their adult life. I would never meet my grandkids, or grow old with my wife, and I would not get to continue the work I so love, caring for the sick and needy.
I am in your debt.  I will keep you updated as to my progress and would welcome a chance to thank you in person when the time is right.
Thank you
Your grateful recipient



Blogger Bob & Lori said...

Dearest Doc Koffman

We are happy to know you have chosen a profession with your future in mind.

Received your letter and just couldn't grasp the situation. When we moved to a more productive stage of denial, we needed to figure out how to post on a blog site. My, my - old dogs can learn new tricks. But they have to be determined! And we can be, when motivated.

We will both gladly donate blood. Wish we were rare in this way, but neither of us are. I think we are both O+ ----- not sure because giving blood is usually not on our list of things to do.

We just need to know where to go when we are in good ole southern California. We make it down there every few weeks. We'll call Jenny and get all the necessary info.

So your donor has been found and is on your "best friends" list. Fabulous - great news. We are currently saving a great Pinot - poor patient you - you probably can't join us in the partaking of booze, so we will drink to your health and send positive thoughts in the color of violet .... s'pose to be very soothing.

Bette Davis quote: "Getting old ain't for sissies." Ain't it the truth. Same with being ill. Stay strong and determined. And for goodness sake, be nice to your care-takers. It'll pay off big time when you need help throwing up.

Will you accept visitors after your surgery? July 1st, think your post said. I think we should both be able to see you in one of those little cotton gowns. Come on - fair is fair.

Again, thinking of you every day and sending good vibes.

Bob & Lori Morales
Tehachapi, CA

June 20, 2008 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger Mitchell Childs said...

Great letter. It is awesome to think about how others that do not know us are willing to help us ( especially someone 22 years old). You give a lot with your career and so this may be some of the Karma/ pay it forward/backward that God somehow makes possible.

Beautiful bluebird
See how she flies
Looks like she's always goin' home
If heaven had a window
Where the sun came shinin' through
Like a beautiful bluebird
I'd come flyin' back to you
Neil Young

June 20, 2008 at 1:33 AM  
Blogger Mike... said...

I've known my kidney transplant donor for 43 years. She is my sister.

When I had my transplant done nearly 5 years ago, I made her a piece of jewelry that she wears proudly. Certainly it was a gift from the heart but compared to the gift she gave me...

If you want my two cents; say thank you, be sincere and get back into "the game" as quickly as possible.

The donors don't do it for their own glory, they do it because they want you to be you again.


June 21, 2008 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

To donor, you are truly a hero. Some people go there hole life not understanding how they affect someone’s life. Twelve months from now, you will know.

June 29, 2008 at 2:36 AM  

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