Chris Hinkebein’s Be the Match Journey: Part 2 – Pre-Operation

Chris Hinkebein, 24 Hour of Booty rider, shares his perspective of his pre-op experiences on Thursday, February 5 before heading into his bone marrow transplant surgery to donate for Be The Match on Friday, February 6. 

IMG_2060Today is the day before my donation and I’m feeling good. We arrived at UNC Chapel Hill Cancer Hospital this afternoon and checked in with the Bone Marrow Donation unit. My first step was giving four vials of blood, followed by meeting with a nurse practitioner.

The nurse practitioner went through a series of questions about my health since birth, including every bone break, health issue, tobacco/alcohol/drug use and family health history.  She took my blood pressure, checked my vitals, temperature and took a urine sample.  From there, I got a second EKG and chest X-Ray as a follow up to the physical exam I had a couple weeks ago.

I spent the majority of the time with a nurse practitioner who was wonderful.  She spent a lot of time describing what to expect from the procedure, recovery and began to describe the impact of my donation.   Listening to her discuss various patients that have received donations and the positive impact it has had on their lives began to put the whole process into perspective.

As we began to discuss the specific disease that my match has, the nurses begin to tell me about a 27 year-old male with the exact same disease who received a donation through UNC Chapel Hill.  This patient is completely back to normal and you would never know the shape he was in, according to the nurses.

Being 26, this really hit home for me and put the true meaning of this donation into perspective. The exponential impact that one individual who beat cancer has on people around him — other cancer patients, the doctors, nurses, family and friends — really does make you feel small in this large world.  The nurses lit up the more they talked about him and I can only imagine there are several hundreds, if not thousands of other people that he has the same impact on. One case of donating bone marrow for that 27 year-old male has given hope to thousands.

According to the nurses, I will be back to normal after two weeks.  I may never know the impact that this one day has on my match’s life, or if his body even accepted my marrow. I hope to be able to meet my match, but that is a long way down the road.  My hope is that my donation can give a glimmer of hope to this individual, someone in his family, someone in his hospital or maybe someone who will never get the chance to meet him.  The idea of hope is such a large tool that we can latch onto in times of need and possibly be the only thing one needs to push through this terrible disease.My opportunity to provide this hope comes at the bright hour of 6:00 a.m.  I have a two hour prep before my procedure and surgery begins at 8:00 a.m.  The procedure is expected to take no more than two hours and will leave two small incisions on my lower back.  I will be in post operation recovery for around four hours then will be cleared to leave the hospital.

If you would like more information about joining the Be the Match bone marrow registry, please check out www.bethematch.org to learn more. I would highly encourage you to consider registering if you’re able — it’s a truly rewarding and humbling experience!