Chris Hinkebein’s Be The Match Journey: Part 3 – Bone Marrow Donation Surgery

Chris Hinkebein, 24 Foundation rider, shares his day-of experience from bone marrow donation surgery for Be The Match on Friday, February 6. 

IMG_2067 (1)I woke up at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning and arrived at the hospital shortly after 6 a.m. I checked into the hospital and was told my surgery would be conducted in the children’s hospital wing of the UNC Chapel Hill hospital.

I went to the pre-surgery room where we met with a nurse and had my first IV put in. The anesthesiologists came in to discuss the anesthesia I would be under and what to expect.  I met with the bone marrow transplant surgeons, who told me what to expect from the procedure and explained that my marrow would be taken to a courier and immediately to my match before I was out of surgery.

I was moved from a normal hospital bed to a surgery bed around 8 a.m. The anesthesiologist gave me a toroidal shot and I was quickly asleep.  I woke up to all the familiar faces from pre-surgery and a sore throat from my breathing tube at about 10:15 a.m.  The nurse said surgery went great and they took two liters of bone marrow during the procedure.  I felt little achy, but didn’t really know what was going on for first few minutes.

After an hour and fifteen minutes in recovery, I was released from the hospital.  I was unsteady on my feet, so a nurse wheeled me down and assisted my mom in getting me in the car.  I spent a majority of the day resting in bed.

The procedure went great! I was sore for a couple days, but by Sunday I was pretty mobile and back to about 80 percent. By Monday I was able to stand and sit with no assistance and had very little pain. The pain from the procedure was tolerable; the most relatable way I could describe it would be if you slipped on ice and hit the pavement really hard. I felt most of the pain in my lower back and it was a bruise type ache.

I hope that my match receives my bone marrow donation and his health begins to improve. The donation and this whole experience is something I would not trade for the world.  It has been a truly life changing experience and I would recommend anyone considering donating to visit www.bethematch.org to join the registry.  It’s been a great experience for an even better purpose.