My Date With a Blood Transfusion
Megan-Claire Chase (also known as Warrior Megsie) is a breast cancer warrior, and it has been one year and nine months since she was declared NED (no evidence of disease). She was diagnosed at age 39 with Stage IIA Invasive Lobular, ER+/PR+ and HER2- in September 2015 and finished active treatment two days before her 40th birthday in 2016. She was medically induced into menopause in February 2017 due to complications with post treatment. Megsie is a true STEEL magnolia in every sense of the word and living in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a cat, Nathan Edgar, who IS her child.
Most people would not look forward to a blood transfusion. When I was told I needed one two weeks before my breast cancer surgery, I was more excited than scared. I thought it would be like the movies or like an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Maybe I would meet a handsome doctor, nurse or another patient and fall in love.
My imagination is huge.
I always thought I had the universal blood type O, but discovered I am B+. That knowledge made me go into cheerleader mode. I started doing hand pumps and shouting, “Who’s B-Positive! Say what! B-Positive!” in the infusion room. To this day, I still get a chuckle knowing that my outlook on life literally matches my blood type.
I normally don’t get grossed out. After all, I’m a fan of the show “The Walking Dead,” so a little blood should be fine, right? I just survived four AC and 12 Taxol chemo treatments. I was a bad-ass.
First, I thought I was getting just one bag of blood. Well, I must’ve had my selective hearing going because I had to get two bags infused. I suppose I could always blame it on chemo brain. Then I starting thinking: "Was I secretly dying and the staff just wasn’t telling me?"
My second thought was the bags would be much, much smaller than they really were. Those suckers were huge! Then it truly hit me. I’m getting infused with other people's blood. I have no idea who these blood donors were at all. I had one bag of type O and one bag of type B+. Would I be able to feel the difference between the two?
I don’t know what I expected, but looking at the first bag and seeing the size and the thickness of the blood, then realizing that was about to be infused into me, I completely freaked out. I felt that sense of panic like I did when I had my first chemo treatment. How would my body react to this?
When the nurse hooked up the first bag, I nearly threw up. I just started dry-heaving like crazy for a full 15 minutes. That’s what going through cancer is like. All these foreign objects, blood and chemo are being forced into the body. The fear of the unknown always lingers like a demon in the corner.
My nurse was super sweet and extremely patient with me. She took my temperature and blood pressure every 20 minutes. Depending on what it said, she would either increase the infusion or slow it down. My heart rate would speed up and down.
Since I was completely grossed out by the blood bags, I had the nurse move the pole holding the bags behind me. I could not bear to even look at them.
The transfusion took six hours.
Once it was done, I felt odd. I also felt “thick” and like I was moving in slow motion through mud. I looked in the mirror and thought, “Oh my gosh! I have morphed into the character Bella from the movie “Twilight”when she woke up as a vampire.” My face and chest was flushed, and my eyes were blood red.
Though I didn’t find true love while getting my blood transfusion, my body got that needed boost to make it through my surgery two weeks later. I am truly the star of my own movie.