Monday, January 01, 2007

A gloomy day and a good read

It began raining here sometime during the night. It's cold and damp. I woke up at 4 a.m. and began to read a book I had purchased last week. ( A book that was on the New York Times Bestseller list.) Some might think it odd that I would want to read a book about leukemia. This book, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult is so well done.

It is about as accurate a book about a family with a child with leukemia as I have ever read.
The story is one of where a younger daughter was conceived to be a bone marrow donor to the two year old daughter of a couple. The daughter from her birth has been used as a donor of sorts. Even the umbilical cord from her birth was used to help give the older daughter a fighting chance. Eventually, the younger daughter, now 13 decides that she has given enough and is entitled to live her life in the best interests of her body. I am only through the first one hundred pages but it is fascinating reading. Especially to me. When my son got leukemia one of the first things they asked about were siblings. There were none. For a leukemia patient, the ideal thing is to have a sibling who is a perfect match for you. That is usually only possible with an identical twin but sometimes a sibling is a close enough match. In my case my son and I did not share the same blood type. Like all four of my siblings, my son was type A and I was a different type. My sister was tested and was in the ballpark for a match. We didn't do any further testing as it was not something necessary. My son was registered in a bone marrow transplant bank. I wish I could make some healthy people realize that to give bone marrow is often to give the gift of life.
I know children who received additional years even if not cured from the transplants. In order to be tested you have a simple blood test. Often there are testing drives when a sick child is in an area. The testing is not inexpensive and often fund raising drives cover those costs. You are not a potential donor if you have ever had cancer yourself. You must be healthy.

This book makes me wonder if someday all umbilical cords will be stored as an insurance of sorts. Or that all people will be HLA (tissue type) tested and records kept on file. I would love to see what great advances medical science will make in the coming years regarding these issues.
This is where I would like to see our government funds going as opposed to many things that I cannot agree with.

I do not see the need to fly a past president's body all over the country at a huge cost to taxpayers. I would truly respect a past president who planned his funeral and asked that instead of all that expense that taxpayers make a donation to the food banks of Washington, D.C. or to some other worthy charities. A President currently in office is a different matter. It just doesn't sit right with me that someone's body is flown all over at taxpayer expense while some people will go without any food today. Maybe that's just me. It's nothing against any of our past presidents. I would not think their families would want to be put through all that traveling either. They had to live their lives in public at one time, let them have their privacy now. IMHO

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