Boris Paulstich is a lifesaver!
Today we would like to introduce Boris to you. Boris has been part of the KiKxxl family for 6.5 years and has been registered as a stem cell donor since 2019. At the end of last year, he received a call that he could be a donor and save a life. We discussed his experience with him in an interview to also make you aware of the possibility and importance of stem cell donation. We have the highest respect for Boris and take off our hats. #Thank you!
Why did you have yourself typed?
A good friend made me aware of a typing appeal in Dortmund-Hörde in the spring of 2019. Deniz, who was 22 years old at the time and suffering from blood cancer, had organized this call in cooperation with the DKMS. We followed the call and had ourselves typed together on a Sunday. The whole procedure took less than half an hour and was absolutely painless with a throat swab. Until then, I had not yet dealt with the topic of bone marrow donation. By the fall of 2019, a good 1600 people had been typed via the campaign. The stem cells were found for Deniz and he is doing well two years after the donation.
How did your donation come about?
I was called in the winter of 2021. In a 15-minute phone call, I was told that I was a potential donor. I was asked about my willingness to donate and my state of health. In addition, the procedure from preparation to donation was roughly explained to me.
Already the following day, I received a package containing a blood collection kit. I had the blood sample taken at my family doctor’s office. My blood was examined for diseases and for other matching characteristics with the recipient.
What happened next?
Three weeks before the donation, I was invited to Cologne for a preliminary examination and examined from head to toe. This meant further blood tests, an ultrasound examination of the chest and abdomen, a detailed discussion with the doctor in which the peripheral blood stem cell donation, which should be carried out in more than 80% of all cases and also in my case, was explained to me. As a farewell gift, I received a burlap bag with all the medications and utensils needed to prepare for the donation. Two days after my visit to Cologne, I received clearance to donate.
Note: In peripheral blood stem cell donation, the donor is first treated with the growth factor G CSF. This supports the maturation of the stem cells in the bone marrow and causes them to pass more quickly into the blood. They are then removed from the donor on an outpatient basis using a procedure called stem cell apheresis, which is comparable to dialysis. In this process, blood from one arm vein is passed through a cell separator back into the arm vein of the other arm. Peripheral blood stem cell donation is now the standard collection technique. Therefore, in most cases, it is no longer called a bone marrow transplant, but a (blood) stem cell transplant.
How did you have to prepare for the donation?
Peripheral blood stem cell donation requires that the blood be enriched with stem cells. This meant that five days before the donation (nine times in total) I started to inject myself in the morning and in the evening with drugs that accelerate the maturation of stem cells in the bone marrow and transfer them into the blood. I put the syringes into my abdominal wall by myself and it was easy for me already with the first syringe. Easy.
In the evening of the second day the only unpleasant, but absolutely bearable part of the whole procedure began. The side effects of the injections started: Fatigue and lack of strength, as well as mild to moderate pain of the bones in the entire area from the knee joints to the collarbone. The side effects can best be compared to a moderate to severe flu. In the preliminary examination I was advised to stock up on enough paracetamol. The tablets helped, the pain subsided and I was able to sleep through all the nights without interruption. On Sunday afternoon, I went to Cologne again to the hotel, which was booked and paid for by DKMS.
And then came the big day of the donation?
On the day of the donation, we went to the collection clinic at 8 a.m.. I was allowed to make myself comfortable on a couch and was connected to a kind of dialysis machine. My blood was pumped from my left arm into the machine, the stem cells were filtered out and returned to my right arm. The procedure took about 5 to 6 hours total and was painless except for two punctures in both arms.
We went back to the hotel at noon and back home the next morning.
What is your conclusion?
Huge praise to DKMS and the staff: The support was excellent. Permanently assigned, friendly and well-trained contact persons, smooth processes, very fast processing of all requests such as queries, hotel booking, reimbursement of expenses (travel costs, parking fees, medication, etc.).
I would, without hesitation, donate another time. I gladly accept the few needle pricks and the side effects and encourage everyone to be typed.
Dear Boris, we thank you for your dedication and commitment. If you would like more information about donating stem cells, please contact Boris directly or visit https://www.dkms.de/ and get typed.