“What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
One of the complications that can occur after several doses of chemotherapy is anemia, or a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the blood, which in turn causes exhaustion and breathlessness. One way to remedy these symptoms is a blood transfusion. My last and sixth cycle hit me hard. In addition to mouth sores, vomiting, nausea, and other symptoms, what was hitting me the hardest last week was exhaustion. After determining that my red blood count was dangerously low I was given a blood transfusion for the second time during my treatment. The first time I had a blood transfusion was after my fourth cycle. I fell asleep when they began administering the blood and I awoke four hours later when they unhooked me from the bags. I awoke with newfound energy, and my husband said for the first time in days my eyes looked bright, and I had color in my face. This time, I was awake when the nurses began the administration of blood. Three nurses checked and double checked that the donor’s blood type matched mine, three separate times. As I received the blood, a nurse checked my heart rate and blood pressure every half hour. And each time she checked it, my heart rate was lower and my blood pressure higher, which was exactly what my body needed. When it was all over, I again felt more energy, and more alive.
Every time I’ve received blood, I’ve been struck by the fact that some person, somewhere, willingly gave their blood so that I might have new life. A blood donor has no idea who might benefit from their blood. Even if they’d like to donate their blood to a loved one, it’s impossible. Once blood is donated it enters a bank where it becomes anonymous, and only known by its type. It could be anyone who receives a donor’s blood: a new mother with cancer, a criminal who has been stabbed, a tiny baby who’s been born too early, or a woman who drove drunk and crashed, killing another. A donor spills their blood for another person only knowing that it will go to someone who needs it, someone who will be given new life once they receive it, regardless of the reason they need it, or who they are.
Someone willingly donates their blood so that another might have a chance at life, just as Jesus willingly spilled His blood so that we all might have new life. I am a person with many faults, who sins and makes mistakes over and over again. Since I’ve come to know Christ, I’ve tried to be more aware of when I sin. I ask God for forgiveness, and strive to be better each day. I try to be Christ to other’s, even though I undoubtedly get lost within myself. And yet, even though I fail to always love others as Christ calls me to do, day after day God fills me with His love. And day after day I can choose to receive His blood and be made whole again.
I am moved beyond words by the selfless act of those who donate blood to others, just as I am moved beyond words by the selfless act of Jesus who died for us. It is difficult for me to express how grateful I am for a God who loves me despite my shortcomings, though I will keep trying, every day, by striving to be Christ to others. And I thank God for those who donate blood, not only for the way they give life to those in need, but for the example they give us all of selfless love. I wish that I could donate blood myself after finishing my sixth, and barring any unforseen changes of the cancer in my body, my last round of chemotherapy. Yet, because my cancer is a blood cancer, I am unable to do so. So, I pray that God continues to show me other ways I can be Christ to others. But I call those of you who are reading to consider donating blood. What an incredible gift you would be giving! And I thank you for your continued prayers. You have no idea what it means to me.