but not just because it’s World Cancer Day and I am so thankful to still be alive (I’m still alive because of the wonderful doctors and staff at the BC Cancer Agency). No, that’s not why today is special.
Last December I had the first of two surgeries to replace several missing teeth (caused by the intensive radiation treatments) with implants. I had the second surgery last week at the Vancouver Cancer Centre and it has taken almost a week to recover from the pain, swelling and bruising. But that’s not why today is special.
After the surgery, the dental surgeon explained that he had to do a bone graft, which seemed odd because I couldn’t feel any pain in any other part of my body.
“Where did you get the bone(s) from?” I asked the surgeon.
“From a donor” replied the doctor.
“Did I have a bone graft done in December too?” I nervously asked.
“Yes” replied the good doctor.
I was both shocked and saddened because I now have 2 bones from donors whom I’ll never be able to meet or thank. I also wondered why I have never ever signed up to be an organ donor. And the more I thought about it, the more foolish I felt – because when you’re ‘dead and gone’ and no longer need your body – it’s either buried or cremated; aren’t you being a bit selfish Danny?
Today is special because I registered with the BC Transplant Society as an organ donor – and that made me feel very special indeed!
And it was just as simple as that!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: A few readers have asked how I was able to qualify as an organ donor given my previous health history (Stage 3 Throat Cancer). I applied online to the Transplant Society of BC and was accepted within 10 seconds of submitting my application. The only info that the application form requested was my provincial heath card number and my birthdate and address, and what parts of my body that I wanted to donate. I chose to donate my whole body to use as they see fit (harvesting organs, tissue, bone etc). The bottom line is that in addition to organ transplants, a body can still be used in medical schools and/or for much needed research.
And then when they’re through with the body, they can return the remains for burial or cremation.
Also, this is the link to the Transplant Society of BC: http://www.transplant.bc.ca