24 Oct

I got a type-written letter last week from Miss Perfect Match herself, my donor! If you remember, we can’t meet each other until at least a year out from transplant, but we can write heartfelt generic letters back and forth, plump full of non-identifying information. All I know is that she’s a 19 year-old from somewhere in the U.S. I usually work from the Who-What-When-Where-Why, so this foundation-less conversation is quite different for me.

But we do have quite the foundation. She’s my blood, after all.

After I reread her letter for the tenth time, I started Googling recent concert locations for Taylor Swift because she said she had recently been. I thought too hard about her cat’s name, thinking it may have a connection to a local mascot. I felt like my dad trying to track down the flight my bone marrow had arrived on back in May. All an enthralled effort to figure out where she’s from, who she is. But alas, they say “non-identifying” for a reason, and no amount of regression to my Harriet the Spy days will uncover her – until May, at least.

I won’t read you the entire letter – that would be like me reading out loud letters (I wish) I used to find hidden in my locker from my secret admirer. But I can assure you that we are now officially pen pals. She made me a friendship bracelet to seal it.

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9 Responses to “Correspondence”

  1. Katie Lloyd October 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Wow. How cool! I’m so happy you’ve connected. I hope this means a face-to-face meeting down the road.

  2. Fran Albright October 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Jenna: That is so exciting! I know you are very anxious to meet this person.

  3. Nicole W October 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Wow. Best pen pal ever! I may have to one-up her with a candy necklace.

  4. Connie October 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    How exciting! I can’t wait for you to meet her! We’ve been thinking of you so much lately and hope you are feeling wonderful.

  5. Angie October 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Wow – Jenna, that’s so awesome! Can’t wait for you meet in-person 🙂

  6. Lois Guggisberg October 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Jenna, I remember when we recieved our first letter from one of Bryan’s recipients. It happened to be his liver recipient and Elmer and I were overwhelmed. Tears flowed that day. However the person who went against the rules was Bryan’s kidney recipient. Turns out her daughter had seen us when we were on 60 minutes and figured out that we were her mother’s donor family. So one evening during a snowstorm the phone rang and we began a lasting friendship. You are so lucky to have recieved correspondence from your donor not all people are willing to become a part of somebody elses’ life. Have a good day. Love ya, Lois G

  7. Donna @ thedisillusionment October 25, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    Hi Jenna,

    My housemate Soph Kells showed me your blog tonight and I am so glad she did. You write so so beautifully.



  8. Gina October 30, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Jenna, I am a three-time bone marrow donar…actually my first donation was via a harvest (1996), the other two via stem-cell donation. I was one of the first donars to donate via stem cell (1997) – before the FDA approved it. My last donation was last November, 2010; however I have not had any communication from “him”.

    Unlike my first recipient (who I dontated twice), we communicated with each other very often. I was fortunate to meet him and “my adopted family.” I hope to get some news from my second recipient soon.

    I got wind of your blog from an invitation for a marrow donar appreciation event I will be attending in mid-November.

    I look forward to meeting you. Gina.

    • Heathyr Ellington November 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

      What an incredible, inspiring, and gorgeous woman you are. I have been kept in the loop about your story through my mother, Jolene Ellington – she is the Bone Marrow Donation Coordinator for the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center with Yvonne Ybarra. Since she has met you in Minnesota, she she tells me stories about your struggle and your undefeatable spirit. I just finished reading your entire blog and I am stunned. You truly are one in a million and not only are you blessed to be recovering, we are blessed to have someone as strong as yourself with us.

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