Today is a day I will remember forever.

August 14, 2017.

Today, I was approved to donate my blood during the Ore City ISD Blood Drive with Carter Bloodcare.

This is probably not a big deal to most people, but it is to me.

I almost cried with relief when the tech said my iron level was 39, (38 is minimum they will accept). And that’s when I realized how much it has bothered me that I haven’t been able to donate for the past 27 years! Yes, that’s right…for 27 years my blood hasn’t been good enough to donate. And I just tonight realized how much this has bothered me.

When I was told my iron levels were too low back in 1990, I was truly crushed. I’d donated several times in college and as a young adult and was always glad to help. So when they said my iron levels were too low to donate, it made me feel “less than.” I wasn’t allowed to give something of myself that I feel is very important as a life saving gift, and I’m truly a giving person. I they’ve in helping people. But that day, I felt shunned and not worthy. I remember we were in the parking lot of the church we attended in Winter Park, FL. during the church’s blood drive. And it appears I’ve carried this shame (?) around for 27 years! WOW

Here’s the deal: My blood type is O negative, the universal blood type! That’s pretty cool, IMO. Everyone can receive my blood, so I always felt needed and a little special knowing that my blood could ultimately save someone’s life.

After I was rejected that fateful day, I researched (and ate) foods that were high in iron, took iron supplements, and did everything I could to raise my iron levels for many years. I have annual check ups and just kept an eye out waiting to see if my iron level was high enough. It’s just stayed on the border. Occasionally, in between annual exams, when some organization was having a blood drive, I’d walk into the blood mobile and go through the entire registration process and get my finger poked…to be rejected again. In the doctor’s office, it was always around 38–39ish but when I’d get on that bus, sure enough…34…36…whatever. Just not 38. Never good enough. 😕

Fast forward to the spring of 2017. I made the best decision of my life and took the proverbial “bull by the horns” as it relates to my CrAzY medical condition (which is way too long to go into now). I had bariatric sleeve surgery.

And these are just some positive effects on my body and life from my weight loss: No more diabetes, no more swelling in my ankles (unless I drive 5 hours straight), reduced back pain (the jury’s still out on what’s wrong with my back since I’m still having some issues with 58 pounds gone), and — drum roll please — my iron levels are up!!

The Ore City ISD nurse, Mindy Hamilton, put two and two together and decided it’s because of all the Premier Protein drinks I have consumed this year before and after surgery.

Now, I’m gonna drink one for breakfast tomorrow, even though the last time I drank one I about gagged.

Well, tomorrow morning, I’m going to enjoy one for breakfast for two reasons:

1. I need it…to keep working to reach my goal weight. AND

2. The world needs me to do it…so I am physically able to make a difference in the life of someone who needs my blood. It is just so amazing to me that I can positively affect someone’s life (maybe even keep them alive?) and it is such a simple task on my part.

I can’t wait until next time!

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