Monday, August 27, 2007

MS and Blood Donations - Good News, but...

When I received a tentative diagnosis of MS in 1995, I was donating platelets on a regular basis. I told the Red Cross about this, and they politely suggested that I not donate blood or platelets any longer. On September 11, 2001, I checked again and was politely told not to donate.

So it was with great pleasure that I read a piece on (go to by Julie Stachowiak, PH.D., answering the Question of the Week: Can I donate blood if I have MS?. Surprisingly, her answer was "Yes. If you have multiple sclerosis you are eligible to donate blood, according to the American Red Cross."

Not one to believe everything I read on the web, I decided to check out the link:
and Julie is right! There is nothing that says people with MS cannot donate. The closest issue is:
Chronic Illnesses
Most chronic illnesses are acceptable as long as you feel well, the condition is under good control, you have an adequate hemoglobin level and your temperature is normal when you come to donate, and you meet all other eligibility requirements.

I'm so happy - but then I continued reading...
In some parts of the world, cattle can get an infectious, fatal brain disease called Mad Cow Disease. In these same locations, humans have started to get a new disease called variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (vCJD) which is also a fatal brain disease. Scientists believe that vCJD is Mad Cow Disease that has somehow transferred to humans, possibly through the food chain.

You can't donate if you might have been exposed to this disease, and GUESS WHAT! I've been exposed. There is a long list of dates and places where you might have been exposed if you were living in Europe. Well GUESS WHAT!
"You cannot donate if:
You were a member of the of the U.S. military ... who spent a total time of 6 months on or associated with a military base in any of the following areas during the specified time frames ...
• From 1980 through 1990 - Belgium, the Netherlands (Holland), or Germany "

Well, I enjoyed my tour with the US Air Force in Germany from 1979 - 1981.
So now, in addition to a goose in my brain, can I say that I might have MAD COW DISEASE?? tee hee!!!


  1. Ignorance on the part of others should not be misconstrued as bigotry. I try to educate the lacking party when necessary ... sometimes though, it just is not possible.

    Mad cow indeed!

  2. Indeed! Thanks for visiting - hope you are well today.

  3. Joanie - you are so much like Rich. You research the dickens out of everything!!! You should have stopped reading after you found the right answer then you could give blood!!! hahaha Just kidding. Another good post in your blog!!!

  4. mad cow disease sounds more interesting than MS. i have been watching Boston Legal and William Shatner plays a character who is in the early stages of alzeimers but tells everyone he has mad cow disease instead.

    sounds like you have led a very exciting life thus far. i have never been out of the country except if you count niagra falls.

  5. Somehow MAD COW DISEASE sounds waaaay more fascinating than MS! But I also think it's waaaay more debilitating and potentially fatal, so...guess we all need some disease to hang our hat on eventually. LOL

    Many apologies for taking so long to get here to your blog to read...I should be publically caned.

    Linda D. in Seattle