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“Plasma medications made me whole again.” Quote from Vanessa, a plasma donation recipient.

The steroids I was taking for my immune deficiency disease caused weight gain and I wasn’t feeling like myself. Now that I’m taking plasma medication, I’m me again.

Before, I just had to suffer

About six years ago, I got really sick and nobody knew what was wrong with me. My throat would not stop swelling and my lips and face were always swollen. My belly, hands, and feet would swell too, and I just had to suffer through it. Anything could trigger it, like what I ate, too much sun, exercise, or emotional stress. Many times, I ended up in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Overweight and angry, I wasn’t myself anymore

I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called HAE, which stands for hereditary angioedema. To control it, I was given steroids. But using them long-term was more damaging than helpful. I gained 70 pounds because I was always hungry. I grew facial hair, became angry, and just wasn’t myself anymore. And I still had a lot of swelling. Once, the swelling in my throat became so bad I had to be sedated. That was when a specialist had plasma medication flown in from another city.

Plasma was my saving grace

Within minutes of getting the plasma, my throat went back to its normal size. Ever since, I’ve been taking plasma medications. I still have bouts of swelling, but far less than before, and the medications help in just minutes or hours. I’ve lost weight, the facial hair is gone, and I’m back at work. I’m also running again and can visit the elephants I love at the sanctuary.

Giving plasma is such a beautiful thing to do

It takes 7,000 units of plasma and 14 donors to make one small vial of my medicine. Since I take three vials twice a week, that means a staggering amount of people have given me their plasma. I’m so grateful. They don’t have to do it, and they’ve given me back my life.

Vanessa hugging an elephant.

“This new plasma medication really helps me. It got me back to being me. I was able to start going to work again… when I was sick all the time I couldn't work.”

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