And the winner is...

Source:  And the winner is...    Tag:  is itp hereditary
ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura).  After 4 days in the hospital this past week, that is my diagnosis.  My immune system's antibodies are attacking my blood platelets which help blood to clot.  Without the clotting, you bleed out.  I look bruised and battered with my body (mostly my legs) covered in petechia (red, non-blanching spots) and lovely gigantic bruises.  Normal platelet counts should be between 150k - 350k.  The lowest we saw was 3k, after dropping 6k in 2 days.  If I waited any longer, my doctor is certain he would have had a brain hemorrhage on his hands.  Walking into the hospital feeling only slightly lethargic, then being thrown into this mess what not what I expected for my Wednesday night.  Yet I knew all along something was off from when I first saw the petechia and my gums bleeding.

I never told anyone that I am trying to get into nursing school, took pharmacology and all those fun classes, and that I previously have worked for 2 years in blood testing laboratory.  I immediately grasped the situation was worse that I had imagined, but I was able to understand it all.  I received a platelet transfusion (IVIG) 5 hours after checking into the ER.  I didn't realize it would be a nearly 10 hour process, which is ever so convenient when you're just trying to catch some shuteye and process everything at the same time.  I was also put on 50mg of Prednisone, which I've been on since.  I was not informed until the day I left the hospital that they saw no initial improvement with the treatments for quite a while.  They finally let me go when my levels reached 73.

ITP is an autoimmune disease that is not hereditary (an initial big worry before the diagnosis, as I watched my toddler climb all over the hospital bed playing with the heart monitor cables).  It can be acute or chronic and yet the cause isn't exactly known (thus, idiopathic), but women are more likely to have it.  Exposure to certain viruses can all also bring about ITP, which I assume would lead to acute cases.  I'm still doing my research! My hematologist believes my pregnancy brought it on.  Again, still not sure on the facts of that, but I'll work with it.  Bottom line: there is no cure.  You can go into remission for years and years, or dance around the numbers for life.  You watch for the classic symptoms and you avoid those situations that can do some major damage to your body, in fear of bleeding.

I'm writing this after receiving only a handful of hours of sleep thanks to Prednisone.  I've been dealing with depression for most of my life, so I'm feeling those side effects even more.  As I told my husband, I'm feeling way too much right now.  Every emotion under the sun.  A week ago I was preparing myself to say goodbye to my dog who is dying of cancer.  Just 2 days later, I'm absorbing all I can about ITP, and oddly enough, taking the exact same medication my dog is.  His has been helping with his swelling and making him more comfortable.  Mine is just driving me to the edge.

I am supposed to continue my treatment with my hematologist outside of the hospital today.  I assume, more blood draws and going over the medication.  I don't know why but I am nervous about having to report to an oncology/hematology clinic on a regular basis.  I don't feel like I'm dying, so I feel like it will be a humbling experience to be surrounded by those who just may be.  I can't even begin to tell my own friends about my week.  Again, every emotion is being carried in this heavy chest of mine, and I'm still trying to figure out how to process it all.  The only thing that I want right now is to hear my daughter's laughter and have the comforter wrapped around me tightly.  Once again, I'm playing the waiting game as she's at daycare.  I feel like this game will be getting old very quickly.

If you want to learn more about this disease, I've been guided to the Platelet Disorder Support Association ( pdsa.org) group, who seem to provide a wealth of information on ITP.  Also, September is ITP Awareness Month, so consider donating: