Feature image from ESTY
I was diagnosed with ITP on Australia Day in 2008. Today, 4 years ago. I still remember the tiny paper Australian flag that was poked into my sandwich the morning that I woke up in the hospital. The night before had been a long wait in Emergency followed by a midnight admission into the Haematology ward. I had cried so much after everyone had left that I was exhausted and feel into a deep sleep.
Months before I was diagnosed, a retired nurse in the street, lifted up my arm and turn it over in her fingertips lightly tracing the bruises on my wrist and fore arm. ‘You should get yourself checked out,’ she said. ‘At best that’s an iron deficiency but…you would want to know sooner rather than later.’
I always had bruises on my arms and legs, lots of little small ones. I told people that I bruised easily. It wasn’t until I moved into a house with my best friend that things started to get really bad. I was feeling so low, nervous and anxious about everything. Packing all my boxes and moving them in and out of the truck my arms were completely covered. I looked down and thought, I look sick.
On the morning of my doctors appointment, when I was supposed to get the results of my blood tests, I had two missed calls from a private number. I went into the waiting room at the right time, opened up my book, thinking nothing in particular. When my doctor came out to call another patient, he must have seen me sitting in the room. He told the other patient to wait and pulled me into his office.
The rest is quite hard to pull apart. I was in a daze and everything went so quickly. He was talking about numbers and letters and things I couldn’t get my head around. I was given a letter and told I was to be admitted through emergency to the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney, immediatly. He told me they were expecting me and he had already sent over my details.
On Australia Day, it was about mid morning when the hematologist came to my bed to tell me that I had responded well to the 140mg of prednisone I had taken in two days. They said I would most likely be diagnosed with itp, probably acute in someone my age, but that there would be a few more tests over the next coupe of days, including a bone marrow biopsy to rule out leukemia. I was given an appointment at the haematology and ambulatory care centre and I became an outpatient, visiting and getting treatment every day for the next week. Then it was every week. Finally every two weeks.
Now I am blessed to have found a GP that will take me on, working in conjunction with my haematologist and only sending me back to hospital if he gets really worried.