Feature image from CLARISSA
Hello, my name is Clarissa and I was diagnosed with ITP November 3rd, 2015. I currently live in Minnesota. I am a teacher and a single mom to 2 little boys ages 6 and 4. On Halloween morning 2015 I woke up with bruises all over my arms. I honestly didn’t know how I got them, but my family joked about how my youngest beat me up in his sleep (he co-sleeps with me and is a tosser).
I really didn’t think much of the bruises except that it was weird they were all over my arms, so we went trick or treating as planned. I hadn’t felt sick or tired or really anything out of the normal before this, so I wasn’t really sure what was going on. The next day I seemed to have developed more bruises on my legs, again brushing it off to my son’s tossing and turning.
On Monday when I went to work I found even more bruises and throughout the day they were getting darker and bigger. I called my doctor and she told me to get into urgent care right away. After work, I picked up my kids and headed in. They ran blood tests and my platelets levels came back at 0.
The doctor was urging me to go to the hospital to get checked in right then and there, she even told me that she would arrange for an ambulance to pick me up and bring me. I immediately started crying and told her I didn’t have anyone to watch my kids at that moment, but my mom could be there in 2 hours. The doctor told me that I could have leukemia, cancer, really anything, but that if I was to even get a small cut, I needed to get to the hospital asap because my blood was not clotting and I could bleed out.
Once I left I called my mom and sister and of course, my mom rushed to stay with me. I stayed home the next day awaiting the doctor’s phone call because she said she was getting me in to see a specialist right away in the morning. I dropped my kids off at school and then shortly after got the phone call.
My mom and I went in to see the specialist and my platelets were now up to 2. I had to get a platelet transfusion due to them being extremely low. It was ironic because I had been donating plasma up until the end of September 2015 for about a year and now I was the one in need. The doctor also prescribed steroids to help bring up my platelets.
The next 2 days I had to go back and get blood drawn again. My platelets went up to 27 the following day and then 102 the next. Since then I have been going to the doctor every 4 weeks to test my blood. Since then my platelets levels have been normal. I also have been taking 40mg of steroids for 4 days every 4 weeks. The doctor has me on the treatment for 6 months (April is my last treatment) in hopes that I do not have a relapse. I personally feel like crap since starting the treatment, but I am dealing with it.
Since being on the steroids, I have gained 20lbs. I feel tired, sluggish and lazy for a couple weeks, then get my energy back right before having to start a new round. I have tried pushing myself to exercise (I feel sick half the time or have little to no energy), but I eat very well (lots of salads, healthy cooking/eating and veggies).
The doctor has told me that since my weight gain is from taking steroids, it should easily come off, so I hope so. I just want to be healthy and back to normal for my boys. I now know what to look for if this does happen again. I am hoping that I will be able to keep this under control and learn to live rather than deal.
The attached image is my boys and I at Christmas 2015. Thank you for letting me share my story.