How to Heal A Bruise, An ITP Book

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For Patients and Parents living with ITP,

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There is so much information available about the medical problems of immune thrombocytopenia.  Written by doctors and professionals, it’s difficult to read and even harder to decipher. Medical journals and scientific papers never address the questions you actually want answers to – What is it like to live with ITP?  How can I still live my life?  What will it feel like now that I have ITP?

HOW TO HEAL A BRUISE was inspired by Meghan Brewster’s most popular ITP articles.

 HOW TO HEAL A BRUISE includes stories from Meghan’s ITP Journey, some of the latest ITP research and advice for living a life with ITP.  This book is comprehensive yet easy read; from a person who actually has ITP.

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About the Author, Meghan Brewster

meghan brewster, author, how to heal a bruise, itp blood disorderMeg was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia when she was 22 years old.  She struggled to read dense medical journals and scholarly articles to learn more about her ITP.  What was missing from the ITP conversation was information from other patients, about what immune thrombocytopenia was really like.  

In 2012, Meg set up ITPANDME.  Three years later, it’s one of the largest ITP blogs in the world.  Meg has been writing about ITP for more than 6 years, has heard hundreds of patient stories and answered many questions about ITP life from patients and parents.

HOW TO HEAL A BRUISE is an honest account of her journey with ITP, as well as practical advice for living with ITP and information from some of her most popular articles.

This book takes you through the stages of ITP from coming to terms with your diagnosis to finally accepting and thriving with ITP, what to expect while living with ITP and how to make sure it doesn’t take over your life.  An honest and informative account of living with an autoimmune disease.

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Praise for How to Heal a Bruise

The book includes lots of ITP information such as, the science, history, tips and guides, alongside strong emotional support. It is now my own ITP Bible! I could not recommend it more highly! FULL REVIEW HERE from Katie Meloy

Beyond being a book documenting scientific and medical information, is the personal experience of Megan Brewster after seven years of living with this blood disorder and is enriched in fourteen chapters…I didn’t know what to expect on How To Heal A Bruise, then simply I couldn’t stop reading.  FULL REVIEW HERE from Laura

‘My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be just what we are looking for.’ Andy USA

‘Thank you for your thoughts…they’ve helped me with finding perspective in our reality.’ Jenny Australia

‘Love the way you write.  Meg, you made me chuckle.’ Bron Australia

‘Thank you for writing this, it will surely help the newbies.’ Padma, India

Features

  • The History of Immune Thrombocytopenia.
  • Practical Diet and Lifestyle advice.
  • Pregnancy and Babies with ITP
  • Advice on Natural Therapies and alternative medicine.
  • Possible Isolation and Depression from an ITP diagnosis.
  • Covering up Bruises, tips for healing and hiding bruises.
  • First aid tips and tricks for around the home.
  • ITP fears and how to overcome them.
  • A Huge list of References – Meg’s favourite blogs, books and ITP Resources.

Breastfeeding While Taking Immune Suppresants

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Are you pregnant or trying to get pregnant while taking the immune suppressant steroid Prednisone? There is so much you need to be thinking about right now, wondering if you will able to breastfeed after the baby is born is just another consideration that needs to be investigated.

Question

Is it safe to breastfeed my baby while I am taking Prednisone?

1. The Quick Answer – Yes.

2. The Real Answer – There is a very big difference between a drug being ‘SAFE’ and and drug being ‘GOOD’ for you and your baby.  Just because a drug is classified as safe, should I still take it?  There is a very big difference between something being proven to be good for you and scientists not being able to prove it’s bad for you.

Just because it is ‘safe’ should I do it? – 

Though many drugs are quite safe for a mother to take while nursing her child there are several agents for which ‘safety’ during breast-feeding is not well-defined and may be a risk to the infant.  What is safe for one person may not be safe for another.  Prednisone, according to every medical doctor I have talked to, is safe to consume while pregnant and breast feeding.  There is evidence that a small amount of the drug can pass through the breast milk and into the blood stream of the feeding child, an amount small enough for doctors to consider the drug safe.  However, I found the contributions of MotherRisk.org quite relevant to this discussion.  ‘Even if only a small amount of the drug were to be excreted into the milk, the inherently toxic nature of these medications warrants caution with their use.’

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Breastfeeding on Prednisone

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Below is a collection of Information I have gathered from Blog posts, person comments and Medical articles from online.  While there seems to be no definitive Yes or No answer, as with many things to do with ITP, I did think this offered a great platform to begin your own research and make up your own mind about what is right for you and your baby. Continue reading

Calcium and ITP

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Feature image from PINTEREST

Natural Calcium

Calcium is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the earths crust.  It is also the fifth most abundant ion dissolved in seawater.  Calcium is essential for all living organisms; in particular their cell physiology, and humans are no exception.  As a major material used in the mineralization of bones, calcium is the most abundant metal on mass in the human body.  Without enough Calcium in your system you are in trouble.  Did you know that Prednisone leaches calcium from your bones?

Taking Prednisone? Take Calcium too

If you are taking any amount of Prednisone on a daily basis then you absolutely need to be increasing your calcium intake, either through diet or with a supplement.  There seems to be a grey area in the Medical profession at the moment about how much prednisone requires a Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation.  All I can say about this is that any amount of Prednisone is too much and every possible precaution should be taken to avoid developing Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis.

Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, which causes them to lose their density and become brittle and more susceptible to fracture.  Your bones are the organs that produce your blood.  Your bones make your platelets!  Your bones are not something that can be replaced with metal if they are broken or too weak.  Long-Term steroid use weakens your bones, as the Prednisone will leach Calcium from them.

Calcium Absorption

Calcium is absorbed in the small intestine.  This absorption is aided by the presences of Vitamin D in your system at the time of the Calcium uptake.  Most people on Prednisone will need between 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium per day.

The Top 5 ways to increase you Calcium, Naturally

    •  
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      Full cream milk

      Milk (Dairy ) So the best source of Dietary Calcium is of course Dairy.  Australians are very lucky with the quality and quantity of Dairy products available here.   We are able to access a variety of milk, yoghurt, cheeses, cream and curds.  If you are looking for more calcium, then this is where you find it. However, if like me, you have switched to an anti inflammatory diet such as the Paleo Diet, then you will need to look for non dairy sources of Calcium.  I still consume a bit of milk cause I love the Vitamin D + Calcium combo, but a small amount of milk is not enough.

    • help with itp
      sun dried little fish

      Tiny fish (with the bones)  These tiny fish would include Anchovies, White Bait or Sardines.  Canned salmon and other fish are also sold with the bones included, but you would need to read the label.  Eating these fish will provide you with a nice dose of fish oil, probably a bit of Vitamin D, and a whole lot of Calcium.  What better food to eat for bone health than another animal’s healthy bones.  If you are looking for the next best source of Calcium after dairy, then this is it.

  • Seaweed Sushi rolls, Japanese – get the fatty fish and the seed weed together.  The only chance I get to eat seaweed is in Japanese and Korean restaurants.  If anyone knows any great Nori recipes please let me know.
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Chia seeds
  • Seeds  If you are a vegetarian or Vegan, then the Calcium in seeds will be a great natural healthy source.  Seeds can sometimes be overlooked because they are so small, but it is because of their size that they can easily be incorporated into any dish.  They are easy to sprinkle over salad or add to sauces and bakes,  mash up with vegies, or include in a stir-fry – actually everything could benefit from a little sprinkling of seeds.  Seeds high in Calcium include Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds or Linseeds, depending on where you are from and Sesame Seeds or Tahini will work just as well.
  • itp vitamins and supplements
    roasted almonds

    Almonds  Almonds are the Paleo Dieters dream.  These tasty little nuts may be used for sweet and savory dishes, blended into a baking meal or eaten by the handful between lunch and dinner.  Aim to always have a supply of Almonds in your house, just stay clear of the salted kind – Salted Almonds are moreish and a huge no no for people taking Prednisone.  To read more about staying away from Salt, click here.

 

My Tips to Not Looking like a Junkie

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Feature image from Lissy Laricchia

So, you have ITP now – Welcome.  What you might not know, is that every now and again you may find that you look a lot like a junkie.  (Unless you are a junkie and then you’ll probably find yourself pissed at me for writing this article).  The distinction between Junkie and ITP patient is pretty dam small.   I don’t have anything against junkies.  They have always got funny stories for me and have brightened the character cast of Orange is the New Black for three great seasons now… I digress.  Looking like a junkie is just another fact of ITP that doctors fail to mention.

Reasons you might look like a junkie are as follows – Track marks – Tired eyes –  Mood swings – Late nights – Nausea – Thin, Fragile Skin – Hallucinations – Liver Damage – Confusion and finally, Paranoia.  Ok, I can’t help with the paranoia.  I find, most of the time when people think everyone is out to get them, it is normally true.  But for the rest of it, there is hope..

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Stretching before bed with ITP

ITP and sleep

Why Should You Stretch Before Bed?

 

Stretching before bed not only calms your body and mind before sleep, it releases tension in your muscles and draws them into relaxing.  Stretching has known to be benificia for thousands of years.  Did you know that the asansa of yoga where practices as a means to stretch out the body before meditation and pary.  Prepares the body and mind for relaxation, clear heads and focuses mind – relaxed and stress free.

One of the side effects for many medications is inability to sleep.

“Stretching in the evening is just as important as in the morning, which is when most people think about doing it,” says Laurel, Maryland acupuncturist Allison Vaccaro.

“Like acupuncture, stretching helps break up stagnation and encourages movement throughout the channels. Stretching in the evening helps loosen the muscles that haven’t been used during the day. Many people spend their evenings sitting on the couch watching TV. Some hit the gym first thing in the morning, then sit at a desk all day. These routines prime the body for stiffness, and can produce pain at night and upon waking.

“Patients of mine who follow my advice to stretch at night report better sleep quality, and less pain and stiffness in the morning.”

Seven Simple Stretches for Sleep

Start at your feet, toes even and work up the body so that you know you have stretched out your entire body.  the whole sequence should only take a couple of minutes.  Should not be about flexability or how far you can go.  Should be a focus on slowing down your body and preparing for sleeping.

1. Feet

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2. Calves

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3. Thighs

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4. Legs

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5. Hips

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6. Back

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7. Neck

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