I was diagnosed with ITP when I was eight years old.

I was on a Disney Cruise with my family when my mom noticed big bruises all over my body. We assumed that it was just from being in the pool with other kids, but as the trip continued, we realized the bruises were getting worse and did not seem to be coming from any sort of injury. As soon as I got home, we went to the doctor, and I got bloodwork done to check my platelet count. My pediatrician called my mom and told her to drive to the hospital as soon as possible. There, I was given an IVIG treatment and diagnosed with ITP. When I got home from the hospital, I went to play with my sisters like normal, but my mom rushed in to tell them to be careful around me.

The treatment I received did not seem to be working, and this was the start of a two- to three-year cycle where I returned to the hospital to receive treatment about once a month. I had to miss out on basketball games and gym class, couldn’t ride my bike, and even had to quit dance classes because it was too unsafe for me to be dancing. In middle school, my platelet counts increased, and I was doing a lot better.

At 18, I am healthy, but have to be cautious about many things. When I was 17, they found that my iron was low during one of my routine blood tests, and I had to go to my hematologist to make sure it wasn’t connected to my ITP. All my teachers and friends know that cuts can be dangerous for me. As an incoming college freshman, I had to explain ITP to my future roommate because she would be the one who would need to help me if anything were to happen.

My ITP journey has been hard, but it has taught me that I am very strong.