ITP Warrior - Fatema

About seven years ago I was off from work, so I enjoyed a day out with my friends. I came back home and had just started cleaning my room when I noticed blood on my hands. I started looking at my hands to find where I had cut myself, then noticed my nose was wet and when I wiped my nose, I saw blood. I realized the blood was coming from my nose, so I laid down for a bit. About an hour later I noticed very small, tiny red dots on my feet. I began to worry. A few hours later I tasted blood in my mouth – I knew it was not from my nose but from a tooth that needed to be extracted. It was late at night and the bleeding wasn’t too bad, so the next morning I went to my family doctor. He said he had no clue what was happening to me and sent me to the hospital.

At the hospital, I had blood work done and the doctor explained to me what ITP is, and that my platelet levels were significantly below normal. I was admitted to the hospital right away and given steroids. I stayed at the hospital for a week, but even with the prednisone, my platelets remained low. Every day a nurse came to draw blood and check my CBC, but still no good news. My doctor told me that if I were to have any internal bleeding, he would not be able to give me a blood transfusion because my body was destroying my platelets so quickly.

By the third day at the hospital, I had big bruises on my legs and arms. The next day, my eyes started burning and when I looked in the mirror the corner of my eyes were bright red. I was terrified because I am scared of blood – since childhood I used to faint upon the sight of blood – and even now when I get a small cut, I feel so scared not just from the bleeding but thinking it won’t stop.

My family cooked meals for me while I was in the hospital, and I tried to eat foods that would increase my platelet count, like spinach, kale, broccoli, and fruit. Finally, my platelets were [above 100,000] and I got to go home. But ever since then, before going to the dentist I get my platelet counts checked, and during my pregnancies I monitored my counts as well.

Today, my platelets are in a normal range and I am not on any medication. I hope I stay this way and never end up in that situation again.

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