No apologies, just a slow and steady stride to the finish line.
I was seven years old when my parents got the news that I had ITP. I had been feeling very tired and getting unexplained bruising. The extreme tiredness worried my mom most. I was admitted to a children’s hospital where I stayed for two months. No treatment, and my body started producing platelets again. That was 1979. I got on with my life.
In 2004, at age 31, I got a stomach bug which lasted a few days. Nothing unusual there, but I couldn’t seem to shake it and over five days I just got weaker. I was admitted to the hospital on day six, where they discovered I had AIHA – auto-immune hemolytic anemia. I had a virus and my immune system started attacking both the virus and my red cells. My red cell count was at 3,000 and I needed 11 blood transfusions and huge amounts of steroids and other drugs to keep me alive. I developed acute chronic fatigue and many other horrible side effects from the steroids, but after about a year I could say I was living normally again with no lasting damage.
Then strike three. In 2017, at age 45, I started noticing bruising. I went for a blood test and got a phone call from my doctor at 9:30 that evening. I needed to go straight to the hospital. My platelets were being destroyed and my count was less than 10,000. ITP again. This time they started steroid treatment right away and my platelets came up. But over the next two months, as we started to reduce steroids, my platelets dropped again and after four months I started on eltrombopag. I am still on that a year later.