Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One year ago

One year ago today, a doctor called me at 6am (which we didn't hear) and then again 8am to tell me to go to the emergency room immediately.

Where should I go?

The nearest emergency room.

And so I went. Not to the closest one, I'll admit. But to the one that my primary care doctors were affiliated with, the one where a friend works, the one that I knew exactly how long it would take us to get to in rush hour traffic.

And the ER docs and residents and med students were intrigued. I've only seen a few episodes of House, but I felt like I was on it. A huge mystery. Group after group of doctors and students stopped by to see the petechiae covering my torso, to hear my story, to ask me questions. My diagnosis of ITP, or low platelets, occurs in approximately 2 out of 100,000 adults so I was a good learning opportunity.

A normal person has about 150,ooo-300,000 platelets (per million) and I had 3,000. They were worried about internal bleeding and I had a headache. Late in the evening, after about 12 hours in the ER, I had a CT scan. And after that, they started talking about cancer.

As in they weren't certain, but would be pretty surprised if it wasn't.


I went on some pretty heavy meds. My platelets had to get up so I wouldn't bleed out in surgery--the lymphectomy and bone marrow biopsy which would stage my cancer.

Several nights in the hospital. More meds. My veins couldn't take it. It was so painful.

The surgery. More pain but at least this time I had morphine.

Abel and my parents were my rocks.

I desperately missed Lucas.

Pathology came back: no cancer. None. Nothing.

A miracle?

I went home.

Spent the summer on steroids; being tested for all sorts of other conditions; getting infusions in the chemo lab where I felt guilty every time I walked in with my full head of hair. Guilty and relieved at the same time. Because that wasn't me.

I think now, now when my last blood test showed my platelets at 240,000 (normal!), now I am finally dealing with the emotional implications of those days in the hospital. Those days when I felt certain that I'd be bald for my friend's wedding. When I composted my "I have cancer" post in my head. When I resolved to fight like hell for Lucas's sake.

It seems like so long ago. And I know everything is fine. Will be fine.

But, still. It could have been me. And that is a lot to deal with.


  1. I know that fear and hope you are doing well! My oldest son (now six, 2-1/2 at the time) went to bed one night with a few normal looking bruises on his legs and woke up the next morning covered in bruises and petechia that continued to grow in number as I looked at him. In the ER they diagnosed ITP and wanted to keep admit because his platelet count was just 15,000, dangerously low, but he was in a total panic, throwing himself around the room, so they decided to send him home after receiving an injection of WinRho. We had months of follow up to make sure his counts returned to normal. He's fine now, but we still have to report the condition to the school in case he ever has a repeat.

  2. I am so glad you are ok. I know that fear well.

  3. Glad it's all over now. When I was in college I had ITP while I also had a mono. My numbers got as low as 1800 and was hospitalized for a week and had steriods for about a year.
    So glad to have that put in the past!

  4. Wow, I can't believe that it's been a year since this happened. So glad that you're better now!

  5. So glad you are doing better now. I can't believe it's already been a year. You are one strong woman!!

  6. Tears. Tears. Tears. Memories. It felt like the world grinded to a halt when they thought you had cancer. It WAS a miracle when you found out you didn't. You are the best sister ever. Best mother, too. The world is a better place with you as a healthy and functioning member of it. I love you.

  7. You are amazing! Sending tons of hugs and am glad you aren't where you were a year ago today.

  8. Thought about it all day. Never want to do week over again!Ironically, today one of our school volunteers asked how you were doing. I am sure she had no idea that it had been a year.Of course, I still have times of anxiety wondering if it really can be all resolved. Sure glad to see mylfieasitis and andrea's comments, to know others had just a one time bout with ITP and are now "cured". You and Abel were amazing through it all. We have lots to celebrate this weekend! Love, Mom

  9. How incredibly scary! I have a friend whose daughter got ITP after tonsil surgery and her journey was exactly the same. Just terrifying. Thank God for happy endings!

  10. Holy crap - that is really scary. Glad everything was ok.

  11. My first time here on your blog, came by way of Mamalaw where you left a comment (sorry nosy Latina in da house!) Was scrolling thru when I found this post. I am so happy it wasn't cancer and that you are better! Don't know your faith but I do believe that God is still in the miracle making business! Now enjoy your family and live it to the fullest! Ms. LatinaHappy Mother's Day by the way!


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