ITP does not discrimate when it strikes its next victim. It affects the young and old, rich and poor all over the world. Dealing with this blood disorder is no easy task. The fear and frustration of not knowing where the roller coaster will take us next can be daunting.

This blog is for ITPers to express thoughts, feelings and lessons learned during their ride. Send your post to We want to hear from you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rachel Pagano Chahir is a very familiar name to many folks. She has been a voice on many of the ITP Support Groups and has helped us to see this disease through her eyes.

Rachel is also very busy spreading the word about ITP and made "GOT PLATELET HATS" to share with us. Through this endeavor, she also set us a contribution page through PDSA to raise funds during ITP Awareness Month. If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, check out her donor page at

Another project under way is the 

Rachel and Linda Guy McGuirl are going to have a table set up at the festival with information on ITP. 
It will be on Sunday, September 23 at St. Patrick's Basilica Youth Center, 268 Mulberry Street (between Houston and Prince) New York City.

The American Red Cross will be there for folks to donate blood. Blood is in short supply. Call 1-800-Red-Cross to make an appointment or to get information sent to you. All donors will receive free cannoli! 

Join in with the fun, food and festivities at the San Gennaro Feast, learn a little something and donate some blood while you're there too.


My name is Rachel Pagano-Chahir, I was born in Long Island to an Italian-American family and then by two years old we came back to Brooklyn where our relatives lived and we could have a real sense of neighborhood. From my early childhood I always knew I wanted to help, so I decided I was either going to become a Nun or go into medicine. I chose the later and became an RN in 1981. This was a dream come true cause I had a job that I really loved and gave me great pleasure. I found great comfort in helping others get well, understanding their conditions and being able to to heal. As I kept a very busy pace working 3 days a week 12 hour shifts, caring for a disabled husband, a mother who had cirrhosis of the liver and my father who had early dementia and raising my son, while volunteering for McDonald house foster home program & Covenant house, it wasn't unusual that at times I felt very tired and fatigued.

What surprised me the most was when in December of 2002 I was hanging my decorations for the Christmas season, when I slipped off a ladder and slid down, I didn't think much of it. Getting dressed the next morning my entire leg was black not on one spot you could see my skin, thinking I must have had bad fall then, I continued on my day. As I brushed my teeth, blood started to squirt out from the inside corner where your jaw meets, again I said what? and in a hurry I dealt it off to a period problem..Later that day at work I felt completely cold especially my hands and feet. It went on for days like this and the bruise on my leg wasn't clearing. I went my GP who was a co-worker and friend and she said, of course you are runned down, look at the schedule you keep, the fall you took, you really need to eat better and make sure you take your vitamins. Well we left it at that.

After months of me becoming a walking "poster woman for domestic abuse" because of all the bruising I finally said I think its time for a second opinion and looked to get in with a hematologist. Much to my surprise his first reaction was I think you have "ITP" but I would like to run more test and do a Bone Marrow to rule out the "L' conditions. My world and the life that I had lived changed from that day forward...I didn't get diagnosed till 2006 andstarted treatments IVIG, steroids. I had an TIA and partial loss of vision in my left eye, I was depressed, weak and fatigued. I spent most of my days laying down or sitting and could only do things for a short time. I had brain fog. 

How can this happen to me I said? I'm the one that takes care of everyone, now I'm on the other side and this wasn't my life anymore, it was an ITP life. Trying to gain some control I opted to have a spleenectomy 8/15/12 at age 52. Well after 3 months, it didn't work I'm back to being refractory. I will not give up, but if ITP is what I have to live with I am going to direct my anger, my sadness, my caring nature to spreading awareness to those that might have and don't know and to the world and doctors that need to learn and push for more research.

Thus for September ITP awareness month, my son who does graphic design and studying Architecture helped me put together ITP Awareness caps "GOT PLATELETS?" So we can spread the word and bring the nation of rare blood disorders. They are my way of giving back to PDSA & fellow ITP'ers and support groups for their unending hope, knowledge and support.


  1. Stand up Sister & tell the world about this! I'm there standing next to you!

  2. Some people say everything that happens in our life has a reason, I believe "ITP" came to me for a reason, as much as it has completely changed my life and has caused physical & mental suffering, it actually has been a blessing, cause my purpose in life has changed, my fight is everyones fight that has ITP, it has beckoned me to speak out and cause awareness and change, to show the unbelievers who stare that there IS an invisible illness, and to wake-up doctors who arent familiar to ITP to search for it sooner when there are symptoms, and for more research and encourage others that their is always hope. Most of all being an only child ,living with no family I was gifted with an Ark Angel and the true meaning of having a brother and his name is Hap Hapner. For this gift of knowing brotherhood, the joyful tears that this feeling has touched my heart to be accepted, I dont fear my journey with ITP anymore, rather I have realized the lesson and gifts it has given me. Its not my body that matters but its my life how I lived it , who has touched my heart and made a difference and what I have done or touched that made a difference.
    Thank You Hal Hapner you standing by me.