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 19, 2013

Hello Everyone! My name is Erica and I have ITP. I've had ITP for 26 years. 
My parents took me to the hospital because my nose was bleeding and I was bruised from head to toe. The doctors had told my parents that I had a rare blood disorder. At the time the doctors didn't know how to treat it. As life went on, I would experience flare ups, some minor, others major. I was never allowed to play sports or do any kind of physical activity. Playing with my brothers and sisters was limited because they were very active. Sometimes all I could do was watch from a window.

As I got older into my teen years I had an episode where my platelet count dropped to three...yeah not three thousand but three. Doctors immediately wanted to remove my spleen (apparently that was the “cure”). My dad refused as he thought there would be a better way. After meeting with numerous doctors he finally found someone who would listen. Her name was Dr. Goldberg, and she started me on prednisone and IVIG. I was in the hospital for two weeks. My platelet count would go up and down but eventually stabilized.

As a child with ITP, I went through a lot of teasing because I had the "moon face". I learned how to laugh it off and move on but more importantly, this is where I formed my relationship with God. For the next few years, I would experience a couple of flare ups but nothing major. At that time I had an excellent Hematologist who kept up with my platelet count.

I later on became a preschool teacher (one of my dreams), but I kept getting sick because of the germs and viruses that was going around. One day, I was outside with my students and my nose began bleeding. My first thought was that I had another drop in my platelet count, so I was pretty scared. That day, I was walking home because I lived around the corner from my job. My husband happened to be on his way home and saw me walking. He described my walk like as if I was about to pass out. But I told him I was okay.

Later in the night as I was getting ready for bed, I looked at my legs and saw they were covered in bruises. I immediately called my husband in the room and said we have to go to the hospital. We went to the hospital and doctors ran some tests. I overheard some of the nurses talking and I heard, "do you want me to tell her or do you want to tell her." I started crying right away because I knew my platelet count was lower then I thought. One nurse came in and held my hand and said, “I don't know how you survived the day.” Confused, I didn't know what to say. She continued to tell me what my platelet count was.


So I had to quit my job (a job I loved) as a teacher and my husband gave me the option of not working altogether. He felt that it was more important for me to be as healthy as possible. He knew that it would be difficult for us financially, but he told me that he would figure it all out. Thankfully, there wasn't that much to figure out.

Now I am 30 and haven't had an episode since. I am always checking and I get my blood checked periodically. Though my hematologist told me I would have this for the rest of my life and it is something I am going to have to keep my eye on, I try to stay positive. I started working out, eating healthy and taking my vitamins. I didn't want to spend a lot of time on the couch so I started my own photography business where I have control over my schedule. I also spend a lot of time with my son who is my little hero (ever since I had him my count has been wonderful).

I must say I owe everything to God because He gives me strength. He gave me my husband and my son, who are my support. He has shown me that I may have this disease but I am not defined by it. ITP does not define me, and I jump at any opportunity to tell others the same.

Stay positive...keep smiling...and I am sending hugs to you all. God Bless.

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