September is ITP Awareness Month

While recently chatting with a friend, I mentioned that our son, Mike, has ITP. My friend looked at me as if I had just spoke in a foreign language.

“ITP, what in the world is that?”

ITP is the abbreviation for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, which is a rare bleeding disorder characterized by a low amount of platelets in the blood. Our platelets are needed for clotting of the blood. ITP is an autoimmune disease the can result in the destruction of platelets. People with ITP often bruise easily and/or bleed easily. There is not one specific cause of this disease.

We first found out about this condition when our Mike was in his late teens. He started with what looked like a rash on his body and extreme fatigue. No amount of rest and hydrating seemed to help. He went to the doctor and they sent him to the hospital. That was very scary to our son and to us, because we had no idea about ITP.

The hospital stay and i.v. treatments finished and he still had low platelets. A medical oncologist saw him and prescribed a regimen of Rituxan. Even though Mike didn’t have cancer, Rituxan is sometimes used for treatment of ITP. Some cases of ITP are so severe that the spleen has to be removed. We are thankful for the doctors that helped Mike.
Mike went to the hospital weekly and received the i.v. treatments. He finally felt a bit better.

Platelet counts have to be monitored and any sign of bruising, petechiae(tiny red dots on the skin) and extreme fatigue mean there could be a low count. When the platelets are low, even shaving can be a problem, as any cut can cause excessive, dangerous bleeding.

Mike is feeling well now and we are thankful to God. But, Mike has to be alert to any symptoms of ITP.

September is ITP Awareness month. Purple is the designated color to wear to support people with ITP.  There are still many people who have never heard of this condition. Also, there are more people with this condition than we ever knew.

So, if anyone tells you that they or someone they know has “ITP”, you will know what they are talking about.


melissahendersonMelissa Henderson lives in Mechanicsville, VA. She was born in Hampton and has lived in various cities in VA. She and her husband, Alan, have been married for over 37 years and have one son(Mike) who is married to daughter-in-love(Christine). Melissa was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age, from her parents. She is now working on her first inspirational fiction novel. Her passions are volunteering, Bible Studies and reading and writing.

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