Tuesday, January 08, 2013
About a year ago my son went in for his physical. He had just turned 17. They did a routine blood draw. The results were unsettling. His platelet count was well below normal ( meaning his blood was not clotting properly). Since then my son has his blood drawn anywhere from every other day to every other week and is now followed by a hematologist at Children's hospital. They suspect he has Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). In his case it appears he is producing platelets but his body is destroying them. They think he probably had a virus and his body attacked the virus but then began to attack itself. The nature of ITP is that the platelet levels fluctuate. A normal person has a platelet count of 200-400. My son's average is about 80 and it is currently 66. When his levels drop below 75, he cannot participate in any contact sports. He is the varsity goalie and plays club year round and wants to play in college. His whole identity is tied up with soccer. He is a state champion goalie. he has played since he was 4 years old. He truly loves the sport. There is no drug he can take and the doctors don't intervene until it drops below 50 and then they do a transfusion (not without risk). So the main thing you do is "wait and see" and monitor. It sucks. It really, really sucks. Breath in. Breath out. Don't we all want to protect our children?