Here a virus, there a virus, everywhere a virus-virus...
Two weeks ago we Jackson's started what we like to call the 'tour de virus'. It started with a virus our computer picked up that basically wiped out everything. Or all the important things...okay, mainly the Internet. Which is important...or something. Heck, what do I know, that's why we hired an expert. It's fixed, that's all I know.
Then, we Jackson's did a little virus sharing of our own and passed around a nasty little bug that took up residence for more than a week. We were hacking, and sneezing, fevering, (among other less than pleasant symptoms) and were generally feeling pretty crappy.
The little miss unfortunately took a turn for the worse. On Tuesday I began noticing some bruising on her backside. I figured she fell pulling her usual Eva-Knievel stunts. By Wednesday, the bruising had worsened and covered a good portion of her body, plus she had some hematomas inside of her mouth. I googled the antibiotic she was on, and it seemed she was having a side effect.
I called the peds office and they urged me to rush her in. The pediatrician looked her over, determined it was not a reaction to her antibiotic, and quickly ordered blood tests, all the while throwing out scary words like Leukemia, ITP, bone marrow cancers, and blood disorders.
The blood came back normal in all areas except platelet levels. A little science lesson for you: platelets are the sticky, disc-shaped-cells produced in the bone marrow. They aid in blood clotting, by dispatching to an injury site and clumping together to form a web to stop the bleeding. A normal platelet count is anywhere from 150,000-400,000. Eva's were below 7,000 putting her in a critical category and placing her at risk for internal bleeding at the slightest injury. Incidentally, she was placed on prednisone, with hopes of suppressing her spleen (the organ that produces antibodies) just long enough until her platelet production could catch up.
Basically, what happened was the white blood cells (the virus fighters in our immune system) began attacking Eva's platelets rather than the virus she had. This is a rare condition known as ITP. It usually occurs in children ages 2-6, and can be an indication of other diseases, or simply the result of unknown circumstances (in Eva's case, a typical virus that went haywire).
I spoke with my s-i-l Jamee (a pediatric RNP in KC) and she told me to be prepared as this is serious, and likely would require hospitalization. Talking to her really helped me to understand what we were dealing with, and get a chance to get my wits about me.
The ped asked us to come back Thursday morning for another platelet check, and her count was again below 7,000...so, she was admitted to the hospital where we would meet with a Hematologist (blood doctor) to discuss her numbers, rule out any other blood disorders, and start a treatment plan.
While at the hospital her count continued to drop to 5,000 and then again to 4,000. At this point, the hematologist felt confident that we were definitely dealing with ITP (which was a relief of sorts) and that while recovery would be slow (typically 3-6 months before platelets fully recover), she would make a full recovery with a treatment plan of prednisone followed by weekly blood draws for the next several months until she fully recovered. We were also given strict instructions, to place her mattress on the floor, remove dangerous toys, and limit outdoor play...especially no playground equipment. While on the prednisone, her immune system is compromised, so we are to be cautious of her being around those who may be ill.
When her platelet count dropped to 4,000, it seemed as though we would be in the hospital for quite a while. The night before her next blood draw, I spent a LOT of time praying. Praying that all of the other numbers would continue to be in the 'normal' range. Praying that her platelets would climb (which the Hematologist told us not to expect). Praying that she would be safe from any small injuries that would compromise her little body.
Then I remembered this verse from Mark 11:24:
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
So, I prayed for one more thing. I prayed specifically that Eva's count would not be what the hematologist would expect. That the count would defy the odds, and that the number would be 10,000 or greater. I prayed that it would be for His glory.
The next morning we did the blood draw and waited. A couple of hours later, the hematologist came in and asked if we had heard the results. We said we hadn't and he said, "Great! I wanted to be the one to share the good news! Eva's platelet count was 20,000!"
Our sweet girl's number went from 4,000 to 20,000! We were so excited and I looked right at the hematologist and said, "I don't know if you are a praying person, but I prayed the platelets would be greater than 10,000 and I know this was God's direct answer to that prayer." He smiled and said, "Well, it looks like it worked, and now you guys can go home."
So, we are home now, a bit nervous, but home. We have the most amazing hematologist. The guy loves blood and is good at his job, so we know Eva is in amazing hands. We will be meeting with him for weekly blood draws for the next few weeks, and if her numbers continue to climb we will move to every other week, and eventually to once a month blood draws to ensure the platelets are consistently stable.
It's likely Eva's numbers will rise and fall over the next few months, and while that is normal, we continue to pray that her numbers will rise quickly and trust that this will be answered prayer.
So...a long story, but that's why I've been gone for a while. It's likely my posts will be a bit skimpy around here as I'm monitoring the little miss, but I hope to get back to posting as I am able.
For more information on ITP, you can visit the below sites...they are written by super-smart people, and do a much better job than I ever could of explaining the ins and outs.
Children's Cancer And Blood Center
ITP Support Association
I hope you all had a wonderful, virus-free weekend!