There are two kinds of people – the kind that go to the doctor and the kind that DON’T. I definitely fall into the second group. I’m very responsible when it comes to my annual mammogram and gynecologist appointments but other than that I avoid the doctor at any cost. I feel that if I let something go long enough it will self correct and everything will be fine. I’m lucky that I really don’t get sick. I had a physical at age 40 and another one right before turning 50, but that’s it.
And then…It all started with me getting alot of significant bruising for no apparent reason. I explained this by saying I was working out and I can be a little clumsy. I got a large bruise on my chest and I just thought I must have bumped myself at work or something. At this point my husband said ” you need to make a doctor’s appointment.” I continued to ignore all of this going about my normal routine. I woke up in the middle of the night and needed to blow my nose and it was bleeding – not just a little but pretty significantly. I’ve never had a nose bleed in my life. At this point I though maybe I should make an appointment so I scheduled one in the next week. A few days later I came home from work and noticed little red dots on the top of my hands and my feet – not raised like a rash but as if someone had taken a red pen and dotted it on my skin. I walked downstairs and said to Paul “something is wrong, really wrong. I need to go to the emergency room now. I had my doctors appointment scheduled for two day from now but nothing was stopping me – I was going to the ER.
W e got to the ER and I explained everything that had been going on and they took blood and started testing. We waited and I expected them to come back with something like anemia and we’d be on our way. Instead, they came back to take more blood and said they were retesting for some things. At this point it’s taking very long and I’m starting to get very scared. “Re-testing to me meant checking for something serious.”
Finally a doctor came in and said they believed I had ITP – ideopathic thrombocytopenia purpura which causes your blood platelets to drop. My platelets were below 2000- normal platelet counts are around 150,000. They explained they had never seen anyone with platelets so low and they were admitting me into the hospital.
WAIT—– WHAT??? I couldn’t wrap my brain around this. So I said ” I’ll go home and come back tomorrow morning.” The doctor looked at me and said ” no you’ll need to stay here in the hospital and you can’t brush your teeth, floss and if you cut yourself or fall you need to press the emergency button immediately.
And then she looked at me and said something that changed my life…..”It’s ok, you’re going to be ok, you don’t have cancer.