The plates.

I'm going to start calling the platelets "the plates" instead. If you are interested in a plate update, feel free to read this entry. If all these annoying medical updates are getting on your nerves, feel free to wait until tomorrow - when I fully intend to make it through a whole blog post without talking about my blood. :)

Until then.....

I had a blood test this morning, went to work, and then returned to Mayo for another heart-warming visit to the hematology department.

Great news! The plates are up to 146,000!
The doctors screened my blood for everything and anything that could possibly be wrong with it - and nothing is wrong with it! The only malfunction seems to be the disappearing platelets which are now returning. So the final diagnosis is, indeed, ITP - Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpra.

Here's a summary of the visit:

The doctor walked in and said: "Great news! You want to guess your platelet count?"

I said: "I think it's 150,000."

He said: "Wow, great guess! It's 146,000. You are responding very well to the Prednisone."

I said: "That's great. So I'm better and I can stop taking it now. And everything will be all back to normal! Thanks doctor."

He said: "No, but we can start to taper your dosage starting tomorrow."

I said: "Oh."

He said: "We can't take you off of it immediately. It's a slow tapering regimine so that your platelets can continue to grow. We will have you come in every Monday for a blood test and see how things are going. I'll call you on Mondays with the results, and then in a month, we'll have another visit here at the office."

I said: "Okay."

He said: "Now, after you get off of Prednisone in a month, there is a good chance that your platelets will go back down. Let's talk about what you'd want to do then. Would you prefer a course of Ritauximab or a spleenectomy?"

(I thought to myself: Good thing I've done a lot of research in the last week so I know what on earth he's talking about.)

I said: "What? I thought my platelets were doing great? See how much they grew in only one week!"

He said: "That's great. We are glad you are responding to the steroids. The problem takes place when we take people off of the Prednisone. It isn't so much the shift from 60mg to 40mg a day. Or even 40mg to 20mg. The problem is going from 10mg or 5mg to zero. It is quite hard to get people off of Prednisone and still keep the antibodies from eating the platelets."

"Oh, I see," I said. "Well, I'd really like to keep my spleen. And I think this is all going to be just fine, and my platelets will have no trouble sticking around."

He said: "Yes, we will hope so. But if you were thinking about a spleenectomy, we'd just go ahead and get all the immunizations going now."

I said: "No thanks. Not at this time."

He said: "Sounds good. We will check back in weekly and then I'll see you in a month."

Then we talked about my new tapering schedule for the steroids. We also chatted about ITP and the different ways that people respond and the different side effects of treatments.

All in all, I'm TOTALLY focusing on the positive news: 146,000 platelets! Yes, I understand my immune system is in hibernation, and that's why the platelets have had an opportunity to grow. Nevertheless, it's still exciting! And I feel confident that all shall be well in no time. I'm just going to grow, grow, grow my platelets.

Have a good afternoon friends! I'm headed back to work and then to a little league baseball game tonight.


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