Friday, August 9, 2013

 It's good news week

 Well, this week is good news week, and the lucky number is 96!  That's a long way up from last week's dismal and scary 20, or the 36 the week before, and eight times better than that terrifying 12 I had a month ago!  So last week's steroid pulse worked.

Never mind that the right side of my face is tight and shiny, puffed up into the beginnings of the dreaded 'pumpkin face' I had for several months back in 2010. Or that my sleep  at night has been badly disrupted, waking to pee, and not getting back to  sleep for an hour or two, or on one really bad night for two and half hours. Plus all the other high steroid side-effects I've already described.  No wonder I've been grumpy lately!

Finding some good in necessity

There has been one unexpected benefit from the pulse and that's been the steroid 'hyper'. While it's a pain at night to have your brain going so fast you think it will take the top off your skull, in the daytime that much energy and ability to think fast is exhilarating. I've completed a huge lot of work over the past two weeks thanks to this amazing source of energy and surprisingly clear thinking. Not creative work, but nit-picking proofreading for commercial clients, which helps to pay for all my expensive supplements and high quality meat and fish protein. That's very satisfying, since I've been stuck at home for so much of the past few weeks and the hyper mood does not allow for quiet reading and listening to music! 

Sudden energy slumps

The downside is the  way that energy suddenly drops, like it fell out of your body down a chasm.  Whump! It's gone, and I'm left drained and brain dead for several hours.  Until the brain starts up again about 10 pm...

A holiday from the pulse

Since my number was so unexpectedly beautiful, my doctor and I agreed on a week's holiday from the pulse.  We'll see if my face goes down, the other side-effects subside to bearable, and more importantly we'll see if next week's blood test shows the platelets up, at the same level, or down.  My doctor thinks we've turned this low patch around.  I'll believe that when we get a run of good results.

On the bright side

 It's so good to be able to sleep again at night!  To wake and go for a pee, come back to bed and zonk straight into dreamland is wonderful!

Walking through the university early in the morning for my weekly bloodtest is always a pleasure, no matter how shaky I feel when I start out. Here's a secluded corner of the uni grounds:

Feedback from fellow ITP sufferers

Last week I had an email from John, who was diagnosed a year ago. It was lovely to have an email conversation with him, especially as he told me he found this blog helpful.  He described the major changes to his life in the 12 months since his diagnosis - " new routines, new worries, learning to adapt to changes in my life" and the fluctuating low platelet numbers. I'm sure I'm not the only person with ITP who can relate to John's experiences! I would love to hear from others about their experience with ITP.  You can email me or simply comment on this blog.

John was hoping that having a weeekly injection of a medicine called N-Plate would bump up his platelet production. He and his doctors are hoping he can get to 75. 


N-Plate's pharmaceutical name is Romiplostim. It stimulates the bone marrow to create large numbers of platelets at a time to overcome the immune system's ability to destroy them.  It is not intended to create a full platelet count but to get the platelets over 50.

In the US, the FDA approved Romplostim as a long-term treatment for adults with ITP  who have not responded to other treatments such as steroids,  intravenous immunoglobulin, Rho(D) immune globulin or a splenectomy. In Australia, it is considered very much a last resort treatment, after everything else has failed.

Good luck with your N-Plate, John. Do let us know if you get to 75 and stay there.

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