Monday, October 8

Update: A New Autoimmune Disease

My platelet count was re-checked today, and they were at 8,000. For a refresher, last Monday they were 10,000 and Friday they were 18,000. Mistakenly, we thought that the 18,000 mark was a sign that they had "doubled," and were on the rise. Turns out that that is also a terribly low number, and once you're that low they bounce around in the neighborhood of eight to twenty thousand, depending on the hour of the day they draw the lab. (Wish I would've known that last Friday, ha!)

So after speaking with my doc, the good news to share is that still and again, my bone marrow looks very healthy (woohoo!). There are no problems and no issues with it, my body is making it just like it should, and that is all well and dandy. The bad news is that this low platelet thing is not because of anything else (bone marrow issue, lingering virus), but a new autoimmune disease: ITP. Idiopathic or Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura. As my doc explained, it used to be called "idiopathic," as in, "We don't know the cause." Nowadays it is considered an autoimmune disease - the body attacking itself. When I asked if it was indeed ITP that I have, and he explained that history, I laughed and said, "Well at least they blame it on the body now, instead of saying, 'it's all in your head!'" That's good I guess :)

I explained that possibility in my last post. Not much more to say about it, other than I am going to investigate around my Paleo sphere and see if anyone out there doing Paleo AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) has this too!

I will get a call from the infusion center tomorrow, about starting the treatment for this: a weekly shot of Romiplostim. It will stimulate my body to make more platelets, so that even with my spleen destroying a bunch through confusion in my immune system, there will be enough platelets to have a healthy, clotting blood and not at risk for hemorrhaging and such. That's a good thing!
They would not normally proceed to this step right away, because the traditional treatment is to remove the spleen. But they do not like to do that in people with liver disease (such as myself). The spleen's function is so important, especially with a compromised liver, so I appreciate and understand that. I have been such a pincushion lately, I am grateful I do not have to undergo a major surgery right now :)

I'm certainly not looking forward to these shots, and haven't even begun to consider how we'll afford the bills - ah, patented Rx drugs, how expensive you are... and just when Hubs and I are starting to plan our first vacation ever.
But I am looking at this as a temporary set back. It is so important to keep that mindset in the tough times of life - battles are temporary, rough patches are just seasons. We must never forget that we have the victory through Christ, and God always has our best in mind. This is just a chapter; this is not the end of my story!

Jesus has a purpose for me, and for this chapter - just like all the chapters each one of us walks through in life.

So many of you are praying and believing with me - thank you for that! Here is the most specific thing you cam agree with me on: that my immune system will be healed, and begin to function the perfect way it was created to function - fighting off the bad, and leaving my body (the good!) alone! It is amazing that the confusion and "misfiring" in my immune system is the root of ALL (yep - ALL!) my health issues. My immune system set up attack on my colon (ulcerative colitis), my bile ducts in my liver (primary sclerosing cholangitis), my joints (polyenthesitis), food and other things in my blood (leaky gut, allergies, intolerances, asthma). When my immune system in healthy and whole again, I will be a new woman!

Thank You God for abundant life, no matter what the situation looks like - John 10:10.
Thank You for giving me the power to choose my response, and the grace to choose JOY today  :)

And thank you to my beautiful friend Emily, for reminding me of this truth:

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.
-2 Corinthians 4:17