You guys know me. I have a super cruddy immune system. If it’s anywhere in my vicinity, I catch it. My kids, thank goodness, did not get my immune system. In fact, I think I’ve created a superhuman with a powerful immune system that kills everything in it’s path. That’s what has happened with my youngest son Parker.
A little over a week ago, my perfectly healthy 22-year-old woke up with a bunch of bruises all over his body. And his gums bled really bad when he brushed his teeth. The first day, he didn’t think much about it, except that there seemed to be big knots under the bruises.
After L.A., I’d gone to Colorado to work on a couple of special projects. Parker texted me pics of the bruising, and I sent his butt to the doctor. The next morning we found out he had ZERO platelets in his blood. As in if he bumped into something hard or cut himself, he’d bleed out quickly. They rushed him to a hematologist/oncologist, who did a bone marrow biopsy and quickly admitted him to the hospital. That was last Thursday.
They tried giving him platelets and steroids, but it only made his condition ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Pupura) worse. Basically, something (probably a virus) triggered his immune system and his spleen started eating all of the platelets, not just the broken ones. After four days of that treatment they switched to IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin). It basically takes the antibodies from a thousand different people, puts them in a bottle and is given to my kid through an IV.
Crazy, but it seems to be working. His counts in a just a few days have jumped from 5000 to 64,000. A healthy person has about 350,000 – 450,000 platelets. Still they talked about removing his spleen, but they aren’t sure. It depends on if the IVIG continues to work.
Yesterday, there were rumors that he was doing so well he might get to go home today. Then that dreaded kick in the head happened. Another test came back showing spots on the lungs. Our hope is that those are just swollen nodes, much like the rest of the ones on his body. They can’t be sure until they do another one. That particular scan had been of his stomach, which has the swollen nodes as well. They just happened to see the spots on his lungs.
So now we wait for that, and the results of the bone marrow which still haven’t come in. The waiting sucks. It’s helped by visits from friends, and the wonderful Tweets, Facebook comments and personal emails. You guys have no idea how comforting it is to have so many people care about Parker and our family. We appreciate your kind words, prayers and thoughts. We’ve needed them.
He’s a strong, incredibly fit kid. And the doctors think he’s going to be just fine. But it’s scary as hell and I hope it never happens to you. Really. My heart goes out to every parent with a sick kid. Whether is the cold and flu, or something more serious, I feel your pain. I get it. It’s scary as hell.
They don’t know what set all this in motion, I wish I could tell you how to protect your kids from it. But now you know some of the symptoms and I hope this helps someone else.