September is ITP Awareness Month and I want to tell you why this particular cause is important to me.
I was diagnosed with Idiopathic (or Immune) Thrombocytopenic Purpura in 2005. Since then, my life has changed quite a bit, mostly for the good. How can that be, you may ask. Well, I'll tell you.
First off, ITP is an autoimmune blood disorder. My immune system decided it didn't like my platelets anymore and started painting big bulls-eye targets on them. The platelets didn't stand a chance and my white blood cells killed off the poor little things one by one until I was left with a platelet count of 4000 (normal range starts at 142,000). If I hadn't gone to the hospital the day I did, I probably wouldn't be here to bore, I mean inform you of this disease.
That was the bad part....now for the good.
I thought I was the only person in the world with this weird disease but I have found so many other wonderful people with ITP who have become good friends. My world expanded through the Facebook support groups and the knowledge gained through research and communication with fellow ITPers brought about a better understanding of myself.
Another benefit from getting sick was having to find another way to make some money since I couldn't work at a 'real' job anymore. I became a writer. I'm not making a living but I'm enjoying what I'm doing and again have met so many fantastic people who have taught me so much about writing and publishing my work. I respect them all and consider every one a good friend.
The most satisfying benefit was being able to combine both of these groups and writing a book about ITP entitled Heartaches and Miracles. There were no support groups when I was first diagnosed and I had no idea what was going on. It was pretty scary going through relapses and various treatments not knowing what to expect. There are no cures for ITP, only treatments and some of the treatments are worse than the disease. Hopefully, sharing my experiences and the experiences of fellow ITPers will help others to be more knowledgeable and forewarned.
Plus, no one knows about ITP unless you or a friend/family member get the blood disorder. My mission is to spread the word and make ITP better known so more research will be done. The Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA) leads the way in the USA in funding ITP research and supporting ITPers .
For the month of September, ITP Awareness Month, I am going to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Heartaches and Miracles to the PDSA. I'd appreciate if you all will help out in raising money for ITP research by sharing this blog post and maybe getting a copy of the book. It's available in print and ebook - info and links can be found here.
It takes everyone working together to achieve the goal of possibly finding a cure for ITP and other autoimmune disorders. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and for supporting us during ITP Awareness Month.
Here's an article I wrote about ITP for Yahoo Voices. I'm rather proud of it.