Interesting Information: October 16, 2013
Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura
One year ago this month, our Kelly and his brother were taking a shower after a soccer game.
Nine year old Bowen wrapped Kelly, then 7 1/2, in a towel and brought him to his parents.
Kelly was covered with bruises–big dark bruises all over his trunk, front and back.
That moment will go down in family history as being one of the darkest.
The feared words lept into everyone’s mind: leukemia, cancer…
But, fortunately, I guess, Kelly had contracted an immune system illness: Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura, or ITP. His body was turning on its own blood platelets and killing them. Kelly was down to about 7,000 when he should have had somewhere around 200,000. HIs doctor wondered how he was walking around, let alone playing a soccer game.
Here’s an explanation from the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics web site:
What is Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura?
Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a platelet disorder in which the body produces antibodies that bind with platelets that are the small, sticky cells of the blood that help the blood clot. The platelet-antibody complex is then destroyed in the spleen or liver. This can occur as a short-term event or can be chronic. Patients who have low platelet counts are more likely to have bleeding with trauma or surgery. Some evidence suggests that ITP is related to an overactive immune system; however, the cause is not clearly understood. The condition happens more frequently following certain viral infections and certain immunizations. It also can be associated with autoimmune disorders such as lupus.
With both parents at his side and his siblings farmed out to nearby family, Kelly went straight into the hospital where doctors tried to trick his body into stopping its immune reaction. The lobster pillowcase went with him. (Kelly picked out these fabrics, and I made the pillowcase.)
Everyone held their breath to see if the treatments would work. to see if this would be an isolated incident or would become a chronic condition that would alter his life forever.
Parents worked to keep him amused, as with this loaded dinner tray–ordered to try to get him to eat as much nourishment as he could. Kels loves mac and cheese and hamburgers.
HIs siblings visited and crawled into the bed with him. And his first cousin Ailey visited as well:
Even Sea Breeze visited:
Thankfully, the treatments did work, and when his platelets had grown to numbers that were not so life-threatening, Kelly was allowed to visit even sicker children and, eventually, to go home himself.
The pillow went, too, but not before many, many people had remarked upon it.
Kelly and his Mom Tami decided they would make more pillowcases and bring them back to the children’s wing of the hospital–and a local quilt store donated fabric. Halloween fabric. Here is Kelly giving a pillowcase to one of the nurses to give to a child.
The pillowcases make a nice story.
But, the real story here is the one that asks “why did this event happen to Kelly?”
Note that ITP is associated with having had a virus recently. Or, a vaccine. Or, certain drugs. And the internet is full of people making associations with aspartame.
The fancy word for an association is a correlation. It’s always important to remember that correlations are not causation–which has to be proven to be called a causation. One thing that is really wrong with our culture today is that all sorts of correlations have been made to seem as if they are causations–like cholesterol and heart disease. Or, saturated fat and heart disease. Or salt and high blood pressure.
In the end, medicine and scientists do not know what is causing ITP. And as near as I could discover, no one is asking about any correlations between toxic chemicals and ITP.
Who would do this work? Who would pay for it? Not industry. Especially not the chemical or drug industries since either might be to blame.
Charleston folks do a lot of lawn spraying and mosquito/bug spraying. Like too many folks today, they seem brain-dead about the effects of this kind of indiscriminate killing. They ignore the fact that lawn chemicals have long lives and get on their children and are tracked indoors. Skin is a very permeable organ.
Mosquitos are sprayed from planes that drop toxic chemicals on everyone and everything. I’ve been told that after such spraying, local bee hives are surrounded by hundreds of dead bees and the beach is littered with dead butterflies. Disrupting a food chain in this way causes a ripple effect that spreads and spreads. Chemical fogging trucks patrol the streets at dusk.
Research shows that we are learning daily that very small amounts of toxic chemicals have long-lasting effects on humans.
It mystifies me why anyone would think that a chemical that kills an insect by harming their nervous system would NOT harm them.
Airplanes sprayed not long before Kelly got sick. Now, there’s a correlation for you.
A year has passed–a year in which Kelly, who was quite fragile for some time after his hospital stay, has grown stronger and more sure of himself. The circles beneath his eyes are gone.
But there remains for me a nagging dread as to what caused Kelly’s very serious illness.
Nothing much has changed in his environment…
And, again, I ask myself, where is the tipping point where people say enough is enough and something has to change. Clearly the tipping point is a long way away when one out of two people now gets cancer, and no one acts.