Our ITP journey all started in late March of 2016. This is when Bob (Cayden's dad) and I noticed a lot of bruising on him in abnormal places. With no explanation of why the bruises were there, we sort of just blamed it on the fact that Cody and Cayden play together all the time (those things boys love, Football and Wrestling) and we thought maybe Cody was just a little too rough. After all Cody is 16 and Cayden was only 5 (at the time).
During Spring Break, the family always spends time at Christmas Mountain in the Wisconsin Dells. When there, we swim a lot. One of the days prior to swimming, Cayden was sitting on his Nana's lap without a shirt on and I noticed and purple (perfect circle) bruise right in the middle of his chest. At this time all of us (the entire family) became confused and concerned, but we continued our vacation as Cayden had no complaints.
By the time we were home from vacation, Cayden was covered in bruises. I called his pediatrician (whom I used to work for), Dr. Rodriguez, and he wanted to see Cayden right away. Bob and I took Cayden in to see Dr. Rodriguez and he noticed a lot of bruising and petechiae (small red or purple spots caused by bleeding into the skin). The doctor ordered blood work, STAT. We left the clinic after the blood draw and went straight into prayer. We kept telling ourselves and remained faithful, knowing nothing serious could be wrong with our baby.
In the meantime, Dr. Rodriguez prepared us for the worse. With me working in the healthcare field, all I could think of was that nasty "C" word. It only took the Dr. about five minutes to call with the news, but it seemed like 25 hours had passed. We will never forget what Dr. Rodriguez had to tell us. The conversation went like this, "I regret having to tell you this Jenni and Bob, but Cayden's platelet count is severely low. It is only 7,000." The normal platelet count is somewhere between 150,000-450,000. This is when both Bob and I began to weep uncontrollably. Dr. Rodriguez did his best to comfort us over the phone and went on to explain the next steps. He explained that he needed to call a pediatric hematologist in Milwaukee WI and that he would get back to us as soon as he could. We ended our conversation at that time with him telling us to pack a bag, just in case we had to leave right away.
Waiting for Dr. Rodriguez to call us back was quite possibly what eternity feels like. Dr. Rodriguez called back and advised us that we would need to be at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital by 8:00 am the following morning. Bob and I did our best to comfort one another, finished packing, and then stayed in continuous prayer for the remainder of the night. Being that Bob had to work the next day my Mother, Bernadine Hoover, made arrangements in order to be with me for the appointment in Milwaukee.
It was on April 19th 2016 when Cayden was officially diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, better known as ITP. While in Milwaukee that day, Cayden went through many tests. Having your child diagnosed with anything is traumatizing, but we were so grateful to find out that it was not cancer (this was of course our worst fear). We then set out to find out what exactly ITP is. The doctors explained to us that Cayden could not do all of his sports until his platelets increased. Just imagine telling your 5-6 year old boy, what this means is; NO recess, NO gym, NO horseplay with your big brother, etc…
Cayden was put on a 5 day course of Prednisone. This helped to raise his platelets up to 75,000, but they soon crashed again. They tried him on three different courses of Prednisone, but his platelets never rose above 75,000. Through all of this Cayden had to endure countless blood checks. He does so well with this. He never cries and just takes it so well. One of the scariest times was, Saturday, June 25th of 2016. Cayden woke with blood everywhere on his face. There wasn’t a source that I could find anywhere, but his face was covered. I called the hematologist on call and she said to report to the nearest emergency room. We took him to the Beloit Emergency room and soon found out that his platelets were down to 10,000. They talked of transferring him, via ambulance, to Milwaukee, but Bob and I talked with the Doctor and they allowed us to take him in the car. This was when Cayden endured his first infusion. For this, we spend the night at the hospital. The hospital staff had to run the infusion super slow in case there were any side effects. Once again, Cayden was a champ! No tears, and most importantly, no negative reactions to the IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin).
In the past and during our first several weeks of Cayden being diagnosed with ITP, he has had numerous bouts of strep throat. His hematologist decided he should undergo a tonsillectomy, just in case the ITP was being caused from the strep throat. The tonsillectomy was performed on August 4th 2016. I am sad to say it was quickly discovered that this was not the cause, because his platelets dropped again. Cayden has had a total of three IVIG infusions. His platelets continue to drop and since he has now had ITP for greater than six months, he has what they refer to as chronic ITP.
Bob and I believe in miracles. We know that the Lord hears every single prayer that is being said for our little man. We are praying for a CURE, we need a CURE!!! We are begging for it.
Cayden, our strong little boy, just wants to be the normal boy. One that can play football and wrestle whenever he wants. Not just when his platelet levels are up. Not just when his doctors say it’s okay.
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