Friday, June 5, 2009


As many of you know (sorry if there are any who don't!) Chase has been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. Idiopathic = of no known cause thrombocytopenic = low platelet count purpura= bruising (basically).
In mid April, Chase noticed small (really small, like pin head small) red dots covering his lower legs. Next was blood blisters in his mouth, fatigue, and most recently, unexplained bruising on his arms, legs, and inner thighs. Some bruises are as big as my hand. Once the bruises started appearing, we decided it was something more serious than stress that was causing them. We prayed and felt like Chase should see a doctor.
So in a nutshell… (a large nutshell and a very simple biology lesson – pardon if it is not 100% correct)
White blood cells = defenders of the immune system
Red blood cells = carriers of oxygen to body tissue
Platelets = clotting agent to help stop bleeding (made in the bone marrow -They have a ‘lifespan’ of around 10 days)
The platelet count usually ranges from 130,000 to 400,000 per liter of blood. Chase’s platelet count is at 4,000. Anything below 10,000 is considered critical. It is very lucky (really a blessing) we went to the doctor when we did. When the platelet count gets this low, there is an extremely high risk of spontaneous bleeding in/from internal organs – especially the brain and the stomach. Platelets are also the things that make blood clot, so Chase’s blood is very thin and when he bleeds, it takes a long time to get it to stop bleeding. Because of these factors, Chase is on complete bed rest at the hospital here in Terre Haute. If things go well, he can come home Saturday, but he could be in the hospital for a week or more.
The doctors are unsure why this is happening. Either his bone marrow has stopped producing platelets or something is destroying them (most likely the spleen/spleen tendril things called splenic macrophages). Chase is currently undergoing some iv treatments of steroids and immunoglobulin (and no, these steroids won’t turn him into a muscle man). Hopefully this will help him and his body produce and/or not destroy platelets.One thing of note is that ITP is not curable but it is treatable. For example, if you have tonsillitis, you remove the tonsils and wa la! you're better. If you have diabetes, you live with it your whole life but you can take medicines to treat and control it. ITP is like diabetes in that regard.
If this treatment plan does not work, there are a few other things that they will try.I'll get to that in the future if needs be. We are praying that his current treatments will work. We miss you all dearly and wish we were closer to home. But we have a strong ward family out here that is taking very good care of us. We love you all and hope this helped a little in understanding what’s going on here. We’ll keep you all updated. Thank you for your prayers, support, and for all of the offers of flying out here to be with us. We recognize the Lord’s hand in our lives and are so thankful that we felt prompted to go in to have Chase checked out. And fyi... Chase is his jovial self, cracking up the nurses and making me smile and roll my eyes.
Love you all. Kori, Chase, and Genevieve
update 6/5 10:30: Chase's platelet count is now at 10,000 - good news! but he is still at a critical level. We hope this keeps working! :)
For it must needs be, that there is opposition in all things (2 Nephi 2:11)
“No one wants adversity. Trials, disappointments, sadness, and heartache come to us from two basically different sources. Those who transgress the laws of God will always have those challenges. The other reason for adversity is to accomplish the Lord’s own purposes in our life that we may receive the refinement that comes from testing.”
(Elder Richard G. Scott, Trust in the Lord, Oct. 1995 - read it, it's really good)