Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Illness Progression

Hello after a brief absence.! My return will be brief as I will be gone until June 5, but I wanted to provide you with an update. A recent trip was cut short due to the dramatic appearance of petechiae covering my legs. This developed after a 2-week period of increased activity.

Cirrhosis (often found in patients with advanced HCV) causes a low platelet count, also known as thrombocytopenia. Platelets are a type of blood cells which help form blood clots. If you have thrombocytopenia, you tend to bleed easily; bruises appear after a small bump and when you cut yourself, more bleeding occurs than in a healthy person. As HCV progresses, the liver becomes more cirrhotic - most of us know what a normal liver looks and feels like as we have seen them from chickens, etc. A person with cirrhosis has a somewhat shrunken liver that is rock-hard. This extensive liver damage causes a decrease in platelets AND also causes platelets to become malformed and unusable for clotting. When this occurs, petechiae can develop - most often on the legs and chest. The petechiae I have is confined to my lower legs and it's a big red flag to rest, rest, rest. I have to let my bone marrow do the hard work of making platelets, which requires good nutrition, sleep and being more sedentary. As this occurs, I find that I experience bone pain as well as becoming extremely tired; so tired I can't keep my eyes open and sleep a LOT.

So, that's the update for now. I did take a picture of my leg which is on the top right. That is what thrombocytopenia can do to a person with HCV. This is a fairly new development and is indicative of a decline in my condition.