Cade and familyCade had just turned 3 when diagnosed with ITP in May of 2018. This diagnosis came after a year of wondering and questioning why he had so many bruises. My husband and I were not the only ones inquisitive about the number of bruises he had. There were concerned family members, school personnel, friends and neighbors. I had been telling his pediatrician that the number of bruises did not match what we thought would be normal for an average two-year-old boy. I would pick him up from preschool and he would have huge hematomas and blood streaks (what I now know as petechia) all over his head, neck and body. His teacher’s common response was “Cade never cried; I don’t think he got hurt in class today.” But he looked like he had been badly beaten. It was very common for Cade to have fingerprints up and down his arms from wrestling with his sisters and cousins or from me holding his arm to cross the road. He also would get bruises on his shoulders from wearing his backpack and his legs were all shades of blue, black and purple. I am sure many people thought we were abusing our child and I was often embarrassed when his bruises were exposed during the summertime when wearing shorts or a swimsuit.

To say it had already taken an emotional toll would be an understatement. Little did I know, this was the beginning of our journey. I started to document in my mind his injuries and bruises. There was one evening, the bruises just did not match the injury. It was very difficult seeing these bruises during his bath time becaus you could see them up and down his back, on his ears, fingers, etc. So then like every well-educated mom I began to google. Words like “leukemia, blood cancer, genetic disorders, petechia” soon filled the screen of the computer and consumed my thoughts. The next day I was getting Cade from the van and the sun was shining on his entire body. I realized at that point Cade had petechia all over his body. (Which took me about 2 months to say right!) I immediately called my mom (who is a retired nurse) and told her what I observed. She said he needed to be seen immediately. The pediatrician saw him right away and began to count the bruises. 36 in total and I remember thinking he looked better than usual. Tears poured down my face and fear crept into my body. I looked at my husband and had no words to say. The physician told us to go directly to the lab and they would call us within the hour with his blood results. I said a big prayer, googled some more, and then called my mom (priorities) The phone finally rang with results that would change our lives. They couldn’t tell us exactly what the results meant but that Cade had 7(000) platelets and needed to go directly to the ER to be examined.

Fast forward... Cade has now turned 5, endured over 150 finger pricks, 8 infusions, 1 bone marrow biopsy and numerous genetic tests. We now refer to his blood as “batman blood” and that he is just a little different than most. Despite these challenges we have never lost our faith and truly believe we are going through this for a reason. We may never understand the “why” but will always trust God has in hands all over our situation. It is for this reason that we feel comfort and peace amongst a storm. We are so very grateful for our family and friends who have supported us over the years and of course adore our “lab” family and those on the hematology team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.


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