I started feeling bad around Halloween of 2007. I thought that it was just the flu or a sinus infection because I was having such bad headaches. I would feel fine for a day or two then all of the symptoms would return.
By the first week of December of that year, I had had enough of the pain and the feeling weak so I finally made an appointment with my family doctor to get checked out. By this point, I had to have someone drive me to the doctor’s office because I was having such bad headaches and I was having a hard time seeing. This would have been on December 6, 2007 that I finally went in to see the doctor. They checked my vital signs and my blood pressure was through the roof. I can't remember the exact numbers, but it was around 200 over 100 something. They asked if I had taken any decongestant medication and of course I had since I thought it was a sinus problem. Since my blood pressure was so high, they sent me home with some blood pressure medication and a note for my job that had me off work for two days.
By the time I went back to work two days later, I was feeling even worse and my vision and headaches were putting me though agony. The rest of the night is kind of a blur. I can't remember everything that happened, but what I do remember is being close to passing out and then I was in the EMT room at work. They wouldn't let me drive home, so I had to call my dad to come and get me. On the way home, my dad decided to go ahead and take me to the emergency room to get checked out, and I'm glad that he did. I don't like going to the doctor, but I was not arguing with him. I wanted anything that would make me feel better. When I got to the ER they did the standard tests, blood, urine, etc. After they had given me some meds and all the tests were done, they sent me home. We live about 45 minutes from the emergency room and at this time we were starting a very heavy ice storm. Before we could even get back to my mom and dad's house, my mom had called my cell phone and said that the ER nurse just called and wanted me back at 10:00 that morning. The next morning when we were getting ready to leave the ice storm had made the roads terrible and since my parents lived in the country, it was even more difficult to make it to the ER. My mom called the hospital to tell them the situation and asked what we should do. The ER nurse that she spoke to said that I had to get up there, my test results showed that there was something wrong with my kidneys. We finally did make it up to the ER and they informed me that I was pre-admitted to Stormont Vail in Topeka, KS.
When we finally made it to Topeka, the hospital was waiting for me and they were running every test they could come up with. No one knew what was wrong with me. I was dehydrated, my vision was worse, my headaches had intensified and I started noticing even more of the red pin prick rash (petechiae). They had a kidney specialist and a hematologist study my tests and on the morning of December 10th, 2007 I was diagnosed with TTP. That afternoon I was having a catheter put in my neck and that evening I had my first plasmapheresis treatment.
I was in the hospital for 10 days, had treatments almost every day, (the only day I did not have a treatment was the day I had a kidney biopsy) and finally on December 19th, I was released from the hospital. I had to return for treatments every day for the first week, and every other day for the next week. They slowly took me off of treatments and my blood counts finally went back to normal.
I'm very grateful to everyone who was involved with finding my diagnosis, the doctors and nurses that had to put up with me in the hospital (I was a very difficult patient) and I'm very grateful to my family for helping me though the most terrifying experience of my life. It has been 3 years since I was diagnosed and I'm doing great. I have not experienced any relapses at this point and also for that I am very grateful.