Just like clockwork, every Monday morning Don went to the clinic to get his blood drawn. With his low platelet count and depending on the skill (or lack) of the technician drawing the blood, sometimes large purple and green bruising would appear on his arms. When I gave him the Interferon injection, I also noticed that he would bleed around the injection sight and for the first time, he complained that he felt it. All of these were symptoms of the low platelet count and the lowered ability his body had to clot his blood.
More statistical information. Normal platelet counts are 140,000 to 400,000. Don's count at the start of treatment was a bit depressed at 113,000. If a platelet count gets into the 30,000 range, the patient is at risk for internal hemorrhage without injury! At this time, the lowest Don's had been counted was 48,000.
By decreasing his Interferon injection amount by 50%, we were hoping that the side effects would decrease. No such luck. Don felt just as ill as he had in the previous weeks. Everything hinged on his platelet count now. If it did not start to raise, the treatments would have to stop.
Not for one moment though has Don even entertained the idea of quitting. He is a real fighter and I am so proud of him!