High Praise, Low PLT

Last July my son Nate left the Arlington County Fire Department and moved to Denver so he and Jenn could be close to their families when they started their own. [Buddy (?) is due in six weeks.]


Last fall Nate and 23 other recruits were selected for the Denver Fire Academy from over 1,200 applicants.


Yesterday I watched him graduate near the top of his class.


Way to go Nate the Great. I’m so proud of you!


Jenn and Probie Nate
Jenn and Probie Nate



I was thankful to be able to attend as my blood counts are low at this point in my chemo cycle, which brings me to our new word—and condition—for the week:


Thrombocytopenia” (THROM-bo-sy-toe-PEE-nee-ah). It means a low blood platelet count (PLT).


Platelets (thrombocytes) are colorless cells made in the bone marrow, to the tune of about 1×1011 a day. They line the inside of blood vessels and play an important role in clotting, among other things.


If you come up short due to disease or treatments like chemotherapy, you run the risk of increased bleeding with injury, excessive bruising, and petechiae (red dots on your skin).


A normal platelet count is between 150,000 – 400,000 cells/mm3. I’m at about 62,000, which means I have to be careful. No playing with the neighbor’s porcupine or rearranging my antique razor blade collection. No picking my nose with scissors or flossing with piano wire.


My main concern is that if my platelets don’t rebound, it might put a kink in my stem cell transplant schedule. I do not want to get a penalty for delay of game.


4 thoughts on “High Praise, Low PLT

  1. Hi Mike,
    I found your website last year and have been following your journey all the up to your remission. I recently checked in and saw that you had relapsed. I was very sorry about that. I was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in July 2008. I was recently declared in CR after 5 cycles of chemo (Rituxan and Cladribine). I am now preparing for an auto transplant just like you are. I will get my catheter on the 16th. Cladribine was an easy chemo to tolerate. No hair loss or nausea but it did beat down my bone marrow. Today my platelets were 89 up from 73. I hope we both do well.

  2. Congratulations to Nate!
    We are in awe that he went through that process 2x!! Chad is just finishing up training with the Portland FD.
    We are praying for you Mike.

  3. Well, if it makes you feel any better, mine were 6 (6,000) this morning. I got a transfusion, so I don’t know what they are now. Who knew we’d ever know so much about platelets and the rest of the blood system?

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