Most of the time, a bruise is nothing to worry about. If you bump your shin against a table, you’re probably going to see an unpleasant bruise as a result. But sometimes there can be a sense that they’re trying to tell you something.
For instance, what happens when you wake up with a lot of bruises and you can’t figure out why?
Well, there is an answer to how they got there, but I’m afraid it’s not a happy one.
And it’s a reality that 37-year-old Thea Wilson knows all too well.
1. After a fun night out, Wilson woke up to discover these.
She spent the night sober, so she knew full well that these didn’t come from a forgotten tumble. At most, she experienced a few slight bumps on the dance floor.
2. When the bruises didn’t disappear, she sought medical help.
At first, doctors thought she had a problem with her platelets, which affect how blood clots (which is what happens when you get a scab, for example).
Since there’s a lot of possible platelet disorders, they ran a bone marrow biopsy.
3. But when they did, they found out she had a rare form of cancer.
With this condition, a bunch of immature blood cells crowd someone’s bone marrow and prevent healthy blood cells from being produced. It’s called “acute promyelocytic leukemia.”
4. So how does someone end up with this?
About one in 250,000 Americans will develop acute promyelocytic leukemia in their lifetime. While it’s not inherited, sufferers are born with the cell conditions to bring it about because the problem begins after conception.
But if it does arise, it can have some awful, life-threatening effects.
5. The lack of white blood cells means more infections and slower healing.
And with fewer platelets, the blood isn’t able to clot easily, which puts someone at risk of severe internal bleeding.
6. In Wilson’s case, she had nine platelets when she should have had between 140 and 400.
She learned that this meant a simple fall while running or horseback riding would have made her bleed to death. And the only sign anything was wrong were the bruises and feeling “under the weather” for a couple of months.
7. But they caught it in time and now she’s in remission.
Her disease was once the most fatal type of leukemia, but now it’s one of the most curable. After five months of chemotherapy and a derivative of Vitamin A called All Trans Retinoic Acid, Wilson was able to resume her active life.