“I have ITP—It doesn’t have me!”

Meredith Prescott

Tips to make the most of every day—from those living with ITP.

Yep, life can be fulfilling…adventurous…joyful…sweet. Especially when you have strategies to nip anxiety, stress and blue moods in the bud. Check out these smart tips, shared by everyday folks living with ITP.

“Pay it forward to feel pumped!”
“The biggest thing that helps me cope with ITP is helping others with the disease,” says Meredith Prescott, who organized a walk and festival in her town of Livingston, NJ, to benefit the Platelet Disorder Support Association (PDSA). “More than 200 people showed up! I enjoy explaining to others what ITP is all about, as well as talking to people who have the disease—it feels good to be able to relate to them,” says Meredith, who wears a purple “Pump It Up for Platelets” bracelet. “Doing things like that makes me feel great!”

“Cuddle your pooch to find calm”
“My Jack Russell terrier, London, will not leave my side when I don’t feel well, and I know she can tell when my platelet counts are down—I can’t even go to the bathroom without her there,” says Charity Hasty of Nashville. “If I’m sitting on the couch or lying in bed, she has to make sure that at least some part of her is touching me. London helps me calm down when there is so much going on in life and when I’m overwhelmed.”

“Sing your way out of a funk!”
“Dealing with a disease that has no cure is a pretty heavy load to carry,” says Rockmart, GA, resident Emily McTyre. “When I get depressed, I tend to just shut down. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want to be around anyone.” In fact, when Emily couldn’t bring herself to sing in church—an activity she’d always loved—she knew she had to pull herself out of her funk. A soprano who performs as a soloist and in the choir, Emily says, “Music is my favorite form of artistic expression.” So how’d she get back to it? “Sometimes you just have to force yourself to get up and get moving!”

“Get distracted by spending time with positive people”
“I try to keep busy, and I love to be around people who make me laugh,” says Meredith. “When I’m feeling good and enjoying myself, I’m not thinking about my platelet count. I don’t want people in my life who are negative or who try to critique me, who tell me how they think I should handle things. You have down days—days when your mood and your energy are out of your control. Those times, it’s great to be with people who are positive and empathetic.”

“Pamper your way to confidence”
“What helps me is finding things I can do to make myself feel better,” says Meredith. “Things like getting a manicure or a massage, or getting my hair blown out. For my birthday and holidays, I get gift certificates for a local salon. Even when I’m tired, getting a manicure takes no effort. And when you put yourself together, you have a sense of confidence. You feel you’re not sick!”

“Lean on your rock”
“My support is my husband,” says Erica Johnson of Flourtown, PA. “He was the one holding my hand when I was in the hospital bed with a single platelet in my body, telling me that everything is going to be all right. He is the one who told me to quit my job [for my health], even though we needed the money. He said he would find a way to make things work, and he did. My husband urged me to follow a dream I had, to become a photographer. He helped me start a business, where I became my own boss and can control my time. When I get down, he is there, and assures me he will always be there to gently help me back up. When I ask him why, he smiles and tells me simply, ‘Isn’t that what love is?’ ” 

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