Who knew little red dots could be so scary? About 6 months ago a few little red dots popped up on Mason’s face. It’s a little hard to see in pictures but if you look closely you can see one under his right eye, one on the left side of his nose, and a couple more at the bottom of his right cheek.
In the picture below, you can see several under his left eye. (Also, look how curly his hair is getting!)
We have brought concerns about these dots up to Mason’s pediatrician several times but he never seemed too worried about it. We even saw a different pediatrician in the same office and he too was not concerned over the dots. We were told the dots were petechia and were harmless. Which they are, in most cases.
Recently the dots have spread from his face to his arms, hands, neck, and legs. Last week we saw Mason’s pediatrician for a weight check and my mom came with me. She had done some research on petechia and read that one cause could be low platelets. Low platelets can be a sign of Leukemia which kids with Down syndrome are more prone to get. So she brought the concern of low platelets up to his pediatrician. He looked at the dots all over his body and immediately sent us to Riley at IU North to get his blood drawn.
We got the results the next day that Mason’s platelets were around 93,000. The lowest count in the normal range is 150,000. So, his pediatrician referred us to a hematologist at Riley. Yesterday we saw the hematologist for another blood draw. We are so blessed to have such great doctors are Riley and IU North. Both times, the doctor in the lab was able to get Mason’s vein on the first try! You can’t even see his veins! They also have this awesome numbing cream that they put on, so he didn’t even cry. We had to wait for what seemed like forever for the results of his second blood draw. But, Mason kept himself entertained by tearing up all the paper on the table!
The doctor finally came in with the results. His platelet count had gone down to 83,000. But, his white blood cells are in the normal range so she wasn’t worried about Leukemia. Praise God! She couldn’t tell us the reason that his platelets are low though. Her guess was that it’s because of his two heart defects. So, after his heart surgery, the issue should resolve itself. She will continue to monitor his platelet count so we will go back in a month for another blood draw. As long as his platelets stay above 50,000 he shouldn’t need any further treatment. Though it’s frustrating to not have a definite answer as to what is going on, we are extremely thankful that it’s not Leukemia.
To other parent’s who have a child with Down syndrome, if you see little red dots on your child, or if he/she has nosebleeds, gum bleeds, bleeding in the stool, please get their blood checked. Most likely it’s nothing, but it’s better to know it’s nothing rather than it be something and go untreated.
I’ll leave you with this. I follow a blog called Noah’s Dad. Noah is the cutest little boy with an extra chromosome. He has petechia as well and his dad wrote about it. (Here is a link to the blog post: I hate petechia) I love what he has to say! I always say there are things I love about Down syndrome and things I hate. The things I love far outweigh the things I hate. But still, I hate petechia.
From Noah’s dad on hating petechia:
“I hate how it reminds me that that extra 21st chromosome Noah has does bring with it some real challenges. I wish he wasn’t at a higher risk for developing leukemia. I wish every time I saw one of those dots on him my heart didn’t freeze. I hate how I let stuff like that take away some of my joy and replace it with fear. But as I’ve said before, fear doesn’t win in this house.
And so when fear starts to win I remember that there is a God who is in control. Who loves me. Who loves Noah. And Who holds the whole world in His hand. And so while I may worry, He doesn’t. He knows what He’s doing, and He can be trusted no matter what happens; cancer, or no cancer.
But still…I hate petechia.”