WHAT is it? I don't know if I've gone into what Ridge has on the blog or not, but some dear students stopped by to drop off these the other day for the boys:
and one of the students mentioned they knew Ridge HAD MLT but they didn't really know WHAT MLT was/is. So here's my totally NON expert lesson on MLT.
MLT 101, so to speak.
Okay, so most every kid who has MLT has lesions on the skin that look like hemangiomas (you know, the red birthmarks lots of kids are born with that usually go away with age). The way these types of "lesions" come about is because these kids have blood vessels that run too close to the surface of the skin. I'm not sure why that makes a hemangioma/lesion/whatever. ANYWAY, with MLT, not only do the blood vessels run too close to the surface of the skin, causing skin lesions that look sometimes like freckles, sometimes like hemangiomas, (Ridge has zero skin lesions, save for the possibility of MAYBE one on his eyelid but it is only there sometimes), but the blood vessels in their GI tract ALSO run too close to the surface. This causes similar lesions within the GI tract/stomach. These lesions proliferate, or multiply. They are the entire thickness of the wall of the stomach/intestine/etc. often. They bleed. Platelets, which normally stop bleeding, become trapped in the blood vessels, bc the disease is a platelet trapping disease. As the platelets become trapped in the blood vessels, the vessels grow, causing the lesions to bleed worse. This is why Ridge almost never gets platelet transfusions, even if his platelets are low. Normal platelets are 150K. Ridge doesn't get platelets unless he is below 10K. Many MLT kids have platelets in the 30K range, normally. Ridge was at 36K in July when we were admitted to the hospital. He has settled in from around 70K-100K, but that is a result, we think, of the steroids he is on. So we are watching as we cut his steroids, to see where he settles. I figure it will be in the 30 or 40K range. Maybe better. This low platelet part of the disease could inhibit him later in life-- contact sports will probably not be where he excels, bc our doctors don't think he will be playing any contact sports. If he always has low platelets, head injuries will be of extreme concern-- even moreso than with a "normal" child. I am just repeating doctor info, so any of this could change, maybe it already has. This is a disease that has no cure, and there is debate whether medicine even helps at all. I think it does, but I guess there is no way to know FOR SURE. Data supports that children outgrow the worst part of the disease by age 1, but I know that is not true for every child with MLT. I can only pray it is true for mine. By age 3 or 4, it is believed that, while the lesions will still be present, the bleeding will no longer be there, the meds won't be needed (if they are even still needed up to that point), and transfusions won't be necessary. However, this isn't ALWAYS true. There is no set in stone with the disease. That is why fiddling with meds is so scary to me. He's doing so well right now, so changing things is necessary, but scary. A lot of times, MLT kids need parts of their stomach or intestines or whatever removed to help control the bleeding-- wherever the most lesions are, that area is removed. Ridge has not needed that yet. Hopefully he won't, but I don't know what is in our future. I hope no more of this. But I don't know that.
I have so many things i haven't typed but between the three men in my living room, it has been nearly impossible to type this! :) So if you have any questions, leave me a comment. Or email me at email@example.com
Soon I will post photos and/or video of checking Ridge's blood and of changing his medication daily (his IV med).
Have a good evening!