ITP with Spleen Removal in Runner

Shared by RuEXP1 on Jun 20, 2019 (Written on Jun 19, 2019)
What is your story about?
In my late 20s I was diagnosed with ITP. I underwent intensive treatment for 6 months, and eventually had my spleen removed. The surgery was a success and my condition went into remission. 9 weeks after surgery I was able to return to low mileage running and eventually training for marathons.
What was your diagnosis process like?
I developed small red spots on my biceps called petechiae. I thought it was a rash and then my doctor noted that it was internal bleeding but seemed to have no idea what was causing it. I immediately went to a hematologist, and he was able to diagnose me quickly with ITP in February of 2017. I had never heard of it until I was diagnosed, and I found that very few people knew what it was.
What treatment approach did you pursue?
For the first 6 months, I had weekly blood work and frequent infusions treatments, and was on steroids. Undergoing treatment impacted my daily life significantly. I couldn't partake in any risky behavior because if I bleed it could be very dangerous. Ultimately, my ITP resulted in a surgery to remove my spleen in Summer 2017. The surgery went as well as it could have. I was very confident in my surgeon going in. One thing to ask is to make sure they know to look for accessory spleens. There can be tiny (mini) spleens, and if they are not found and removed they will develop into a full spleen ...(more)
How was your recovery and return to running?
Every week I saw my doc I asked about running until I was in the clear. It was about 2.5 weeks after my surgery before I ran for the first time. When I returned to running I quickly realized that running higher mileage wasn't going well for me and I had to adjust my game plan. My first run back (now known as the spleen mile) was ROUGH. So, instead of working on mileage, I decided it would be better to work on speed, and then the mileage could come later. WOW did this help. 9 weeks after I returned to running, I was limiting my runs from 1 - 4 miles at a time, doing a mix of speed/sprint worko ...(more)
What advice would you give others looking to return to running?
It could be different for everyone, but I feel like focusing on speed after my return really helped get my base running form back, and enabled me to focus on getting back to my half marathon training.