One of the biggest surprises after raising a child with Down syndrome these last (almost) three years is how little I actually think about Down syndrome. I’ve even written about how I often forget our son has Down syndrome. We’ve been blessed in that other than a few small heart issues, Noah’s been a pretty healthy little boy.
He’s doing well in school, meeting his milestones, and dancing all around our house likes a boss! Noah’s our first child, and for the last three years has been the only child in our house (although that’s about to change) so I don’t have another child to compare him to do. So being a parent of a child with Down syndrome is the only version of parenting I know. Raising a child with Down syndrome is my normal. And it’s all good.
Like I said, for the most part I don’t know even think about Down syndrome most days until…. Noah Gets Petechia
Remember that sweet little picture at the top of this post?
At first glance it looks like everything is all good hair, blue eyes and straw cups…but if you look a little closer you’ll see….
Petechia, Leukemia, and Down Syndrome
It’s amazing how something as small as those little red dots can cause me so much fear and anxiety. I also hate how I can be having a perfectly great day, having fun with my little boy, then catch a glimpse of those tiny little red dots (bruises) and go into worry mode. (I’m a bit of a worrier…but I’m getting better.)
In case you weren’t aware petechia can be a symptom of leukemia, which children born with Down syndrome are at a grater risk of developing than a typical child. (But what you may not know is that children with Down syndrome have substantially higher survival rates and lower relapse rates than typical kids…all thanks to that extra 21st chromosome!)
Every time I see one of those little red dots (Noah gets them almost every time he gets sick) my mind goes to the worse case scenario and I immediately start to think he has cancer. I’m thankful that Noah has a great pediatrician and that my wife is one herself…otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d be at the doctors office / ER room three days a week to get Noah a CBC! They have been great at calming my fears these last few years of parenting.
Google Isn’t Your Friend (Or Your Pediatrician) When It Comes To Stuff Like This.
Although petechia can be a symptom of leukemia (which you will think your child has if use Google) that’s not the typical reason kids get it, especially if it’s not accompanied by other symptoms, like bleeding.
Here’s a quick parenting pro tip before we go any further:
DO NOT USE GOOGLE TO TRY TO DIAGNOSIS YOUR CHILD WITH ANYTHING. EVER!
Google is the quickest way to turn your chid’s common cold into the black plague, cancer, polio, AIDS, and a brain tumor…in your mind, that is. In fact I wish I could give Google a 1st place ribbon for “The Ability To Cause People Unnecessary Worry.”
By the way using Google to diagnose things for yourself, especially in the middle of the night when you are sick and tired is also a really dumb thing to do…..or at least that’s what I’ve heard.
Trust Truth (Often Given By Your Pediatrician)…Not Google.
The truth of the matter is Noah has a virus this weekend and children can get petechia when they are sick and running a fever….and especially when they are vomiting (and Noah’s doing all three of those things.) If a typical child had petechia I wouldn’t even worry about it, it’s not a big deal, and I really shouldn’t let things like that bother me.
To be honest I get less and less worried each time Noah has petechia. Especially after the time it spread from his head to his toes in a matter of hours….and he ended up being fine. It was just a typical reaction to the virus he had. If he didn’t have cancer after all of that, I’m “ok-er” with a few dots here and there! He’s a toddler, and toddlers get sick. And sick toddlers sometimes get petechia. It’s all good. That’s truth. And truth always trumps google.
(By the way, isn’t it funny how we can trust some 22 year old girl that owns an Etsy shop and spends 20 hours a week on Yahoo Answers and Baby Forums more than we’ll trust our own Doctors sometimes? We’re funny people. And the internet is a funny place. )
But still…I hate 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.
(Side note: If you ever have any medical concerns about yourself, or your child, you should seek immediate medical attention. Don’t take anything you read on the internet as medical advice, especially this blog. No ones story is your story, and every kid is different. A forum, website, or WebMD will never be able to take the place of a Medical Doctor. So if you have any concerns, give them a call!)
What causes you unnecessary worry when it comes to your children and what do you do when feel worry and anxiety start to creep into your mind? Also have you ever been guilty of using Google to diagnosis a medical concern? (I sure am.) If so, has anything good ever come out of it? Leave a comment below and tell us about it.