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When purpura (measle like spots) appeared all over my legs in 2006, (I was 72 years old at the time), they were neither raised nor painful. Because the dermatologist was very concerned by the extraordinarily high white blood count (which indicated my body was fighting a serious infection), I was advised to cancel my trip to Italy. However a repeat blood test a day later showed a normal reading, so I went abroad.
From time to time, I continued to experience seriuos outbreaks of purpura with no other symptoms and finally consulted a rheumotologist who made the diagnosis of cold induced leukocytoclasic vasculitis. In 2010, the purpura around my feet and ankles became ulcerated and so painful that I was unable to walk. My doctor suggested plasma pheresis treatments.
These treatments involve having a dual port inserted in your chest, whereby your blood flows into a machine that filters out cryoglobulins (the cause of your inflamed veins) and returns the blood to your body. No more than a pint of blood is missing from your body at any time. The procedure takes about 3-4 hours and has to be repeated for 7 consecutive or alternate days.
I've had plasma pheresis treatments a number of times -- it varies from every 2 months to 9 months in between treatments. When I find my ankles burning upon standing for too long, blood tests reveal my cryoglobulin count is up and I go for treatments.
The other thing I do that I believe helps a great deal is to keep my legs raised as often as possible. All in all, I'm blessed that this condition did not strike a vital organ or it would be "lights out." Hope this information helps someone.
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