Perth mum’s ITP condition diagnosed after black spots were found in her mouth

Bryce Luff
7NEWS
Claire Flowers.
Claire Flowers. Credit: Tammy Flowers

A Perth mum faces an uncertain future after being struck down by a rare autoimmune disorder that was discovered when black spots began appearing in her mouth.

The spots turned to patches and spread across Claire Flowers’ body before she was rushed to hospital on May 30 feeling unwell.

Claire, 39, underwent testing where it was found she had internal bleeding and was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

People with ITP produce antibodies that attack and destroy blood-clotting platelets, leaving them vulnerable to bruising and bleeding.

Fatigue, something Claire now endures, is another common symptom.

Black spots were the first sign something was wrong with Claire Flowers.
Black spots were the first sign something was wrong with Claire Flowers. Credit: Tamara Flowers

ITP “dropped” the busy mother of three, leaving her feeling anything but her usual self, her sister Tamara said.

Claire spent more than two weeks in the hospital before she was discharged, armed with a cocktail of medicine including steroids and oral chemotherapy.

She also requires regular tests to keep tabs on her platelet count, which was well below the healthy range when rushed to hospital.

“She was terrified to go home. She didn’t want to go to sleep because she was scared she wouldn’t wake up,” Tamara told 7NEWS.com.au.

The disorder has turned Claire’s daily routine into “a massive risk to her life” because one small bump or fall can “cause mass internal bleeding”, Tamara said.

She said the disease “is for life” and had forced her sister to give up her beloved job as a teacher for children living with a disability.

“She can’t work. She loves her job. I think that’s what breaks me the most,” Tamara said.

Even a slight bump can cause Claire Flowers bruising and bleeding.
Even a slight bump can cause Claire Flowers bruising and bleeding. Credit: Tamara Flowers
Tamara Flowers, pictured right, says ITP has turned her sister’s life upside down.
Tamara Flowers, pictured right, says ITP has turned her sister’s life upside down. Credit: Tamara Flowers

Even driving home has become a challenge, with Claire having to go extra slowly over bumps and around corners to stop her from bruising, or worse.

“I was so scared I would break her,” Tamara said of one recent drive home.

The disorder has scuppered Claire’s plans for a 40th birthday bash in the UK and Paris.

The family have moved in to assist the bed-ridden mum as she works to stabilise her condition and get her life back on track.

Tamara has launched a fundraiser to help keep Claire afloat while she learns to manage the disorder.

“This is for the rest of her life and I ask for you all to help fund her life expenses such as food for the kids at home and bills she will endure whilst still in hospital and no longer able to work,” Tamara said.

“Let’s help Claire get ahead for a little while.”

Latest Edition

Friday 19 July The Nightly.

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 19 July 202419 July 2024

Airlines, banks, major companies fall victim to the very system designed to protect our cybersecurity.