Don Briel | CaringBridge

Don Briel

On January 1, Dad was not feeling well and we assumed it was a bug picked up from a grandchild over Christmas. He had a fever, and concurrently his vision had worsened after routine cataract surgery December 15. He received a call from his primary doctor who’s indicated his blood work came back “abnormal” and he needed to go to MN Oncology immediately. This was around January 10. The next five days Dad and all his children tried to keep up with bad news, one on top of another. He had a bone marrow biopsy January 12. We were told to come in Tuesday, 16 January to review the results.

I brought Dad home and he called me when I wasn’t yet in my driveway with the news:
Preliminary results in- his counts weee 56. Anything above 20 is Acute Myeloid Leukemia. So we fast forward and meet Friday morning (January 13) with Dr. K, MN Oncologist to discuss results and treatment options. Although we didn’t have full genetic testing back yet, he was a very healthy 70 year old and was encouraged to begin the 6-8 month immediate hospitalization and intensive chemo regime. He chose to take the MLK weekend to think about what he wanted to do.

Unfortunately he woke up Monday morning with an infection on his arm. (White blood cell count was 2). He was told to go directly to ER, was admitted immediately and given iv antibiotics.

Dr. K made an unexpected visit Tuesday morning to deliver the last bit of shocking news. Dad is one of only 100 known cases ever to have both ALL and AML.
It is untreatable.

His wish is to die at home; he is being kept as comfortable as possible between family support, hospice visits, and the handmaids that are truly doing God’s work far beyond simply cleaning up and providing meals.

His health and body slow a bit more each day. He now takes oxygen a few times each day. This is increasing. So too is the morphine to keep his lungs and chest relaxed enough to allow him to breathe more comfortably.

Please keep him in your prayers. We will do our best to keep you updated on his progress as we walk this road together.

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