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11/19/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to Mitchell's CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
About 3 years ago, Mitchell was diagnosed with a bone marrow disorder called MGUS - monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. He was followed every 6 months by a hematologist/oncologist because this marker can develop into a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. While that did not happen, it instead developed into a much more uncommon bone marrow disorder called amyloidosis. Amyloidosis is a rare disease in which an abnormal protein (amyloid) that is produced in the bone marrow deposits in soft tissue or organs. The build up of amyloid causes damage which can be fatal. In Mitchell's case, a small amount of amyloid has been found in his kidneys.
While there is no cure for amyloidosis, many treatments have been developed in the past few years to limit the production of amyloid protein. The most promising involve autologous stem cell transplant. This involves harvesting Mitchell's stem cells through a process called aphaeresis, then giving him a very high dose of chemotherapy to kill all the bad cells, then replacing his stem cells. So his immunity will be wiped out and he will then slowly recover. The process for engraftment of those stem cells is difficult and recovery takes 4-6 weeks or more.
Mitchell is scheduled to begin that (outpatient!) process at Mayo Clinic on November 17th. We have rented a "transplant friendly" duplex in Rochester, MN for 6 weeks, as Mitchell will need to be seen at the clinic every day. We are grateful that Mitchell was diagnosed early, that he is strong and fit and that he is being treated at Mayo Clinic, which sees more amyloid patients than anywhere in the country.
We will start making entries to this site when Mitchell starts the process in November.
This has been a reminder to us to celebrate each day. So, while we are waiting to start this journey, we decided to go to Hawaii for a week! Aloha!