Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We hope to keep family and friends updated as Rick progresses through his treatment for MDS, including a bone marrow transplant. (Sue is the author of the updates, with Rick’s supervision!)
The Background: Most of you know that Rick was diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (follicular b-cell, indolent variety, for you medical people!) about 10 years ago. He received chemotherapy and was in remission until the spring of 2015. At that time his primary oncologist wanted to find a clinical trial utilizing one of the newer, targeted therapies for treatment, but not yet “on label” for Rick’s lymphoma. Bless him for his insistence and determination in helping us find such a trial! We consulted with multiple programs in Dallas and Houston, but settled on a clinical trial at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Lymphoma Center. We cannot speak highly enough of the staff and program there in Omaha. Omaha became our second home. Rick was treated with one medication without success, then entered a new clinical trial (he was patient #2 in the country!), which was effective in putting him in remission “with no evidence of disease” by the summer of 2016. During a routine followup appointment in April of this year, Rick’s lab work was seriously abnormal. An immediate bone marrow study determined that Rick still had no evidence of lymphoma, but now had Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or MDS. Basically, his bone marrow was shutting down and no longer making sufficient red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets, probably a toxic reaction to one of the chemo drugs he took years ago, but we will never know for sure. We met with an MDS specialist in Omaha, then another in Dallas, as well as their transplant teams. Though both of these programs are world renowned, we opted for the Dallas program at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW), and began their pre-transplant program in June, including the search for a donor. While that search was happening, Rick had three rounds of pre-transplant chemo which caused all of his blood counts to roller-coaster down so low that I thought they were inconsistent with life! But each time he bounced back higher than before! The TT (Transplant Team) is very pleased with his response as they tell us this is a positive indicator for transplant success. They tell us to have Rick ready to be admitted to the hospital for transplant by late August or early September.
Of course, we would appreciate your prayers during this time. God has blessed us by putting wonderful people in our path as we have traveled this journey over the past 10 or so years, and He’s certainly got this worked out for us now!