On February 5th, Rick was admitted to Altru Hospital with kidney failure. They did a kidney biopsy and found that he has amyloidosis but were waiting for the test results to diagnose the type of amyloidosis it is.
On Monday, February 18th, Rick had his first appointment with Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Rick went through a full day of tests on Tuesday, starting with blood work, EKG, bone marrow biopsy, and an echocardiogram. Wednesday they attached a Holter monitor to monitor his heart for 24 hours as an outpatient. Thursday, we dropped the monitor off and headed for home. The final test results showed that he has AL amyloidosis. Mayo Clinic leads the world, along with Boston University in treatment and research of AL amyloidosis. This occurs when your bone marrow produces abnormal antibodies that can’t be broken down. The antibodies are deposited into your tissue as amyloid, interfering with normal function. It is a rare disease that affects approximately eight out of a million people, primarily males between the age of 60 to 70. There is no cure for this disease but there is treatment to manage the signs and symptoms. Chemotherapy is the drug that has been most effective in treating this disease. He will have a weekly shot, and 2 different types of pills weekly to try and slow down the cells producing the amyloid. Rick’s sister and brother-in-law took us for Rick’s 2nd appointment at Mayo on Friday, March 1st. It was like having our very own chauffeurs. We really appreciated having them along. Rick had blood work, met with his hematologist, started his first chemo shot and a doctor appointment with a nephrologist (kidney specialist). His kidneys are failing rapidly. If they don’t get them to stabilize, he will have to go on dialysis. March 8th we were back to Mayo for another chemo shot, more tests on his kidneys, more blood work and another doctor appointment with the nephrologist. Dr. Leung set up his chemotherapy shot, which he must have once a week, at Sanford’s Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, He was also in touch with Dr. Rahman, Rick’s nephrologist, at Altru Clinic in Grand Forks, to watch his kidneys closely and prepare him for dialysis in case he must start it. Our next appointment at Mayo Clinic will be scheduled with the nephrologist, hematologist and cardiologist along with more blood work. There are some issues involving Rick’s heart, but they do not know at this time if they are related to AL amyloidosis. We won’t know until sometime next week when that will be. We can’t say it enough that we appreciate all your thoughts, prayers and support that everyone has given us. They mean so much to us. This is a journey that was not part of our retirement plans, but with all the support of family, friends and co-workers, etc. our family will get through this and be stronger because of it. Thank you again for everything.