Mike’s Story

Site created on March 23, 2020

In June of 2019 Mike began developing numbness in his left hand which also developed in his right hand shortly after. In September he had a total left knee replacement, which had been needed for some time. In October we learned Mike has peripheral neuropathy and on October 10th we were informed he has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma/Leukemia. Fortunately, it was caught in an early stage and is slow moving, so no treatment has yet been necessary. Since Mike was already laid off due to his knee surgery, he opted to have a carpal tunnel procedure done on each wrist between November-December 2019 to alleviate his hand tingling. Mike began to fatigue easily in January. The pins and needles he was feeling in his hands and feet began to creep towards his elbows and knees. His physical strength noticeably diminished mid January. On March 13th he was driving and running errands, but could hardly manage to bring the groceries in the house. On March 14th the use of a walker became necessary to get around safely. Mike happened to schedule a second opinion with a hematologist at Mayo in Rochester for March 16th. We made it to his appointment, but he needed a wheelchair at that point due to excessive fatigue. After meeting with a hematologist, he was admitted to Mayo to begin testing to determine the source of his rapid decline. After testing all week, they determined he has an autoimmune disorder. They believe it could be a form of chronic Guillain-Barré Syndrome. In the meantime, he has still been physically declining daily. He no longer is able to perform basic tasks without assistance. On Thursday, March 19th they began an IVIG treatment for five days. Since he has still been declining during treatment, they are running additional tests to figure out if the neuropathy is related to his cancer, or if it is a standalone ailment. We learned on Friday March 20th that as of Saturday March 21st, visitors will no longer be allowed at Mayo due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was incredibly difficult to leave him there, but he is in the best possible place he could be for observation and treatment. His team of doctors are determined and aggressive in figuring out the best course of treatment for Mike. Thankfully, his spirits are highest out of all of us. Once a treatment is found and he begins his road to recovery, he will have to rehabilitate in a skilled nursing facility or swing bed to regain his physical capabilities. The physical therapist believes his strength is there, but due to nerve demyelination, his brain is not communicating with his muscles. We will continue to post updates during our long journey ahead.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Kim Suppa

Mike's treatments were reduced from twice a week to once a week on September 1st. The last two weeks he had become weaker culminating in a visit to the emergency room and subsequent admission to the hospital on Sunday. He rapidly declined over the course of the day and became unable to feed himself or put on his glasses. Fortunately, the neurologists in Fargo were able to consult with Mike's doctors at Mayo to perform the tests he needs in Fargo. He will have another EMG test, a CT of his chest, abdomen, and pelvis, as well as receive a nerve biopsy this week. Mike has begun receiving five days of IVIG and steroid treatments, and after his first treatment, he was showing signs of improvement. We are so happy about that. Needless to say, Mike was frustrated with the setback, we are praying for the best and hoping the doctors can provide insight on the best steps forward. 

Thank you all for your continued showing of love and support.

Love,

Mike, Kim, Jesse, Courtney & Elizabeth
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