“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Dr. Seuss.
All of us experience life changing moments that stand out. For me one that I look back on often was when I received the diagnosis from a cardiologist in Seattle that I had AL Amyloidosis. In February 2009, Rose and I met with Dr. Olsen at Swedish Hospital to get the results of a heart catheterization and biopsy. This procedure was needed to better understand why my heart function was low. I came to this hospital knowing that I had cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart walls. The procedure would help define the severity of the problem and allow the doctors insight how to repair the damage. At the time of the heart catheterization, the doctor mentioned to me that a small piece of heart tissue would be removed for a biopsy to test for a very rare disease. It was done only as a precaution. Before the biopsy could be examined, he told me he expected that I would be back to full health within six months. Unfortunately the biopsy did show the presence of the disease he hoped was not there. This is what was causing my heart to fail. The diagnosis of AL Amyloidosis meant a different and more extensive approach to improving my health would be needed. Statistics show that from the time of diagnosis, many Amyloidosis patients would have six months to two years of life. Well, now after a heart transplant and two stem cell transplants, I have seen close to five years of life. At the time of my clinic visit back in 2009, we had no idea what we could expect. The memory of this doctor’s visit in still remains one of the watershed moments of my health journey.
Below are links to two great YouTube videos from the Mayo Clinic that describe AL Amyloidosis. These videos have simple description and graphics.
Video 1 Description of AL Amyloidosis (Click here). Eight minutes, thirty seconds time.
Video 2 Treatment Options for AL Amyloidosis (Click here). Seven minutes thirty seconds time.