He began a course of chemotherapy to combat this disease along with weekly blood transfusions to help combat his chronic and severe anemia. Unfortunately, midway through this treatment course, a bone marrow biopsy suggested that there may be more going on in his bone marrow than we originally realized, and Mike flew out to Seattle, WA, where his daughter, Mikael Anne, lives, to seek a specialist second opinion at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/the Seattle Cacner Care Alliance. Here, it was determined that his true diagnosis was MDS/MPN (Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Myeloproliferative Neoplasms), often called Overlap Syndrome, a very rare combination of bone marrow failure syptoms in which scarring and fibrosis in the bone marrow prevents adequate production of red blood cells. You can learn more about his disease here: National Cancer Institute: MDS/MPN
Due to the rarity of this condition, his doctors have recommended the only viable treatment to be a hematopoetic stem cell transplant (essentially, a bone marrow transplant).
While a stem cell transplant offers the potential to cure his disease, it will be a long, difficult, and expensive process. Right now, the search for a compatible stem cell donor is ongoing, a process that could take several more weeks. Once a suitable donor is found, however, Mike and Nancy must live in Seattle throughout the 3-4 month transplant process, and maintain as sterile an environment as possible while Mike's immune system rebuilds itself after transplant.
What can you do to help?
While insurance should cover the majority of the cost of this hugely expensive procedure, the cost of housing in Seattle, medical copays, and a needed prescription medication costing $3500/month means his treatment is still quite costly. Asking for money from our friends and family was never an option we'd considered before, but it is quickly become apparent that these expenses will quickly drain our retirement savings. If you feel you can contribute monetarily to support Mike's medical expenses and the other costs of his treatment, please donate through this page. Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated!
If your age and health allow, consider registering and/or encouraging your friends and family to register to be a stem cell or bone marrow donor through the Be The Match Registry. You may not be a match for Mike, but you could be someone's match.
Donate blood. Regular blood transfusions have kept Mike going, and will continue to be essential throughout his recovery, until his new bone marrow starts making enough of its own again. Red Cross | Find a Blood Drive
Keep sending positive thoughts, energy, prayers, and love his way. The support of friends and family means the world to us all and helps keep Mike pushing through the long road ahead.
Thank you for your love and support!
Mike, Nancy, & Mikael Anne
- Jan Marie Fritz
- Marlene Bell
- Tim and Susan O'Shea
- Cindy Aubuchon
- Christa Fischer
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