I believe that God puts certain people in our lives at just the right time. We may not always see it or understand it, but everything happens for a reason. My friends Shellia and Ty Cochran, know exactly why Nurse Donna happened to be Ty's nurse. Her intuition saved Ty's life, and helped diagnose him with a rare disease, that the doctor had overlooked.

Ty's medical issues began in 2018 with carpel tunnel in both of his hands. This is a pretty common issue, especially with any type of repetitive work. Ty had both hands operated on, but then he started having body aches. The pain was so bad that he couldn't sleep. I should mention that he is only 51 and otherwise, in good health.

Get this - Ty needed to see a Rheumatologist in 2018, and couldn't get in until May 2019! He was then diagnosed with osteoporosis & fibromyalgia. Even with treatment, Ty was still in pain, and could not sleep. In October 2020, he began Methotrexate, which is a form of chemo.

Cochran Family Photo: Shellia Cochran
Cochran Family Photo: Shellia Cochran

In the last half of 2020, Ty began experiencing multiple, strange symptoms that his doctor couldn't explain. He developed bruising on his eyes and nose, foam in his urine, and he started getting out of breath at work (Contractor).

After two visits to the ER in December, Ty was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. During his stay in the hospital around Christmas, they met Nurse Donna, who turned out to be their 'Angel'. Donna took the time to study Ty's case, went over the test results, and realized he probably had Amyloidosis. The doctor eventually did diagnose him with this rare disease, but only after Nurse Donna insist that he take a closer look.

Donna's persistence saved Ty's life. The heart medications that he was on, would've killed him, if he indeed had Amyloidosis. They are forever grateful to 'Angel' Donna.

Ty was just diagnosed with the Multiple Myeloma on 1/29/2021. It is a sister disease of Amyloidosis. He has been to the Mayo Clinic, and will have more tests ran before aggressive chemo starts and then he will need a stem cell transplant. Here's a not-so-fun fact about the Mayo Clinic: They had to pay for all of his testing prior to seeing him as a patient! While the family's insurance covers his local doctors, the Mayo Clinic is not covered. To help with the family's medical expenses CLICK HERE.

Cochran Family Photo: Shellia Cochran
Cochran Family Photo: Shellia Cochran

The Cochrans want to spread awareness about this rare, often over-looked disease. Shellia tells me that most patients aren't diagnosed until their autopsy, because it mimics so many other illnesses. If you feel like you aren't getting the answers you need, or something just doesn't feel right, you should certainly press for more tests, until you are properly diagnosed.

What is Amyloidosis?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Amyloidosiss a rare disease that occurs when an abnormal protein, called amyloid, builds up in your organs and interferes with their normal function. As you'll see, the symptoms really do mimic a lot of other diseases.

Signs and symptoms of amyloidosis may include:

  • Swelling of your ankles and legs
  • Severe fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath with minimal exertion
  • Unable to lie flat in bed due to shortness of breath
  • Numbness, tingling or pain in your hands or feet, especially pain in your wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Diarrhea, possibly with blood, or constipation
  • Unintentional weight loss of more than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms)
  • An enlarged tongue, which sometimes looks rippled around its edge
  • Skin changes, such as thickening or easy bruising, and purplish patches around the eyes
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty swallowing
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