The first time I heard the word "amyloidosis" was in January of 2010, when my mother called me after an appointment with her nephrologist. Mom said she had something like a cancer of the blood, and it was called "amyloidosis." I had her spell it for me so I could write it down and research it later, and I remember thinking how ironic (and handy) it was that each part of the word (amy-loi-dosis) started with the same first letter as the names of each of her three children (Amy, Laura, David). So now it's time to hit the Internet and find out what this "amyloidosis" disease is. But first let me back up a little and explain how we got here in January of 2010.
My mother had been seeing a nephrologist for quite awhile to figure out what was going on with her. I wasn't really following too closely before 2010, but I got the impression there was something they were having a hard time diagnosing. She seemed fine as far as I could tell, given her age and health history. I remember she was seeing her internist and nephrologist frequently, but the only outward symptom I can recall now was at some point in 2009 she started bruising very easily. On several occasions she would suddenly notice a large, badly bruised spot on her skin (usually hand or arm) and she would have no recollection of how it got there. Her nephrologist (Dr. V) wanted to do a kidney biopsy, but she (Dr. V) didn't want to do it until this bruising was figured out.
I guess the bruising slowed down enough to where Dr. V was comfortable doing a kidney biopsy, and Mom had that done on December 28, 2009. The appointment to go over the kidney biopsy results in January of 2010 was when Mom first heard she had amyloidosis. The next post will be the results of the kidney biopsy, so get ready for some medical terminology.
(Edited January 8, 2013: Added children's names.)