hATTR Diagnosis

by Jaime Kaplan

My older sister, Barbara Kaplan, started having shortness of breath in October of 2019. She went to her internist in Miami, Florida, and a chest x-ray which showed fluid in her lungs. Her internist immediately referred her to a cardiologist who suspected amyloidosis. She was diagnosed a few days later and was started on Vyndamax shortly after. Her 3 siblings were advised to get tested for the gene. Our two brothers were quickly tested and both were deemed negative. Our mother was tested and is negative as well. Our dad is deceased.

My testing was a little more complicated due to the fact that I had a bone marrow transplant in 2010. After submitting a buccal swab that came back inconclusive, it was determined that they needed to do a skin biopsy to test for the gene. That was about the time the coronavirus ramped up and the test was postponed. Finally, I had the biopsy in May of 2020, and it came back positive for the gene. I started at Boston Medical Center and was diagnosed on June 22, 2020. We have the T60 (80) variant. I have since transferred to Cleveland Clinic/Dr. Hanna due to insurance. I have been on Vyndamax since Aug. 1.

My numbers indicate early onset of the disease with cardiac involvement, but no neuropathy. I did have carpal tunnel surgery in November of 2018. I had a procedure on my thumb in October 2020 and the doctor did a tissue biopsy to see if the problem is due to amyloid. I have no symptoms and continue to do life as normal except for being extra, extra cautious during this pandemic. I bike 30 minutes every morning and walk for 30 minutes every afternoon. I play golf at least once a week and continue to work full time.

Bio:

Jaime Kaplan was born and raised in Macon, Georgia. She started playing tennis at the age of nine and went on to hold junior rankings as high as first in the state, second in the south, and 18th in the United States.  At Stratford Academy, she produced an undefeated record of 156-0 in singles and doubles along with 5 state titles.  She also was an all-state basketball player, playing on 3 state championship basketball teams.  After playing collegiate tennis at UGA then FSU, Jaime competed on the WTA Tour for six years, achieving world rankings as high as 91 in doubles and 252 in singles. She played in Wimbledon five times, the US Open four times, the French Open four times, and the Australian Open once.

Jaime has been inducted into the Stratford Academy Athletic Hall of Fame, the Macon Sports Hall of Fame, the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame. A knee injury at Wimbledon forced Jaime to retire in 1989 and she settled in back home in Macon where she has been very involved in the community, raising over $12,000,000 for various charities, mainly the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia and United Way of Central Georgia, over the past 33 years.  She serves or has served on over a dozen non-profit boards and in 2011 filled an unexpired term for six months on Macon’s City Council.

Jaime was diagnosed with a rare form of acute myeloid leukemia on April 23, 2010. She underwent a bone marrow transplant on August 27 of 2010. On June 22, 2020, Jaime was diagnosed with hATTR Amyloidosis, a rare disease of which currently there is a treatment, but no cure. Jaime is the Director of Philanthropy at United Way of Central Georgia, Event Manager of the Five Star Kevin Brown Russell Henley Celebrity Classic and Head Coach of the Stratford boys and girls varsity tennis teams. Jaime’s individuals and teams have won 45 region titles and 16 state titles since she started coaching in 2005.

If you ask Jaime her greatest accomplishment, she will tell you that it’s not being inducted into halls of fame.  She will tell you that it’s the many lives she has touched through her charity work and her journey with cancer and amyloidosis. 

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