Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

November 25th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Surprise Diagnosis Spurs Learning Curve, Search for Help

By Sharing_Mayo_Clinic Sharing_Mayo_Clinic

Cheryl Sturdevant was surprised by her livedoid vasculitis diagnosis.Diagnosed with a rare disease, livedoid vasculopathy, Cheryl Sturdevant turned to Mayo Clinic for help. Then she turned to helping others.

When Cheryl Sturdevant found out she had livedoid vasculopathy, she had no idea what it was. An uncommon disorder, livedoid vasculopathy affects the skin. For no clear reason, it often causes deep wounds in the lower legs and feet, and those wounds can trigger debilitating pain.

"I had symptoms from my calves down onto my feet. The wounds on top of my feet made it difficult to wear shoes. The pain was intense," says Cheryl. "I had been teaching at the time of my diagnosis. But I wasn't able to keep doing that, due to my symptoms. I started looking everywhere for information and help."

Both were hard to come by. Cheryl went to a number of doctors, including several specialists, but she was unable to find someone who could work with her to manage the disease.

She kept researching livedoid vasculopathy and found information about it on a Mayo Clinic website. That prompted her to make a phone call that would change everything.  [...]

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Tags: Dermatology, Dr Raymond Shields, Livedoid Vasculopathy, Pain Management, Vasculopathy

November 18th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Putting the Pieces Together to Solve Medical Mystery

By Sharing_Mayo_Clinic Sharing_Mayo_Clinic

Kim Goranson found help for lupus symptoms at Mayo Clinic.Kim Goranson knew something wasn't right. For more than 10 years, she endured exhaustion, pain and bouts of confusion. But to her frustration, repeated medical evaluations revealed nothing. A high-energy real estate agent in Lincoln, Nebraska, Kim saw her successful career slip away as the symptoms took a heavy toll on her life.

"I had to quit working in 2010. I was only 50 years old," says Kim. "I thought I'd rest, get myself back together, and then get back to work. Instead, I got worse and worse. Many days, I didn't get out of bed."

Her outlook began to change, however, when Kim was referred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Although it took some time to arrive at a clear diagnosis, her Mayo Clinic care team was able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and determined that Kim had lupus.  [...]

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Tags: Dr Vaidehi Chowdhary, Lupus, rheumatology

November 17th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Taking It in Stride -- Amputations, Heart Surgeries and a Pump Won't Dampen Dick Feller's Spirit

By Sharing_Mayo_Clinic Sharing_Mayo_Clinic

Dick Feller remains positive about his unique medical experience, including amputations and a heart pump. Dick Feller likes to joke about his medical escapades.

In just six years, Dick Feller had three open-heart operations, had both legs and an arm amputated, and was fitted with a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, to keep his heart pumping. That's a lot for one person to take. But with unconditional support from his family and an unwavering sense of humor, Dick hasn't let the experience affect his attitude.

"I have three stumps and a pump," Dick, 71, jokes. "And because I didn't want things to get boring, I had gall bladder and kidney stone surgery in between those other procedures."  [...]

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Tags: Aortic Dissection, cardiac surgery, Cardiovascular Diseases, Dr John Stulak, Heart Surgery, Left Ventricular Assist Device

November 13th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Recovery Turns Into Cancer Battle for Avid Runner

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Judi, center, with Dr. Horacio Asbun, Mayo Clinic surgeon (center), and her grandson Jude, at the 2014 Pancreatic Cancer Walk.

Judi Zitiello with her grandson, Jude, and Dr. Horacio Asbun, Mayo Clinic surgeon , at the 2014 Pancreatic Cancer Walk.

An avid runner, Judi Zitiello, 66, was forced into a six-week hiatus when she developed a meniscus tear in early 2014. The retired financial executive was always active – exercising, hosting dinner parties, and volunteering to run the JT Townsend Foundation, a Jacksonville, Florida, philanthropic organization.

Judi wasn’t too concerned about the downtime at first. She knew her body would take time to heal. But the pain lingered. Then Judi began losing weight and her energy waned.


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Tags: Dr. Horacio Asbun, Dr Kristina DeMatas, Florida Campus, Pancreas, pancreatic cancer, purple strides, Whipple

November 12th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Restoring Mobility and Hope After Traumatic Motorcycle Crash

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Troy Chroniger enjoys time with his daughters after brachial plexus surgery.

Troy Chroniger enjoyed a busy, if hectic, life in Orlando, Florida, as a construction estimator and dad to three daughters. To relax, Troy, age 43, enjoyed sports and an occasional motorcycle ride with friends. Life changed dramatically one Saturday in November 2011, when he was out for a ride, hit a rough patch of road, veered and collided with a guardrail. He was rushed to a hospital in Orlando, where doctors diagnosed him with a debilitating brachial plexus injury.

"It was one of the worst the doctor said he'd seen," Troy recalls the physician saying. Of the five nerves that make up the brachial plexus in the shoulder, Troy suffered a complete nerve evulsion injury. His doctor referred him to Mayo Clinic, which performs hundreds of brachial plexus procedures annually.  [...]

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Tags: brachial Plexus, Dr Peter Murray, Florida Campus, neurosurgery, Orthopedics

November 5th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Gut Feeling, Being in Right Place May Have Saved Lynn Witherspoon

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Lynn Witherspoon and her husband moved to Jacksonville to be close to Mayo.When Lynn Witherspoon was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to move quickly. And she wanted to move to a place she felt would give her the care she needed. So she and her husband moved from their home in North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida, to be near Mayo Clinic's Florida campus.

"We live in a rural area, and I felt more comfortable going to Mayo for my cancer care," she says. She'd had relatives treated at Mayo. "So I knew what it offered and its reputation."

Lynn was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. She completed five months of chemotherapy, and had a lumpectomy and removal of some lymph nodes, followed by radiation therapy. Something told her she should take another step to protect her health.  [...]

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Dr Matthew Robertson III, Dr Sanjay Bagaria, Dr Saranya Chumsri, Florida Campus, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Lumpectomy, Ovarian Cancer

November 3rd, 2015 · 1 Comment

Bone Marrow Transplant Is Answer for Mom of Seven Battling Aplastic Anemia

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

A bone marrow transplant helped Kristen Soley battle aplastic anemia.

Photo: Tina Fisher Photography

When her doctors suspected Kristen Soley had aplastic anemia, a rare condition in which the body stops making enough new blood cells, she says something told her to call Mayo Clinic.

Aplastic anemia carries with it a high risk of infections and uncontrolled bleeding. It can develop at any age and can occur suddenly. In Kristen's case, signs that something was wrong included swelling and bruising around her ankles.

Kristen and her husband, Nate, drove from their home in Waverly, Minnesota, to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, where her diagnosis was confirmed, and doctors outlined a treatment plan.  [...]

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Tags: Aplastic Anemia, bone marrow transplant, Dr David Rosenman, Dr William Hogan, Hematology

October 30th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Putting Kieran's Heart Back Where it Belongs

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Baby Kieran is health today thanks to pediatric heart surgery at Mayo Clinic.Caitlin Veitz never takes for granted just how special her daughter Kieran is. “She’s laid back, happy, wonderful,” Caitlin says.

The circumstances around her birth, however, were not as serene.

At her 20-week ultrasound, Caitlin learned her baby's heart was not where it was supposed to be and that it had developed outside of the chest wall. The condition, called ectopia cordis, is "one of the, if not the, most rare congenital heart defects,” according to Joseph Dearani, M.D., a Mayo Clinic pediatric cardiac surgeon.

“We didn’t have any idea that anything like that could happen," says Caitlin. "It was scary. The odds were stacked against her.”  [...]

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Tags: cardiac surgery, Congenital Heart Defect, Dr Joseph Dearani, Ectopia Cordis, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, 3d printing, Cardiology, Dr Carl Rose, Dr Christopher Moir, Dr Jane Matsumoto, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Radiology

October 29th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Emergency Eye Surgery on Halloween for a 'Scary' Close Call

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Brianna Bosley gets an eye exam from Dr. Dave Patel. It was Halloween night, 2014. Brianna Bosley, 18, a studio arts major at the University of Arizona in Tucson, was planning to attend a party with friends.

Some 100 miles to the north, in Scottsdale, Arizona, Dave Patel, M.D., a Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist, also was getting ready to celebrate Halloween with his 10-month-old son, something he had long-planned with his family. And he had made a pledge to not be a slave to his cell phone that night.

Neither Brianna nor Dr. Patel knew their lives would soon intersect – in a profound and dramatic way.  [...]

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Tags: Arizona campus, Canaloplasty, Dr Dave Patel, glaucoma

October 27th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Be the Match: It Could Save a Life, Like Christina's

By uthangaraj uthangaraj

Bone marrow transplant patient Christina Woodside

Christina Woodside starts off the YouTube video that chronicles her health journey by saying, “My family is like every other average family in America.” Her story, however is anything but average.

As part of an active family, Christina, along with her husband and their five children, enjoyed running, biking, fishing and snow sports.

In 2013, on the day after Thanksgiving, that active lifestyle was interrupted by what Christina initially thought was strep throat. She went to urgent care at a clinic in her hometown of Mankato, Minnesota. A strep test came back negative. But her white blood cell count was extremely high, and that pointed to a more serious problem. [...]

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Tags: Be the Match, bone marrow transplant, Dr Shahrukh Hashmi, Leukemia, Marrow Donor Registry

October 26th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Clinical Trial Testing Virus Therapy Gives New Hope to Melanoma Patient

By pscotti pscotti

FrankMosely805A diagnosis of stage IV melanoma can be a frightening prospect, with surgery and chemotherapy often an integral part of the treatment regimen. But Frank Moseley, a Jacksonville, Florida, native with an advanced melanoma diagnosis, was eager to do whatever it takes, even going beyond the norm, to give him the best chance of recovery.

So when Frank agreed to become the first participant in a clinical trial at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus and be injected with a form of the herpes virus to treat his melanoma, it was no surprise that he was confident it would work.  [...]

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Tags: clinical trial, Melanoma

October 22nd, 2015 · 1 Comment

Rallying Around 'Jack' – Buying Time for 11-Year-Old Who Touched the Hearts of His Care Team

By uthangaraj uthangaraj

Jack and his family with Jack's care teamHe melts hearts with his infectious smile, cheerful attitude and frequent magic tricks.

But the slogan on Haonan Jiang's T-shirt, which reads "Tough as Nails," is a more accurate summation of his spirit, and the fight he and his family have been waging.

The 11-year-old from Beijing, China, prefers to be called "Jack." He is suffering from what is known as an anaplastic astrocytoma, a grade 3 malignant tumor, according to his doctors at Mayo Clinic. The typical survival rate after diagnosis is one to three years.

Jack's parents, Ben and Lili Jiang, had promised him a trip to see America when he finished primary school. But instead of sightseeing, their focus is now on Jack and doing anything possible to stop, or at least slow, his deteriorating and deadly condition. [...]

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Tags: anaplastic astrocytoma, Cancer, Dr Amulya NageswaraRao, Dr Nadia Laack, Dr Sherilyn Driscoll, Mayo Clinic Children's Center

October 21st, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Here Comes (the Father of) the Bride — With a Little Help From Mayo

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Andre Pearson traveled to his daughter's wedding with some help from Mayo Clinic.

Andre Pearson wanted nothing more than to be in Indio, California, last June to answer the question: "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" But up until the night before, it looked like he was going to be resigned to watching his daughter, Alexandra Price, get married from half a country away. Heart and kidney failure had kept Andre in a hospital bed at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus since March. But then his care team had an idea.  [...]

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Tags: Dr David Joyce, Dr Lyle Joyce, ventricular assist device, Wedding, heart failure, Kidney Failure

October 19th, 2015 · 6 Comments

Sidelined No More - Scrambler Therapy Puts Tess Wilson Back in Action

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Tess Wilson is enjoying life again after scrambler therapy helped her chronic pain. Each year after their big Thanksgiving meal, Tess Wilson's family has a tradition of playing games in a gym to burn off some calories. For much of her high school and college years, Tess spent that afternoon sitting on the sidelines watching the rest of her family run around. Severe, chronic pain made it impossible for her to join in the fun.

Thanksgiving Day 2014 was different. On that day, Tess was in the thick of the action. She played capture-the-flag, hide-and-go-seek, soccer and tag.

"I was incredibly sore the next day, but not in a chronic pain way," she says. "I just used muscles that I had forgotten were there."

The change came as a result of Tess' participation in a a clinical research trial at Mayo Clinic that studied the effects of a new treatment for chronic nerve pain, called scrambler therapy. After two weeks of the therapy, Tess found relief from the constant pain that had been plaguing her for five years.  [...]

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Tags: chronic pain, clinical trials, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Scrambler Therapy

October 5th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Lifetime of Seeking an Answer Finally Rewarded With a Diagnosis

By uthangaraj uthangaraj

Stacy Carlson with familyStacy Carlson was born with congenital myasthenic syndrome, and although she received a number of opinions throughout her life, it wasn’t until age 44 that she received a definitive diagnosis. It was after her local physician referred her to Andrew Engel, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, that DNA testing confirmed a particular gene fault responsible for Stacy's ills.

Stacy would learn that she had congenital myasthenic syndrome, an inherited neuromuscular disorder caused by defects of several types at the neuromuscular junction. It was a long road getting to that diagnosis.  [...]

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Tags: congenital myasthenic syndrome, Dr Andrew Engel, Scoliosis

September 17th, 2015 · 2 Comments

The Flu, a Grocery Store Clinic and a Mayo Clinic Nurse May Have Saved My Life

By ronaldpetrovich ronaldpetrovich

Ron Petrovich with Nurse Practitioner Dawn Kaderabek.

My head pounded incessantly. With every sip of water, I felt like I was swallowing razor blades. I coughed and wheezed so hard that my stomach muscles ached. But as sick as I was, this would be one of my healthiest days, because a visit with a vigilant nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic may have saved my life.

After feeling really crummy for several days last spring, lying in bed "drinking plenty of fluids," and hoping whatever was ailing me would pass, I decided that I had waited long enough. I visited Mayo Clinic Express Care at one of the Hy-Vee Grocery stores in Rochester, Minnesota. That's where Dawn Kaderabek, a Mayo Clinic nurse practitioner, diagnosed me with Influenza B. She also noticed something unusual.

While listening to my heart, she heard a whooshing sound and asked if I had ever been told about a murmur. I said no, I hadn't. She told me that murmurs are not always dangerous but recommended that I get this checked out sooner rather than later. [...]

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Tags: bicuspid aortic valve, Cardiovascular Diseases, Heart Murmur, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, influenza, Patient Stories

September 16th, 2015 · 2 Comments

New Kidney From Sister Gives Hurdler a Chance at 2016 Olympics

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

AriesMerritt805Heads turned when Aries Merritt walked into the lobby at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix at 5 a.m. on Sept. 1, with family and TV cameras in tow. Just four days earlier, he won a bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. But, on this day, facing one of his biggest hurdles, he was about to undergo a lifesaving kidney transplant.  [...]

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Tags: Arizona campus, kidney transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center, Patient Stories

September 11th, 2015 · 1 Comment

The Beat Goes On … for Tom Grady

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

A portrait of Tom GradyIn 1968, when I was just three months old, I was taken from my mother’s arms and rushed into emergency surgery. My skin tone turned to a sky blue color, and the doctors caring for me knew they needed to act fast if they wanted to save me. They needed to get oxygen to my vital organs, because my heart was failing.

The doctors did a temporary-fix surgery to improve my circulation and to buy them time in hopes that they would find a better solution. The surgery worked, but the question was: How long would it last?

Later that day, my mother was given words that no mother wants to hear. “Take him home to die,” the doctors told my mom. Four open-heart surgeries and 45 years later, I am still here, proving those doctors wrong.

I am happy that through science and research, there are now medical devices and surgical techniques that are much more high-tech than what they had to work with 45 years ago. My gray hairs prove that I, a Tetralogy of Fallot baby, am still alive into my adulthood years.  [...]

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Tags: Congenital Heart Disease, Congenital Heart Walk, Tetralogy of Fallot

September 10th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Team Marrion Steps Out for Heart Health

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Katie and Marrion Ford. Every year, Katie Ford, who works at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, can be found with a plastic jar and a stack of donation envelopes, encouraging colleagues to support the activities of the American Heart Association. In particular, she urges them to sign up for the annual First Coast Heart Walk, which Mayo Clinic sponsors.

Heart disease runs in Ford’s family, which is why she’s so passionate about supporting the cause and spreading the word about cardiovascular health.

Although he was 74-years-old, Ford’s father hadn’t been to a doctor’s office his entire adult life. When her mother was able to convince him it was time for a checkup, his doctors immediately identified issues.

“The doctor found he was 75 percent blocked and said he was a ticking time bomb for a heart attack,” Katie says. Her dad received a stent, and all was well for a number of years. However, his condition progressed, and he had a pacemaker and defibrillator installed in August 2014.  [...]

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Tags: Aortic Aneurysm, Cardiovascular Health, First Coast Heart Walk, Heart Disease

September 4th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Critical Care Team Gives Young Mom Second Chance in Fight Against Cancer

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Mayo Clinic cancer patient Hollis Younger enjoying timel with family. Three years had passed since Hollis Youngner, 34, had been diagnosed and treated for HER2+ breast cancer. So in late 2014, when the mother of one was "just feeling yucky, tired, nauseous," she says cancer wasn't even on her mind. "I was secretly excited, thinking of ways to tell everyone I was pregnant," she says.

Unfortunately, a chest X-ray, prompted by a complaint of being short of breath, set in motion a series of events that ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, a 45-minute CPR session, and questions about whether the young mom would even survive.  [...]

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Florida Campus, Metastatic Cancer, Dr John Moss, Dr Diaz-Gomez, Dr Moreno, Hollis, pulmonary embolism