Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

July 2nd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Cardiac Rehabilitation Helps Ardis Kyker Improve Her Health, Lose Weight and Avoid Surgery

By Hoyt Finnamore

Ardis Kyker with her rehabilitation therapist, Whitney Quast. Back in 2014, Ardis Kyker was at home going about her daily routine when she experienced tightening in her chest. The pain went away as soon as she sat down to rest, so she proceeded with her day.

Later, while pushing a cart at a grocery store, the pain returned with more intensity. So Ardis checked in at the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, Minnesota. While test results ruled out a heart attack, the team in the Emergency Department scheduled her for a stress test because of the pain she was feeling on exertion. [...]

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Tags: Cardiac Rehabilitation, Coronary Artery Disease, Mayo Clinic Health System, Red Wing

June 26th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

From Patient to Physician

By Hoyt Finnamore

Dr. Brandon Phillips with a young patient. Dr. Brandon Lane Phillips' experience as a patient and a student at Mayo Clinic influences his own practice of medicine today

As a pediatric cardiology fellow at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Brandon Lane Phillips cared for a number of children from Mongolia who had congenital heart defects. Before they went into surgery, he would take a photo of their hands next to his on a white piece of paper. He would do the same again after surgery and before they returned home.

The difference was striking. "In the pictures before heart surgery, you could clearly see a blue cast to their skin. After surgery, the blue was gone," he says. "That really hit home for me."

It made an impact because Dr. Phillips is not only a physician who specializes in pediatric cardiology, he's also been a pediatric cardiology patient.

"Many of the kids who came to us from Mongolia had the same heart defect I did: tetralogy of Fallot," he says. "They were often close to their teenage years and had never undergone surgery. These children were usually quite blue. They couldn't walk very far. It was a glimpse of what would have happened to me without the medical attention I received.  [...]

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Tags: Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine, Pediatric Cardiology, Pulmonary Valve Surgery, Tetralogy of Fallot

June 24th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

West Nile Put Gloria Johnson on a Ventilator. Rehab Brings Her Back

By Hoyt Finnamore

Gloria Johnson recovered her respiratory function with the help of the Mayo team. Gloria Johnson’s life changed in the blink of an eye.

Gloria and her husband, Floyd, were camping in South Dakota in August 2013, when her body’s temperature skyrocketed to 104.6 degrees, and her body went limp. She went from enjoying her time at a campground to being paralyzed from the neck down.

She was diagnosed with West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Most people infected with West Nile virus experience a slight fever or a mild headache. Gloria was in the minority – less than one percent – of people affected neurologically by the virus. She ended up being admitted to an intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. Because of her paralysis, Gloria needed a ventilator to breathe.  [...]

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Tags: Lake City, Mayo Clinic Health System, Respiratory Therapy, Ventilator Program, West Nile Virus

June 12th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Spina Bifida Won't Slow Down Ty Wiberg

By Hoyt Finnamore

Ty Wiberg received his black belt in karate this past spring, despite mobility challenges caused by spina bifida. If everyone else can do it, why can’t I?

If Ty Wiberg, a 13-year-old from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, has one guiding principle in life, that might be the one.

The Chippewa Falls Middle School student has undergone 16 surgeries, walks with braces and uses a wheelchair for distance. Ty was born with spina bifida, a spinal cord malformation. He also suffers from hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain for which a tube-like shunt drains excess fluid. And he has limited sensation from the knees down, among other issues.

Not that any of that is slowing him down.

Ty mono-skis, distance races with his wheelchair, scuba dives, plays wheelchair basketball, swims and does karate. This past winter, he spent a week at a downhill ski camp in Colorado for kids with disabilities and injured veterans. This spring, he recently received his black belt in karate.  [...]

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Tags: Dr Jane Byrd, Dr Sherilyn Driscoll, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spina Bifida, Spina Bifida Clinic

June 4th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Transplant Change-Up Gives Courtney a Second Chance

By Hoyt Finnamore

Courtney Kidd in her hospital room after transplant surgery. Courtney Kidd is working hard to raise organ donor awareness after a new approach to double-organ transplant saved her life.

Born with five congenital heart defects and suffering through several medical complications, Courtney needed both a new heart and a new liver. Previous surgeries at ages 2, 6, 12 and then again at 22, and numerous blood transfusions over the years, had caused her immune system to develop high levels of antibodies that would attack and reject foreign tissues.

She was told that her risk of organ rejection was too high if she received a heart and liver transplant in the usual order. Her Mayo Clinic doctors, however, turned her dire situation into an advantage, and she was one of the first in the world to receive an organ transplant in a way that was likely her only chance to survive.  [...]

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Tags: congenital heart defect, Heart Transplant, liver transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center

May 29th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo, Hands for Humanity Form Village to Save Little Aisha

By Hoyt Finnamore

With the help of Mayo Clinic and Hands for Humanity, Aisha has a repaired heart, new glasses and  hope for the future. In April 2013, the International Services Office at Mayo Clinic received a copy of an article from a Gambian newspaper. In the article, a father begged for help for his 2-year-old daughter, Aisha. She was born with a ventricular septal defect – a hole in the heart that occurs in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers. Large ventricular septal defect require surgery to prevent complications.

Aisha needed a heart surgery that no hospitals in her home country could perform, and the family was unable to raise the funds for her to travel elsewhere for care. Eventually, her uncle reached out to Mayo Clinic for help.

Frank Cetta Jr., M.D., a Mayo Clinic pediatric cardiologist, reviewed the case and gladly accepted it. Then the International Appointment Office went to work to find a Mayo-sponsored charity that would fund her care. Cindy Kendall of the International Office called Kate Welp, a nurse in Cardiovascular Surgery, who also founded the nonprofit Hands for Humanity. Without hesitation, Welp agreed to sponsor Aisha and her family.  [...]

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Tags: cardiac surgery, Del Wibben, Dr. Allison Cabalka, Dr Brian Mohoney, Dr Eric Towe, Dr Frank Cetta Jr, Dr Joseph Dearani, Humanitarian Outreach, International Medicine, Kate Welp, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, Pediatric Cardiology, Ventricular Septal Defect

May 19th, 2015 · 4 Comments

Patient's Cancer Journey Inspires Hope and a New Career Path

By Hoyt Finnamore

Kristin Yukness at a power lifting event. Kristen Yukness knew what her doctor was going to say next. After a finding of bilateral deep vein thrombosis after a routine flight, Kristen had a strong feeling – based on her family history – that her condition had been caused by an underlying form of cancer.  [...]

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Tags: cancer, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Dr Kenneth DeVault, Dr Matthew Robertson III, Dr Todd Miller, Dr William Cliby, Endocervical Cancer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

May 11th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Brain Hemorrhage Can’t Keep Cyclist From Pedaling On

By Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss

Donnie continues to recover from a brain hemorrhage that caused a stroke.

At age 42, Donnie DeWitt was the picture of health. A former Marine, he loved to run, surf and was an avid cyclist. But three years ago, while on a bike ride near his home in St. Augustine, Florida, Donnie collapsed. He’d suffered a massive brain hemorrhage that led to a stroke.

He was brought to Mayo Clinic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center in Jacksonville, where physicians said the damage was so extensive that Donnie had less than a five percent chance of survival.

“We didn’t know if he was going to live, what the outcome would be,” says Belinda, Donnie’s wife. [...]

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Tags: brain hemorrhage, Florida Campus, stroke, Comprehensive Stroke Center, Dr Ronald Reimer

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