Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

January 16th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

New Procedure Helps Patient Strike Back Against Cancer

By Hoyt Finnamore

Bill Steele, a patient at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, shares his story about his battle against Stage 4A cancer in the throat area without undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. In the video he produced, he explains how his surgical care team, led by Michael Hinni, M.D., a Mayo head and neck cancer surgeon, used transoral laser microsurgery to treat his cancer and help maintain his quality of his life.



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Tags: Arizona Campus, cancer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Transoral Laser Microsurgery

January 7th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Facing Breast Cancer: Lynn Gallett’s story

By Hoyt Finnamore

When Lynn Gallett was diagnosed with breast cancer, she had a number of concerns and decisions to make. In the video below, Lynn discusses the process and her experience at Mayo Clinic.



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Tags: Arizona Campus, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Dr Donald Northfelt, Dr Barbara Pockaj

January 2nd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Becoming Whole Again After Cancer Treatment

By Susana Shephard

Kristine Long, a patient at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, has had an incredible journey as a three-time Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor. In the course of her struggle, she has also overcome congestive heart failure and subsequent voice impairment.

In the video below, she explains how the care provided by her Mayo Clinic physicians, James Slack, M.D., a hematologist; D. Eric Steidley, M.D., a cardiologist; and David Lott, M.D., an otorhinolaryngologist, along with their care teams, has made her a whole person again. She also talks before and after repair to her vocal chords about what that procedure has meant to her personally and how it's given her renewed confidence as well as giving her voice back.



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Tags: Hodgkins lymphoma, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Voice Impairment, Arizona Campus

December 31st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

‘Nothing Short of a Miracle’

By Hoyt Finnamore

Read time: 4 minutes, 30 seconds

DennisSchmittWebWhen he was 26 years old, Dennis Schmitt had his first seizure.

“At first, they’d happen every six months or so,” says Dennis, of Liberal, Kansas. “Then, they got a little closer each time.” Doctors had no idea why.

“Dennis was healthy,” says his wife, Pat. “He’d been a strong athlete in high school.”

Over the years, the seizures kept coming. Medication didn’t seem to help. Eventually, Dennis was having three or four seizures a week.

“He had all kinds of seizures -- grand mal, petit mal, seizures where he’d just stare and not know what was going on,” says Pat. “The seizures happened with no warning. He could be in the middle of a sentence or walking to the car. Our sons were 1 and 3 when this started happening. It was very difficult, and very stressful. Dennis’ seizures were ongoing for 31 years.”

In 2006, a new neurologist who was caring for Dennis suggested the couple seek another opinion.

“He told us he just could not figure out why Dennis was having seizures,” says Pat. “He suggested we see a neurologist in Wichita. We asked about going to Mayo Clinic, instead, and the doctor’s face lit up.”  [...]

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Tags: Dr Jeffrey Britton, Dr. Richard Marsh, Neurology & Neurosurgery, neurosurgery, seizures

December 19th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Operating Room (OR) 10 and Dr. Charles William Mayo

By Hoyt Finnamore

 Read time: 5 minutes

Elaine Stewart poses in front of a painting of Dr. Charles W. Mayo.

Elaine Stewart poses in front of a painting of Dr. Charles W. Mayo.

Written by Elaine Stewart, Mayo Clinic Health System Home Health and Hospice

During a recent visit to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, I was reminded of some great memories from my days of working at Saint Marys Hospital over 50 years ago. I want to share some of those memories.

My first visits to Mayo Clinic and Saint Marys Hospital began in 1957. A family member was diagnosed and treated at Mayo Clinic for lymphoma, and I made several trips with him during his illness. He eventually passed away at the hospital in 1959. I enjoyed the visits to Rochester, so a couple of months after my family member’s death, I decided to seek employment at Mayo Clinic. My first stop was Saint Marys Hospital, where I was granted an interview with Sister Merici, the supervisor of Surgery. When I walked out of her office that day, I had a position as a surgical technician! No background check and no waiting period. Sister Merici didn’t tell me at the time, but later told me she hired me because my modesty and wholesome innocence appealed to her.

I was trained on the job by the nurse in charge of Operating Room (OR) 10. I was excited and a little scared, too, because my new job seemed like a huge challenge. And, I had no idea who I would be meeting, and working with for the months and years to come. When I found out one of these people would be Dr. Charles W. Mayo, well, you can only imagine how I felt! I only had started my new job as a surgery technician when he was scheduled to do surgery. I was worried about meeting him, but he made it very easy for me. I was mopping the floor when he walked in and jumped on my mop and greeted me with a warm smile and welcome. From that time on, I was totally comfortable with him. He never held himself above anyone — that’s the kind of person he was.

“Dr. Chuck” is what everyone called him, but I always just called him “Doctor.” As time passed, I did get to know him well. [...]

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Tags: Dr Charles W Mayo, Employee Story, Mayo Clinic history

December 12th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

From ‘Pick a Plot’ to Watching His Son Graduate

By Hoyt Finnamore

Read time: 4 minutes
Ron Christian has been able to watch his young children grow up thanks to brain surgery at Mayo Clinic.

Written by Ron Christian

“Pick a plot and get your papers in order, you’ll be dead in a month.” That’s what the local neurosurgeon said. Those words served as my wake-up call. While my wife wept, I became angry. We had three very young children, and I was determined to see them grow up.

Weeks before, I had two seizures. The second seizure resulted in hospitalization, and within hours I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The local neurosurgeon did a biopsy and then gave his instructions on how to spend the little bit of time I had left … finding a plot.

After meeting with some of the best neurosurgeons in the country, we visited Mayo Clinic’s Fredric Meyer, M.D.  Dr. Meyer was direct and to the point. He stated that although it was risky, the only option to survive was aggressive surgery. Even then, the odds for long term survival weren’t good. While not hopeful, at least Dr. Meyer was honest. When I asked him how many surgeries he did in a year, Dr. Meyer told me he averaged about 1,500 brain surgeries annually. He’s a no-nonsense, intelligent man and brilliant surgeon. We scheduled surgery for the next week.  [...]

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Tags: Brain Tumor, cancer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Neurology & Neurosurgery

December 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

An Answer to Chronic Pain Through Community

By Hoyt Finnamore

Read time: 7 minutes
Kylee Swendsrud found help in dealing with chronic pain through Mayo's Pain Rehabilitation Program.Kylee Swensrud doesn’t want to talk about the bad stuff. About how the chronic back pain she’s been living with for the past few years caused emotional distress and drove a wedge between her parents, or the weight it placed on her older sister over concern for her. And she especially doesn’t want to talk about how it rendered a vibrant, outgoing teenager essentially lifeless.

“I don’t want to focus on how negative all of this was,” Kylee, now 19, says. “But I do want people to understand that I literally had no life. It truly was like a living hell. It was just this giant, rolling ball of ick.”

The culprit came suddenly and without warning when Kylee’s lower back gave out one day during ballet. “They thought it was just an injury,” she says. “Nothing was noticeable as a trigger point, so they just told me to rest and do some physical therapy.”

But after that rest and physical therapy, Kylee’s back pain was still there. Local doctors then put her on a pain medications and muscle relaxers that she says did nothing more than require more pills.

After those medications failed to help, Kylee says she then turned to heat and ice treatments. “But I ended up icing so much that I burst my skin and got these huge welts, because I’d just become so dependent on the ice,” she says. [...]

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Tags: back pain, chronic pain, Pain Rehabilitation Center

December 2nd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Still in Wild Water: 150 Years of Healing

By Jason Pratt

StillInWildWater-Gallery-CoverPhoto
The sesquicentennial year for both the American Civil War and Mayo Clinic is coming to a close, and before it does, we’d like to use art to show how these two have connections that started over 150 years ago.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was once referred to as "still in wild water" for his calm and deft handling of the war effort. More than 150 years ago, President Lincoln appointed Dr. William Worrall Mayo as a Union Army exempting surgeon. Dr. Mayo assessed soldiers just like those depicted in the small, ambrotype and tintype photographs on exhibit in the Robert D. and Isabelle T. Davis Gallery at Mayo Clinic in Florida.
[...]

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Tags: Mayo Clinic in Florida, MayoClinic150, MayoClinicFL

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