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Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Archive for December 16th, 2012

Jubilant First Steps

Posted on December 16th, 2012 by Margaret Shepard

Greg and Suzanne Roeder were in tears when their daughterDanielle Roeder took her first steps. It's natural to get choked up when a child demonstrates her vertical independence. But the Roeders were especially emotional because Danielle was seven years old when she made those monumental strides.

Danielle once needed to use a wheelchair, but was freed from its confines after her diagnosis and treatment for the condition L-dopa responsive dystonia at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

"When Danielle was six months old, we realized something was wrong," says Greg. "She started out with a little foot tic or tremor. Eventually she couldn't hold her own head up. Her mother and I would have to do everything for her, including holding her bottle. As Danielle's physical condition eroded, the Roeders saw 20 to 30 doctors over the years and talked with hundreds of health care providers about their daughter. "No one could tell us what was really wrong with her," says Greg. Read the rest of this entry »

Psychologist finds help for shaking disorder through mindfulness training

Posted on December 16th, 2012 by Margaret Shepard

Bill Hunt

Bill Hunt is enjoying new activities in retirement after finding help for anxiety and tremors at Mayo's Integrative Medicine program.

Very suddenly one day, Bill Hunt became anxious and began trembling uncontrollably. "His symptoms came on so quickly, I was sure he had a serious neurological disorder," says Bill's wife Mary Friedel-Hunt.

Extensive testing for dreaded diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease came back negative. "My fear of those things subsided, but Bill's shaking continued," says Mary.

Bill, a retired clinical psychologist, was shaking so violently and constantly that he couldn't think, sleep or walk. "He literally became a bundle of nerves and required heavy medication to get any relief," remembers Mary, who is also a psychotherapist.

"We were each other's caretakers," explains Mary. "He took care of me because he was retired and doing all the cleaning, cooking and finances while I worked." It was painful for Mary to see Bill so helpless. It was also difficult for Bill, whose legendary irrepressible and unassailable spirit became paralyzed by extreme anxiety. Read the rest of this entry »