Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Archive for December 23rd, 2012

Grateful for his life and glad to help others

Posted on December 23rd, 2012 by Margaret Shepard

Bruce SchwartauWhen Bruce Schwartau was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a chronic liver disease, he understood he'd eventually need a liver transplant. Until then, he didn't want his condition to change his life.

For years, it didn't. Bruce continued his university course work, traveling to communities throughout southern Minnesota to teach. But as his disease progressed, his activities were curbed. "Sometimes my chest ached from fluid retention," says Bruce, "and I had leg cramps that lasted for hours."

Finally, Bruce was hospitalized at Mayo Clinic. It was then he began to appreciate the "significant resource" that Mayo Clinic was to people like him who are critically ill. His only hope was a transplant.

"I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't receive a liver," he says. "Every time I said goodbye to someone, I realized it could be the last time." Read the rest of this entry »

Repaying a gift: Scholarship recipient says thanks in a special way

Posted on December 23rd, 2012 by Margaret Shepard

Joe and Janice Lueken

Joe Lueken, who has suffered the tremors of Parkinson's disease for more than 12 years, holds out steady hands after deep brain stimulation surgery June 15. His wife, Janice, said the change was immediate and profound.

About 14 years ago, Joe Lueken was working at his grocery store and noticed occasional tremors.

"I didn't think anything of it, but it got to me more and more," Joe said.

After a trip to a local physician, followed by examination at the Mayo Clinic, he received a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

About a year before Joe's diagnosis, he helped the Bemidji State University Foundation launch the BSU Full Tuition Scholarship. Sue Kringen, BSU Foundation senior director of development, said she asked Joe for an initial donation, and he was glad to comply.

On June 15, Joe's scholarship contribution and his Parkinson's disease met full circle. He underwent deep brain stimulation surgery at St. Mary's Hospital at the Mayo Clinic. The procedure involves a neurosurgeon placing thin metal electrodes about the diameter of a piece of spaghetti into brain targets and attaching the electrodes to a computerized pulse generator. Signals from the pulse generator help control the shaking of Parkinson's disease. Read the rest of this entry »