Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

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Jul 22, 2011 by stacytheobald · View  

96 minutes of CPR — and living to tell the tale

Howard Snitzer

Howard Snitzer will be the first to tell you he’s a lucky man.

“I just wish I’d won the lottery instead,” he says, jokingly. But Snitzer knows his good fortune netted him something much more valuable: his life.

Snitzer, a 54-year-old chef, miraculously survived a cardiac arrest thanks to a flawless and unrelenting response from nearly two dozen emergency personnel, including many volunteer first responders. The group took turns performing CPR on Snitzer for 96 minutes, more than 30 minutes longer than previously documented out-of-hospital cardiac arrest durations.

Snitzer’s story begins one cold evening in January, when he headed to Don’s Foods in rural Goodhue, Minn., to buy a tank of propane for his grill. But Snitzer never made it inside. Instead, he experienced cardiac arrest and fell to the ground on the sidewalk just outside the store.


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stanwisniewskiacardiacarrestsurvivorof60years responded 3 days ago · View

ANOTHER WONDERFUL STORY, CONGRATULATIONS Howard, stan wisniewski a 60 year cardiac arrest survivor .. My event date was 12-17-1954 in Chicago ill. Story in JAMA fEB 1957 pages 352 and 353.

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May 31, 2013 by cindyweiss · View  

Adventures of a 31-year-old Pancreatic Cancer Survivor

Dorylee Baez (in purple) and a group of friends and supporters enjoy a zip lining adventure at Toro Verde in Orocovis, Puerto Rico.

Dorylee Baez (in purple) and a group of friends and supporters from the newly formed Asociación Puertorriqueña del Cáncer del Páncreas enjoy a zip lining adventure at Toro Verde in Orocovis, Puerto Rico.

Dorylee Baez lives fearlessly.

Whether flying down a zip line or organizing a pancreatic cancer patient group in Puerto Rico, she plunges into life with zest.

The 31-year-old academic advisor at Universidad del Este in Carolina, Puerto Rico, is known as someone who is tenacious, overcoming whatever obstacles get in her way to achieve and achieve her goals.

For instance, Baez attended college while simultaneously working and caring for her ailing mother who was suffering from lupus. After her mother died, Baez pressed on to honor her memory and completed a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in college-level education administration. But then, at 29, Baez learned she had a large tumor in her pancreas. Not the diagnosis she was expecting when she went to the doctor.


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Heidicunningham responded 4 days ago · View

Hi What were Dorylee's symptoms, that prompted her to go to the Doctor??

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Tue, Nov 3 at 11:50am CST by hoytfinnamore · View  

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

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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ellebee responded 4 days ago · View

I am glad that you had a great experience at Mayo for your transplant for aplastic anemia. I also had a transplant at Mayo for aplastic anemia and I received the most horrible care ever. I also now have a diagnosis of PTSD caused by the poor care I received. I would never recommend anyone to get their transplant at Mayo.

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Mon, Oct 19 at 12:16pm CST by hoytfinnamore · View  

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

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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Jwalleser responded Fri, Oct 23 at 12:15am CST · View

Can this help neuropathy due to diabetes 2?


carollbert responded 5 days ago · View

You can go calmare therapy is the best solution for your this problems .The Calmare® device uses a biophysical rather than a biochemical approach. A ‘no-pain’ message is transmitted to the nerve via disposable surface electrodes applied to the skin in the region of the patient’s pain. The perception of pain is cancelled when the no-pain message replaces that of pain, by using the same pathway through the surface electrodes in a non-invasive way. [...]

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6 days ago by hoytfinnamore · View  

Putting the Pieces Together to Solve Medical Mystery

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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Tue, Nov 17 at 8:54am CST by hoytfinnamore · View  

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

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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Fri, Nov 13 at 4:31pm CST by cindyweiss · View  

Recovery Turns Into Cancer Battle for Avid Runner

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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Aug 14, 2014 by hoytfinnamore · View  

A Kidney Between Friends

Todd Goldrick, transplant patient, stops for a photo with his donor, Marty Yeager. Todd Goldrick was living the dream. Good job. Loving wife. Two young, healthy kids. Weekends spent playing golf, softball, kayaking, hiking, running or just hanging around home with the family. But that changed suddenly in 2010, when he and his wife simply tried to buy some life insurance. He was just 28.

"Mine came back straight out denied," Todd says. "They told me the reasons. There was a whole long list -- high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a few other things that I don't remember exactly."

Before that day, Todd says he'd been to see his doctor in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area "maybe every two years," so the policy denial came of left field. In fact, he says it scared him into doing nothing about it, at least initially. "I was kind of naïve and a little scared to go back to the doctor," he says. "So I didn't do anything."

Six months later, he got a sinus infection that wouldn't go away, and eventually he went to urgent care, where some flags were raised unrelated to his sinuses. "They took my blood pressure, and it was 200 over 120," he says. "At that point, they told me I needed to go to the ER."  [...]

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MKathllenSaucier responded Thu, Nov 12 at 11:59pm CST · View

Awesome! Love your story I was a Kidney donor for my Father in 1984 at Rochester Mn the staff and Nurses are the Best ! What A great and selfless gift your friend has given you. Love and prayers!!!

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Wed, Aug 5 at 3:25pm CST by hoytfinnamore · View  

Turning off the Tremors -- Deep Brain Stimulation Helps Patient Enjoy Little Things Again

Mary Daugherty is now able to enjoy the little things like flying a kite after a deep brain stimulation procedure to stop her tremor. Mary Daugherty just wanted to sit still. For nearly four decades, the 73-year-old experienced tremors in her hands, arms and head. In 2014, she decided to do something about it.

Mary’s journey began when she was in her mid-30s and started to notice a slight trembling in her upper extremities. “I thought I just got excited or nervous, scared or tired,” she says. “When others started remarking on my tremors, I decided to seek a medical explanation.”  [...]

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lisa321 responded Fri, Sep 11 at 8:00am CST · View

Such a wonderful story. Mary is very fortunate to get the relief she has been needing. I have spasmodic torticollis, Onset started in my late 20's and was treated with many medications that would only make me tired. Then I was introduced to botox with numerous injections in the neck every 3 months and even with insurance is very costly. Now in my late 40's I am still not a candidate for the deep brain [...]


buddelay responded Thu, Nov 12 at 5:36pm CST · View

I have a tremor Mostly my right hand. I can not even sign my name and have to use my left hand on the mouse. My Dr. said there are meds for it but with bad side affects.

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Thu, Nov 12 at 11:30am CST by hoytfinnamore · View  

Restoring Mobility and Hope After Traumatic Motorcycle Crash

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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Feb 5, 2014 by saraf17 · View  

Colorado Nurse Finds Answers to Medical Mystery

Written by Sara Jacobsen

Everyone who visits the Mayo Clinic has a story. Though my story may be a lot like all of the other patients who have come and gone through the Mayo Clinic system, I want to share my gratitude for the organization, facility and clinic that Mayo is.

Sara JacobsenThe year 2013 proved to be a bit of a roller coaster for me. I started out with bowel and bladder difficulty that ultimately spread to affect my neurological system and breathing. I had seen every specialist and had more tests done than I ever knew were possible. In August, I started worsening. I was having difficulty taking a deep breath in, while having increased right sided weakness, fatigue and numbness. The whole array of diagnoses were thrown at me (ALS, MS, Cancer, Myasthenia Gravis, and everything in between). I was placed on oxygen at night and it was becoming difficult to have enough energy to care for my two young boys (ages 3 and 5). I continued to work as a nurse, but I wasn't as effective as I had been.

In October, things continued to worsen. I had to stop running because my right foot was becoming numb, and I had to limit my activity because it was becoming more and more difficult to breathe. By the time I decided to come to the Mayo Clinic (the best place in the world for medicine) in November, it was hard for me to drive home at night because of the numbness in my right foot, it was getting difficult to make it through a day of work, and I had no energy for my kids. The quality of life I had was diminishing quickly. [...]

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Shana13 responded Mon, Oct 26 at 6:27pm CST · View

I want to thank you so much for sharing your story. It is my exact story. I was told today i have Hashimotos. However ive been battling thyroid stuff for years. Today I wasn't feeling well so I went in to get checked out and I ask the doctor what kind of thyroid problems I had and she said. I had a test done in May and its Hashimoto's. I'm kind of upset. If I [...]


ConnieRose responded Mon, Nov 9 at 4:12pm CST · View

I have been suffering for almost 5 years and at first I had terrible back pain and left leg pain and my left leg is very weak and has numbness and weakness and tingling so the doctor diagnosed me with degenerative disc disease and sciatica and I have had two left knee scopes and I have been going to pain management to get injections in my back and for my sciatica but the pain comes [...]

Edited: 11/09/2015 @ 4:21pm

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karl oestreich

Jul 9, 2009 by karl oestreich · View  

Diagnosing Nick's Mysterious Illness

Melissa Shultz and her son, Nick

Melissa Shultz, a freelance writer living in Plano, Texas, wrote an article for Newsweek online about her son Nick's mysterious illness and his diagnosis and treatment at Mayo Clinic.

Fatigue set in a day after Nick's dizziness started. Swollen glands followed close behind. Our general practitioner ordered blood work, including studies for mononucleosis and Lyme disease. When everything came back negative, we tried steroids for Nick's swollen glands and a round of antibiotics in case he had a bacterial infection. When the dizziness and fatigue persisted we wondered aloud if the culprit might have been the flu shot he received eight days prior. It was presumed he had viral labyrinthitis (an inner-ear disorder) that would pass in a week or two.

When it didn't, and his tonsils grew exponentially, we tried a different antibiotic. All the while, he was perched in a makeshift bed on our first floor—an overstuffed chair and aging ottoman with a twin sheet stretched to its limit. Suffering from extreme vertigo, Nick was unable to walk up the stairs to his bedroom. He could not lift his head without looking as if he were drowningand mostly slept the days away. School became someplace his friends went.


By April, I was losing hope when a teacher of Nick's who had been coming to our home to work with him, reminded me of the Mayo Clinic. I knew it was a place where doctors are paid with a salary, not per patient, and where the concept of teamwork is embraced. I made a number of calls, wrote up my own report detailing his illness, coordinated with several doctors' offices to have all his records forwarded, and within a month, we were on our way from our home in Texas to Minnesota....

Read the full story of Nick's experience at Mayo Clinic here.

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Chaunceytanner responded Mon, Nov 9 at 10:54am CST · View

d been to 4 doctors trying to find outwhatwaswrong with me. tHeytested forLyme and the results were neg Finally after one year of trying today with this I Began to seizure. i I ended up at Maine Medical and in the hands of the Infectious disease dept. They took a test on my spinal fluid and Ihad severe brain fog and extreme fatigue. will this lead me into another disease?

Edited: 11/09/2015 @ 11:01am

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Mar 12, 2012 by makalajohnson · View  

Nurse finds out what being "hip" is all about

Julie and daughter Taylor

My story begins in 1998. At the age of 32 I was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. Because I was a breech baby at birth the doctors at home had told me that this was probably the reason why I was having problems. I was having the most pain in my left hip. I first went to see Dr Ray Emerson at the Mason City Clinic in Mason City, Iowa. He took a hip xray and diagnosed me from that. I am an RN and was working at the hospital so being on my feet all day was somewhat of a task at times. He suggested to me that a cortisone shot may help alleviate some of the pain along with an anti-inflammatory. So I took him up on his advice and took the cortisone shot. After about a week the shot wore off and it was back to the pain again. The pain was not yet unbearable at this point and nothing that the anti-inflammatory medication couldn't control. I continued to work as an RN and was on my feet many hours a day.


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Malia responded Sat, Nov 7 at 5:21am CST · View

Thanks for sharing. Do you know who the best doctor in Honolulu would be for total hip replacement?

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Thu, Oct 22 at 11:44am CST by uthangaraj · View  

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

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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lukem responded Thu, Nov 5 at 2:08pm CST · View

Great Story Dave Hansen.

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Thu, Nov 5 at 11:25am CST by hoytfinnamore · View  

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

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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Tue, Oct 27 at 9:07am CST by uthangaraj · View  

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

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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Daryl Forman

Daryl Forman responded Tue, Nov 3 at 8:41pm CST · View

Bone marrow donors save lives.. my daughter in lost her battle with leukemia before she voild have a bone marrow but they had located two bone marrow matches for her. She was so grateful to them both

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Mon, Jul 20 at 12:00pm CST by cindyweiss · View  

Patient Comes to Mayo for Foot Surgery, Receives Lifesaving Surprise

Virgil Jernigan is enjoying his retirement thanks to surgery to repair a leaky mitral valve.When Virgil Jernigan came to Mayo Clinic for foot surgery, he was in for a lifesaving surprise. During an exam before his surgery, he mentioned to his nurse practitioner that he had been feeling fatigued and short of breath. So she ordered cardiac testing. Virgil was shocked to learn he had a leaking mitral valve – a potentially life-threatening heart condition.  [...]

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DianeD responded Mon, Oct 19 at 9:36pm CST · View

I have been told I have a "leaky valve" is it the same as mentioned above and if so, what test should I have?-- the doctors did not seem concerned about it-it was discovered during an ultra sound ---my cousin also mentioned she has the same thing and she is a marathon runner so she is concerned also- worried--

Edited: 10/19/2015 @ 9:37pm


Angela456 responded Sun, Nov 1 at 4:51am CST · View

Call and request an appt. with A cardiac diseases Dr. Click onlink for info. Talk to your primary Dr. for help too. But you can call directly to Mayo.

Edited: 11/01/2015 @ 4:54am

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Dec 13, 2012 by Margaret_Marie · View  

Research forges path to effective treatment for sclerosing mesenteritis

Carol Bolton outside Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Carol Bolton enjoys a breath of fresh air between appointments outside Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

With more than three decades of experience as a nurse and nurse manager, Carol Bolton of Exeter, Calif., was acquainted with most medical conditions. But in 2004 when she began experiencing abdominal pain along with episodes of diarrhea or constipation, she was baffled by what it could be. Most likely, she thought, it was related to grief over the abrupt death of her husband of 35 years.

But when the pain persisted and grew worse, she saw a gastroenterologist, who ordered a computed tomography (CT) scan. Carol was shocked to learn that a mass (about the size of a quarter) had been found in her mesentery. The mesentery, a membrane that anchors the small intestine to the back of the abdominal wall, is comprised of delicate folds or leaves filled with blood vessels and nerves. [...]

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marezdotes responded Sat, Oct 31 at 12:24pm CST · View

ccorbe01, please send me your email to my email in my last post so that I can extend the invite to you by Lisa Schwart.  Thanks!


amynatoli67 responded Sat, Oct 31 at 5:54pm CST · View

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Fri, Oct 30 at 3:16pm CST by hoytfinnamore · View  

Putting Kieran's Heart Back Where it Belongs

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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Wed, Aug 12 at 12:10pm CST by pscotti · View  

Cystic Fibrosis Patient Says Double Lung Transplant Transformed His Life

Jon Jantomaso stays active with his family after his lung transplant.

Nobody knows better than Jon Jantomaso how precious every breath can be. The 49-year-old realtor from Seminole, Florida, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 2 months of age, and for the first 12 years of his life slept in a mist filled tent to help him breath and clear the mucus from his lungs. He has been in some form of physical therapy his entire life battling his disease.  [...]

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AshleyDean responded Fri, Oct 30 at 1:13pm CST · View

That is so awesome! Mayo has a special unit of great doctors! So happy you have enjoyed five years with your family! Many more to you!

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