Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Fri, Jun 26 8:05am · View  

From Patient to Physician

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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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Wed, Jun 24 2:00pm · View  

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

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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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Tue, Jun 23 7:09am · View  

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

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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Josie (@josie2126) responded:

Is there help on tintus

Posted Tue, Jun 23 at 6:53am CDT · View

Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) responded:

Here's a link to information on tinnitus treatment:

Posted Tue, Jun 23 at 7:09am CDT · View
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Margaret Shepard (@Margaret_Marie) posted · Mon, Jun 22 9:54pm · 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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Mary E (@marezdotes) responded:

Lisa, I don't seem to be able to leave you messages on your email for some reason. I am trying to connect to no avail.

Posted Thu, Jun 11 at 7:23pm CDT · View

Missymom (@missymom) responded:

My husband has just been diagnosed with this after a 9 week hospital stay. 7.5 weeks were in the ICU. He was first diagnosed with a small bowel blockage but surgery was unremarkable. He then went down with Afib and pneumonia. It has been a long haul. After everything was cleared up he still had pseudo obstruction of the small and large bowel. He is unable to tolerate any tube feeding without backing up. He [...]

Posted Mon, Jun 22 at 9:54pm CDT · View
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Susana Shephard (@susanashephard) posted · Tue, Jun 16 12:43pm · View  

Living With Myelofibrosis (Part 2 of a 4 part-series)

Patricia Wagnerby Patricia Wagner

In this entry, I’ll talk about how the disease started and a look into how I was affected. Bear in mind that every case is different and you shouldn’t conclude that you’ll go through the same things I have. My case, in fact, is more dramatic than most.

I first suspected that something was wrong when I began to lose some of my mental quickness and my physical energy. I also had many other symptoms: bleeding gums, bloodshot eyes, flushed complexion, and abnormally long periods. I saw different specialists for each problem. Then a blood test ordered by my internist revealed very high red, white, and platelet counts. Referred to a hematologist/oncologist in my health plan, I was studied periodically by him but received no treatment. He thought perhaps I had Polycythemia Vera but wasn’t sure. [...]

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vm (@vmundia) responded:

Very inspiring piece

Posted Sat, Jan 31 at 11:38pm CDT · View

moke (@moke) responded:

Hi, Thank you very much for being here. I have ET, soon to be diagnosed with MF. I too realize I need to be my own advocate. Gotta run. Talk more later.

Posted Tue, Jun 16 at 12:43pm CDT · View
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Margaret Shepard (@Margaret_Marie) posted · Mon, Jun 15 12:01am · View  

Surgery cures rare condition

Lindsey Fleener

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Fleener

When Lindsey Fleener was young, she struggled playing the piano. It was difficult for her to do penmanship. She could barely hold a bat in physical education. The monkey bars were impossible at recess. Lindsey didn't have a learning disability. She wasn't handicapped or physically challenged. Lindsey had a condition that elicited excessive perspiration — hyperhidrosis — causing her hands to sweat profusely. [...]

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Polly Gilgenbach (@pollyg) responded:

Thank you for your note. We are sorry to hear of the difficulties you are having. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide second opinions or make treatment recommendations through this correspondence. You may be able to find additional information on our website at

Posted Sep 26, 2013 · View

miamasters18 (@miamasters18) responded:

The article is misleading, and continues with the practice of claiming medical half-truths and assumptions as facts. Not knowing is one thing (and trying to cover it up) but misstating the facts is another level of 'misleading', and should not be accepted by peers. The status of the MAYO Clinic is being damaged by these 'sciency' medical myths and infomercials on 'cures'. The nature of this procedure is knowingly misrepresented by many surgeons and institutions [...]

Posted Mon, Jun 15 at 12:01am CDT · View
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Imamul (@imamul) posted · Sun, Jun 14 4:48am · View  

I have occasional cramps on my body, arms, legs and back and very painful. How to overcome this.

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Fri, Jun 12 5:17pm · View  

Spina Bifida Won't Slow Down Ty Wiberg

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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