Bryan Duncan didnâ€™t think twice about the lab tests he had as part of a routine medical checkup in the fall of 2014. A 29-year-old father of two small children, Bryan led a busy life, didnâ€™t have any health problems, and felt fine.
When the test results came back, though, they showed enzyme levels in Bryanâ€™s liver were higher than normal. This unexpected finding kicked off more than two years of extensive medical care. It brought Bryan from his hometown of Mountain View, Arkansas, to Mayo Clinic'sÂ Rochester campus, where he was diagnosed with a rare liver disease, and where he eventually received a life-saving living-donor liver transplant.
â€śThe way my disease works, if I had waited for a deceased donor, I probably would have been too sick for a transplant,â€ť Bryan says. â€śBeing able to have a living-donor transplant opened up the opportunity for me to get the second chance I needed.â€ť [...]
Scott Berry is one of five children. But he and his youngest sibling, David, share a very unique bond â€” a kidney, to be exact. On April 12, 2016, David gave his older brother a second chance at life by donating one of his kidneys to Scott for a transplant.Â [...]
Shirley and Bob Gessner have weathered some tough times during their 56 years of marriage. But nothing could have prepared Shirley for the night of April 10, 2015, when she awoke at 3:30 a.m. to a thud â€” the sound of her husband falling out of bed.
â€śI asked him what was the matter, but Bob couldnâ€™t talk. He couldnâ€™t move, and I couldnâ€™t get him up,â€ť says Shirley about her husband, a former advertising executive and designer of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Penguins logos. â€śI called 911 right away.â€ť
The ambulance took Bob, 82, to the hospital closest to his home in St. Augustine, Florida, where doctors confirmed he was having a stroke.Â [...]
Travis McGinnis was just 30 years old when an insidious cancer was discovered in his brain. It had been growing there for some time, he says â€” his physicians estimated between five and 10 years. Had the stage-three oligoastrocytoma not been detected when it was, Travis would have likely lost his life. As it happened, thanks to care and treatment provided by neurologists and neurosurgeons at Mayo Clinicâ€™s Rochester campus, the only solid thing the father of three lost to the cancer was a fist-sized piece of his brain.
While having cancer was something he never wanted, Travis says the experience gave himÂ insights and gifts he would not have otherwise realized: deep appreciation for his family and friends, gratitude for the present, and faith in strangers who generously supported him.
â€śSometimes Iâ€™ll sit and think about everything Iâ€™ve been through, and it moves me to tears,â€ť Travis says. â€śIâ€™m alive and better for it. I wish I never wouldâ€™ve had to go through it, but at least it wasnâ€™t for nothing.â€ť [...]
Editorâ€™s note: In this article, Alexandra Abreu-Figueroa, an intern in Public Affairs at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus, shares her story and discusses why she participatesÂ in the First Coast Heart Walk, an annual event sponsored by Mayo Clinic.
Growing up, I was always overweight. During my teenage years, in particular, I struggled â€” losing and gaining weight over and over again. I tried different diets, pills and exercises while battling bullying, depression and societal standards that said I should try to fix my body.
As an adult, I made the decision to have a gastric lap band inserted to help control my weight, but it still didnâ€™t change my mindset.
Obesity is not out of the ordinary in my family nor in my culture. Most of my family members have had challenges with obesity at one point in their lives. And, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 42.5 percent of Latinos are overweight or obese. [...]
After three long years of unexplained symptoms and unresolved blood serology, my nuerologist suggested Mayo Clinic. It all began with a fender bender on my way home from work one sunny day. I was in stop and go traffic and could see my house from the stop light. Next thing I was aware of was paramedics pulling me out of my car and rushing me to the hospital. I had passed out. Upon follow up visits to numerous specialists, I was initially diagnosed with nuerocardiogenic syncope. I continued to have syncopal episodes and develop other symptoms with severe skin rashes, seizures and debilitating migraines. So much so that I had to retire from my job and stop driving. I went to specialists after specialists and even a very well respected highly regarded hospital. I was told time and time again to stop chasing a diagnosis. My family continued to watch my decline and my quality of life all but disappear. My blood panels continued to have flags and I was continually told I was showing false positives. What? I thought. Over and over again? It didn't make sense to me. I went to the only specialist that really believed I had a problem but couldn't figure out what was going on. I sat in front of him and cried like a baby begging him to tell me what to do next. He suggested Mayo Clinic. After consulting with my family and the referral from my nuerologist, I made my first journey from Georgia armed with a years worth of blood panel results, MRIs and MRAs, psych analysis (they kept telling me it was all in my head). The minute I walked through the door, I felt a sense of peace and confidence. It is difficult to describe but I will try. From my very first day, I experienced the organization and empathy of staff members. When I saw the Doctors, they were on time and engaged. They truly listened paid attention, asked questions and did everything they needed to do without rushing me out the door wondering what just happened. When I went to the next appointment an hour later, the doctor already had the bloodwork I had done that morning and had spoken to the doctor I had just seen. It was amazing. In two days, I had a diagnosis and course of treatment including my next set of appointments for other possible diagnosis. When you get diagnosed with multiple diseases or conditions like I was which is myasthenia gravis and lupus, it isn't a good feeling,but it is a relief that now I can begin treatments and educate myself on diet and live as healthy a life as I possibly can. I am forever grateful to Mayo Clinic and they truly are a team. While it isn't an easy life, I can now make it a quality life. Before Mayo Clinic I was having difficulty just getting out of bed and now, I get out of bed do chores, go out to eat, and do things I used to take for granted. The Mayo Clinic Team is the best there is.
When 69-year-old allergist and rheumatologist Mike Mass. M.D., was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August 2013, he quickly realized that being the patient and trusting the advice of a fellow physician with expertise in a disease outside of his realm of expertiseÂ would be a challenge.
â€śIâ€™ve always advocated open communications with my patients about their treatment options, as itâ€™s important for the physician and patient to be on the same page,â€ť saysÂ Dr. Mass. â€śAlthough Iâ€™m not a cancer expert, I know enough about the disease to ask lots of questions of my own oncologist on the best treatment options available. It was hard balancing the need to express my opinions without impeding my physicianâ€™s own expert medical judgment.â€ť
Dr. Mass was in private practice in the Jacksonville, Florida,Â area for more thanÂ 30 years before going part-time and joining an allergy group practice in 2008. Thatâ€™s where he worked until his diagnosis in 2013, when he finally decided to retire from practicing medicine. He had known he was at a greater risk for contracting multiple myeloma for many years because of a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significanceÂ , or MGUS, whichÂ he was diagnosed with decades ago. MGUS is a condition in which an abnormal protein (M protein) is found in the blood. ThatÂ increases the risk of developing multiple myeloma at some point in the patientâ€™s life. Dr. Mass had no symptoms but found out several years ago after some blood work that his M protein levels were at the point where he now had â€śsmoldering myeloma,â€ť an early phase of this cancer condition. [...]
Jessie Brenholt is a certified pastry chef who would like to open a bakery one day. â€śIf the ingredients were free, Iâ€™d give out cakes to everyone,â€ť she says.
For a while, the 23-year-old's dream seemed to be in jeopardy. After months of being sick with weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and vision problems, Jessie found that the source of her symptoms was a tumor on her pituitary gland â€” a small gland located at the base of the brain that makes a variety of hormones.
A neurosurgeon near her hometown of Hill City, Minnesota, found that the walnut-sized tumor was wrapped around Jessieâ€™s optic nerve and located close to a carotid artery. Treatment to get rid of it could affect Jessieâ€™s sense of smell and vision. Due to the complexity of the situation, the surgeon referred Jessie to Mayo Clinic'sÂ Rochester campus.
â€śA pastry chef needs to be able to smell and see,â€ť says Jessie. â€śMy doctors at Mayo Clinic understood my concerns and have been great about preserving my quality of life with surgery and proton beam therapy.â€ťÂ [...]
â€śMy husband and I would have totally crumbled if the support hadnâ€™t been there,â€ť says Lynn Luloff, chief financial officer of Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, Iowa.
Luloff is one of many Mayo Clinic Health System staff who work at the Decorah medical center who saw their daily routines washed away the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 24, when 8 to 10 inches of rain led to major flooding in the area. Mayo Clinic Health System provides physician services and management services at Winneshiek Medical Center.
The crisis, according to leaders at the medical center, revealed an unwavering commitment by health system staff not only to serve patients, but also each other.Â [...]
Michael Slag holds in his hands a tumor â€“ or rather a 3-D print of the actual tumor that is growing at the top of his right lung. Doctors are using the 3-D printed model to aid them in planning the complex surgery to remove Michaelâ€™s tumor.
Mayo Clinic doctors diagnosed Michael with a rare form of lung cancer known as Pancoast tumor, a condition so rare that Mayo Clinic has only seen 60 cases in the past 20 years. [...]
During the holidays lastÂ year, Nancy and Brent Berry of Danbury, Iowa, went on a train ride with their children and grandchildren, after aÂ two-hour car ride to get there. Theyâ€™ve been horseback riding with friends. Theyâ€™re laughing, running errands together, and hosting their grandchildren for overnight stays.
Not longÂ ago, they couldn't enjoy any of those activities. Pain affected every aspect of their lives.
Brent quit his job several years ago due to medical disability. He has several chronic medical conditions, including inflammatory arthritis and chronic fatigue. He took prescription opioid and benzodiazepine medications for pain and sleep problems. He slept a lot.
Then Nancy got sick from the West Nile virus, caused by a mosquito bite. Her muscles swelled, her joints felt hot, and she had severe fatigue and pain.
"I was unable to do my normal activities," she says "I was in a downward spiral into chronic pain, and everything that goes with it â€” anxiety and depression. I felt like I was losing my life." The Berry's turned to the Pain Rehabilitation Center at Mayo Clinic as what seemed like a last resort. Through the program, they found a new way to approach their conditions, along withÂ renewed hope for the future.Â [...]
For 14 years, Brad Lewis never knew quite what to expect when he woke up in the morning. A rare genetic disorder, tuberous sclerosis, caused a variety of health problems. But the one that disrupted his life the most was epilepsy. At one point, Brad was having as many as 80 seizures a day.
â€śSeizures are so unpredictable. If Brad wasnâ€™t having a seizure, he was worried about having a seizure,â€ť says his mother, Bernadette Lewis. â€śIt affected every minute of his life, whether he was at school, with friends or at home.â€ť
Brad was also dealing with other complications from his medical condition. After trying many medications and going through multiple surgeries, Bradâ€™s parents decided they needed another expert to weigh in on the situation. That brought the family to Nicholas Wetjen, M.D., a physician in the Department of Neurosurgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.Â [...]
On Wednesday, in San Francisco,Â Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage in front of a crowd of tech-hungry journalists, bloggers, tweeters and photographers who were sharing with the world every wordÂ of the nearly two-hour keynote.Â Aside from the big iPhone 5 announcement, Apple highlighted ways various businesses are using their mobile products.
Talking about companies that are creating their own apps for both iPhone and iPad, Tim saysÂ "...or this one from Mayo Clinic, which helps thousands of doctors deliver better patient care" within of the first 10 minutes of Wednesday's keynote.
The app that he was referring to and the one you see on the iPad in this photo is called SynthesisMobile. Mayo physicians use this app each day on iPads and iPhones to access patients' electronic medical records (EMR), dictate clinical notes, view lab results and do many other patient-related tasks. Mayo Clinic developed this application because physicians wanted a mobile, easier and faster way to access patient information.Â The iPad and the SynthesisMobile app helped saved a man's life at Mayo Clinic's Health Living Center earlier this year.
In March 2012Â Mayo Clinic launched the Mayo Clinic Patient app,Â designedÂ to help patients with aÂ quick and accurate way of accessing their personal health information, online appointments, lab results and more. You can download this free app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch from the Apple App Store. Watch this video to learn more about this useful app.
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Iâ€™m writing this blog series to help others by giving you a glimpse into how I have been impacted by myelofibrosis yet still consider myself to be blessed with a very happy and fulfilled life. If you are a fellow patient, perhaps you have learned much of what I have along the way. If you are recently diagnosed, some of the things Iâ€™ll relate may be new to you. My hope is to share a few helpful new ideas with you regardless. [...]
Thanks for sticking with me! In this entry, Iâ€™ll be talking about what is involved in being your own advocate. I believe that for myself, I would not be alive to write to you now had I not realized that I am in charge â€“ not the professionals whose help I seek.
Initially, I looked for information at my local library. Everything I found on the subject was brief and grim. Eventually, I found a small online support group. We were all in the same boat: we didnâ€™t have knowledge of our disease, how to treat it, or who could help us. In comparing our situations we began to pull together some of the answers. As the support group grew, we even developed an internal list of the doctors we trusted. [...]
Karen Safranek didn't take a worry-free step for 10 years. Severe peripheral neuropathy â€” a side effect of breast cancer treatment she received in 2002 â€” left her with constant burning, tingling, numbness and pain in both her feet.
Over time, Karen tried dozens of treatments to rid herself of the discomfort. Nothing worked. So in 2012 when she found out about a clinical research trialÂ available at Mayo Clinic for people who had peripheral neuropathy after chemotherapy, she was interested, but not optimistic.
"I tried so many things. Anything a doctor recommended or heard about, or anything I heard about, I'd give it a try if I could," Karen says. "But years past, and the pain didn't get any better. By 2011, life was not good. I was analyzing my house to figure out where we could put a wheelchair ramp. At that time, I thought it wouldn't be much longer before I couldn't walk anymore."Â [...]
Fifteen years ago, Elmo Aquino, a resident of Orange Park, Florida, was an avid runner. Heâ€™d competed in Jacksonville's Gate River Run, an annual 15-kilometer running event, several times. But one morning in the summer of 2001, his active lifestyle came to an abrupt end when suddenly, while on a treadmill, he found he couldnâ€™t run.
â€śI knew something was wrong, because I was used to running,â€ť recalls Elmo, now age 43. He knew he needed medical treatment. â€śI could have gone to some of the other hospitals,â€ť he says. â€śBut with Mayo Clinic here in town, it was a no-brainer for me.â€ť
Elmo was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy â€” a condition in which the chambers of the heart become enlarged â€” and he ended up in the intensive care unit. Thatâ€™s where heÂ first met Daniel Yip, M.D., medical director for the Heart Failure and Transplant Program at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.Â [...]
For Stuart Baker, flying was life. After beginning his career as a flight attendant, Stuart eventually earned a pilotâ€™s license and flew for a major airline. But by age 40, this native of Winchester, Virginia, had torn his right rotator cuff twice, grounding his ability to fly.
It took seven years, three surgeries and extensive rehabilitation for Stuart to recover use of his right arm. Then, he damaged his left rotator cuff. But thisÂ time, he found Mayo Clinic.Â [...]
Michael Tyler and William Tiger didnâ€™t know one another before the summer of 2016. But they now share a unique life event. Both 55-year-olds underwent heart transplant surgery at Mayo Clinicâ€™s Arizona campus on the same day, at the same time. Completing the simultaneous procedures was a milestone for the Transplant Center team in Arizona, who had not previously been called on to perform more than one heart transplant at a time.
â€śIt was truly remarkable how the team came together,â€ť says transplant coordinator Allison Smith, who said the offers for both hearts came in on a Friday afternoon. Extensive coordination and precise timing were crucial to providing the best possible outcomes for the patients.
â€śWhen we all came in on Monday morning and knew the patients were doing well, it was like a euphoric high,â€ť she says.Â [...]
George Hoggard knows a thing or two about the importance of a rapid response. A former firefighter, the 78-year-old Titusville, Florida, resident spent the better part of his 42-year career teaching astronauts at the Kennedy Space Center how to escape to safety in the event of an emergency on the launch pad. He also was a member of the rescue team that would respond if something went wrong with a space shuttle mission.
So when his right eye suddenly began looking left while watching TV on a Sunday evening in April 2016, George knew something was amiss. When he began feeling nauseated, he told his wife, Rita, he needed to get to the hospital.Â [...]