Editor’s Note: Carol Phillips is an IT analyst/programmer at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. . She shares her experience and why she travels to Florida to support the annual 26.2 with DONNA Marathon .
My breast cancer journey started on April Fool’s Day — April 1, 2011. Only it wasn’t a joke.
My routine yearly mammogram came back abnormal. And at age 50, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. I don’t remember much about my first appointment with the doctor. It was all a blur. The only thing I do remember was the doctor saying, “Mayo Clinic will get you through this process. We’ll work together as a team. You are truly in good hands.” As I walked out to the parking lot, though, I thought I had just been given a death sentence — and I wasn’t ready.
Five weeks before she was born, Marissa B. had a stroke in utero. When her mother went into labor, Marissa had another stroke. Diagnosed with epilepsy at birth, Marissa spent her first month of life in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“When she was six months old, they did a brain MRI,” Marissa’s mom, Lisa, says. “They said she would never walk or go to a regular school.”
The strokes took a significant toll on the left side of Marissa’s body. She doesn’t have fine motor skills in her left hand. She has a blind spot in her lower left eye and hearing loss in her left ear. Sensation on her entire left side was also affected.
“I’ve been on seizure meds since birth,” says Marissa, who is now 24 years old.
For six years in a row, Mayo Clinic has been voted one of Forbes “100 Best Companies to Work For” and with the economy as it is, you may be asking yourself “how do I get a position at Mayo Clinic?” As a Staffing Specialist in the Human Resources department in Arizona, I can only speak to positions at this site, but I can share some helpful hints and some insight into our application process.
If you have ever attempted to apply for a position at Mayo Clinic, then you understand what I mean when I say that the process can be a bit tedious, but I assure you that there is a method to our madness. Because Mayo Clinic is an Equal Opportunity Employer and a government contractor, we are held to certain standards and regulations as an employer and one of our main goals is to show fair and equal hiring practices. We have found that one of the best ways to track our hiring process and to show fair and equal hiring practices is through our online application system; therefore, all resumes/applications must go through the Intranet/Internet website. Resumes given directly to managers or supervisors cannot be considered as applications or place a candidate in official applicant status.
Once a position is approved it is posted either departmental only, internal to current Mayo employees only, or to the general public. If the position is public, then you will see it on Mayo Clinic's site for jobs in Arizona or http://www.mayo-clinic-jobs.com/. The process is very easy from this point forward:
Step 1: Identify which positions you are interested in applying to. Please apply for each specific position that you are interested in, as applications are not kept in a general file and you are not able to submit a general application.
Step 2: Create a username and password. If you have created a profile in the past, please update your existing profile rather than creating a new profile. You should call the Employment Service Center (ESC) at 1-888-266-0440 if you need assistance with your username or password.
Step 3: Complete five application sections: Personal Info, Work Preference, Employment History, Education, Cert/License, and a Summary. If all five of the application sections and the summary are not complete, you will receive an “incomplete application” e-mail. Although attaching a resume is desired by most hiring managers, completion of the entire application is also necessary, including entering all previous employers into the “Employment History” section. Please be as accurate as possible on all sections particularly with dates of employment, work history and, if applicable, any criminal convictions. Helpful hint: Include work history up to the past 10 years and any relevant experience to the job you are applying to.
Step 4: Confirm you have applied to all positions of interest.
Step 5: The department’s assigned Staffing Specialist will be the first person to review your application. If you meet all of the minimum requirements listed in the job description and any additional pre-set criteria that the manager has is requiring, then your application will be forwarded on to the hiring manager. If you do not meet these qualifications, then you will receive an e-mail notification. It is very important to provide your e-mail on your application, so that you can receive any notifications (i.e. receipt of application, incomplete application, etc.).
Step 6: After the hiring manager reviews your application, he/she will determine whether they would like to schedule an interview. If so you will receive a phone call from the hiring manager or a representative; otherwise, you will receive an e-mail notification. Please be aware that turnaround times may vary depending upon volume of applicants and needs of the department. The process may take several weeks.
If you do receive an e-mail notification, please do not be discouraged. Many of our positions are high volume positions and receive a large number of applications. Please continue to apply to all positions in which you meet the minimum qualifications and are positions of interest.
Well, I hope this information has helped. Good luck on your job search!
Courage. Optimism. Acceptance. Those are just a few of the attributes that define the determination of Karen Ramsey, whose rare medical condition makes her a member of an exclusive club. One to which she would much prefer not to belong. Karen has Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, or VHL, in which a gene mutation causes her body to be unable to suppress the growth of tumors.
Not one to sink into the comfort of denial, after her diagnosis Karen, now 56, dug in and did her homework. She learned that at least eight areas of her body could potentially succumb to tumors. She understood her future may forever be altered. In spite of the difficult diagnosis, with the support of her care team at Mayo Clinic, Karen found a way to move forward in a positive way. [...]
I struggled for years with extreme fatigue, major skin problems, muscle weakness, escalating eye issues, and a host of other unexplained symptoms. I moved to Georgia with more and more symptoms. I developed relationships with new doctors and developed new symptoms – seizures and heart-related syncope. I went to see a neurologist, who began to run tests. In the meantime, I had regular quarterly blood panels by my regular physician, who upon reporting to me by phone noted no irregularities. I was told time and time again to stop chasing a diagnosis. My family continued to watch my decline.
After running numerous tests, my neurologist could only ascertain that I may have had some mini-strokes. My neurologist referred me to a major university hospital. After two visits, and being practically laughed out of the place, I began to have serious doubts about my symptoms and began to believe the many specialists and psychologists who told me it was emotional response. [...]
After a 37-year career at a petroleum company, Dan Hofferber was looking forward to retirement. But in 2014, Dan started having trouble with one of his legs. The muscle in his left thigh would tighten up, causing unbearable pain that made it hard to walk.
“I was used to walking a mile or two, and I couldn’t do that anymore,” says Dan, who travels to Florida for spring training every year with his wife, Carol.” I couldn’t even walk from the parking lot to the baseball stadium.”
The pain prompted Dan to seek care in his hometown of Billings, Montana. After several months without relief, a family member urged him to go to Mayo Clinic. Dan took that advice, traveling to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. There, he met neurologic surgeon Mohamad Bydon, M.D. Dan was immediately impressed.
Dennis Brennan met Albert Hakaim, M.D., a vascular surgeon at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, in January 2008. Then 73 years old and living in Ft. Meyers, Florida, Dennis had just learned that he had an abdominal aortic aneurysm — a weakened and enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta, the main artery that supplies blood to the body.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms affect only about 8 percent of the population. But they are serious. If it ruptures, an abdominal aortic aneurysm can be life-threatening.
After learning his diagnosis, Dennis knew he wanted a second opinion, especially because he had a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms. Dennis immediately thought of Mayo Clinic. He and his wife Anna had been to Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus, many times, where Dennis had his annual physicals for nearly three decades.
When 29-year-old Cameron Mullis of Jacksonville, Florida, was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy and told he’d need a kidney transplant, he was facing the likelihood of kidney dialysis and several years of waiting for a suitable donor. Little did he realize, his potential donor was living under the same roof as him.
IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger's disease, is a kidney disease that occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin A, or IgA, lodges in your kidneys. This results in local inflammation that, over time, may hamper your kidneys' ability to filter waste, excess water and electrolytes from your blood. Kidney damage may be indicated by blood and protein in the urine, high blood pressure and swollen feet. There currently is no cure for this disease outside of a kidney transplant. [...]
Oct. 23, 2015, is a date that Nikole Prins will always remember. It’s the day she finally learned the reason for the bizarre symptoms she had been dealing with for more than half her life. Nikki precisely recalls the time she heard the news. It was 1:24 in the afternoon when her doctor called with the results of an MRI she had the previous day.
“I was diagnosed with Chiari malformation,” says Nikki, who lives in Owatonna, Minnesota, and received care at Mayo Clinic Health System in Owatonna. “No one wants to be told at 21 that you have a brain malformation. I cried a lot.”
For years, Nikki had experienced a range of symptoms that included lightheadedness, fainting and extremities that tingled when she stood up, as well as migraines that got worse while she was standing. As a preteen, she was told she was having syncope episodes when she got lightheaded. Later, physicians made the diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. But neither diagnosis nor any treatment had an effect on her symptoms. [...]
For years, Kallie Howerton and Kate Hudson had been listening to Kate Welp talk about the mission trips to Ecuador she organizes every year. The nurses work together on the Cardiovascular Surgery Progressive Care unit at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus.
“My preceptor planted the seed,” says Howerton, who has worked at Mayo Clinic for three years. “She raved about the awesome trip experience she had with Kate [Welp], and, working with Kate, I realized that she’s awesome. I can learn from her.” [...]
When Gary Pearson went in for a routine physical required by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to maintain his commercial driving privileges, he left with much more than a renewed driver’s license. The 58-year-old departed his appointment with an urgent directive from the nurse practitioner that examined him to see his primary care doctor. The reason: Gary had a bulbous lump on his neck.
“If she hadn’t found it, who knows how long it would’ve taken to detect it,” says Gary of Claudia Swanton, the advanced practice nurse in Mayo Clinic’s Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine who performed the exam.
As a nurse for more than eight years at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus, Jacklyn Traurig knew firsthand the value of the organization’s team approach to health care. But although Jackie was practiced at providing quality care, she didn’t truly see just how exceptional Mayo Clinic’s style was until she found herself in back-to-back medical crises.
A fall on the stairs landed Jackie in the Emergency Department with a broken back. Then, while still healing from the first event, Jackie fell again. This time, she slipped in a stairwell and suffered a concussion and broken collarbone. A CT scan following that fall revealed a brain tumor.
Despite all this, Jackie looks for the good in her experiences.
Stephanie Cortez had been battling the scale for most of her 47 years. Weighing 240 pounds, the Lake Park, Georgia, resident decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery in 2008 in the hopes of losing a hundred pounds.
Stephanie made steady progress for the next six years. She adopted and maintained a healthier lifestyle and better eating habits. Then she hit a roadblock. In 2014, Stephanie developed a bleeding ulcer in the stomach pouch created during her surgery.
Though the ulcer healed, scar tissue created additional problems, including a narrowing of the area between the stomach pouch and intestine. The condition, called the gastrojejunal anastomosis, caused an intestinal obstruction.
Raegan Cury didn’t worry at first when she developed a cough in early 2002 that wouldn’t go away. She was a healthy young woman, athletic, a former gymnast, and her initial chest X-ray showed what looked like pneumonia.
Even her husband, a pulmonologist, wasn't too worried, until she received a surprising diagnosis. “I never thought it was going to be bronchoalveolar lung cancer,” says her husband, Dave Cury, M.D.
Raegan, who lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida, had surgery to remove the cancer and woke up with just one lung, due to the extent of the disease. The surgery was followed by four rounds of chemotherapy, but in 2003, tests found cancer nodules throughout her remaining lung.
That was a dark period for Reagan and her family. She and her husband started their two young children, Chandler and Davis, in grief counseling. [...]
In 1968, when I was just three months old, I was taken from my mother’s arms and rushed into emergency surgery. My skin tone turned to a sky blue color, and the doctors caring for me knew they needed to act fast if they wanted to save me. They needed to get oxygen to my vital organs, because my heart was failing.
The doctors did a temporary-fix surgery to improve my circulation and to buy them time in hopes that they would find a better solution. The surgery worked, but the question was: How long would it last?
Later that day, my mother was given words that no mother wants to hear. “Take him home to die,” the doctors told my mom. Four open-heart surgeries and 45 years later, I am still here, proving those doctors wrong.
I am happy that through science and research, there are now medical devices and surgical techniques that are much more high-tech than what they had to work with 45 years ago. My gray hairs prove that I, a Tetralogy of Fallot baby, am still alive into my adulthood years. [...]
Calmare is a technologically advanced solution for chronic pain management. Calmare has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), drug-resistant chronic neuropathic and cancer pain, having long-lasting effects — an important benefit for both patients and their physicians.
From the time he was 13 years old, Jairus “Matt” Pierce, battled kidney disease. By 2016, when he was 44, the disease had become debilitating. A shift commander for a fire department, Matt had been forced to take a light-duty assignment because of his medical condition. He required daily dialysis, and the only long-term solution was a life-saving kidney transplant.
Simply put, Matt needed a hero.
Six years ago, Robert Clark thought he was having a stroke. His left eye drooped shut, and he began to have difficulty swallowing. A competitive body builder used to working out six times a week, Robert rarely got sick. So when a local physician dismissed his symptoms, he sought out a friend who worked at Mayo Clinic.
His friend recommended he see Paul Brazis, M.D., a physician who specializes in neuro-ophthalmology. After examining Robert, Dr. Brazis suspected myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disorder characterized by weakness and fatigue of the skeletal muscles as a result of an enlarged thymus. The thymus, an H-shaped gland situated in the upper chest that produces T-cells to fight disease, is supposed to shrink after birth, when bone marrow takes over this function.
Following a series of tests, the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis was confirmed. Robert then faced difficult decisions about managing his disease while living life as he wanted. [...]
In spring 2016, Trish Byrd went deaf. And no one knew why. With constant ear pain and unable to hear, Trish saw seven different doctors in her home state of New Mexico. After months of treatment, there was no improvement in her symptoms.
“I kept asking, ‘What’s wrong with me?’” Trish says. “None of my doctors could give me an answer. That’s when my husband and I decided it was time to go to Mayo Clinic.”
At Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, Trish met ear, nose and throat specialist Peter Weisskopf, M.D. He carefully reviewed her records, talked with her about her health history, and did a physical exam. By the end of their first meeting, Dr. Weisskopf believed he knew what was causing Trish’s symptoms.
When most people think of their happy place, they envision something like a warm, sunny beach or a cozy mountain cabin. But when Lisa Fairbairn thinks about a place that gives her comfort, Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus comes to mind.
She’s happiest there because it’s where her son Chase was given a second chance. Not only did he receive a new heart at Mayo Clinic to replace one that was failing, but the family can now rely on ongoing care from Mayo Clinic physicians who understand Chase’s medical concerns and have pledged to do their best to keep him healthy well into the future.
Lisa’s sense of comfort didn't come easy, however. [...]