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Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Cancer

April 18th, 2017

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helps Heal a Veteran’s Wounds

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Fritz Kruger was helped by hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Fritz Kruger of Hayward, Wisconsin, wondered how breathing pure oxygen while enclosed in a pressurized tube could heal his body. Fritz, 56, suffered from side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer when he was referred for hyperbaric oxygen therapy in fall 2016.

A U.S. Air Force veteran who served from 1986 to 1995, including in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Fritz was treated for cancer at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System. He had his prostate removed in 2012, followed by radiation treatments. As of August 2016, Fritz was showing no signs of cancer, but the radiation had taken a toll on his body.

"I had blood in my urine," says Fritz, who also was feeling other painful effects. "There was so much scar tissue that they couldn't find the opening from my kidneys into my bladder."

Fritz's VA doctor recommended hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A search of hyperbaric facilities within reach of Fritz's home led him to Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Cystitis, Dr James Banich, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Mayo Clinic Health System, wound care


March 30th, 2017

Minimally Invasive Polyp Removal Helps Prevent Colon Cancer

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Faced with the prospect of having part of her colon removed to prevent cancer, Rosa Isern turned to Mayo Clinic. Doctors there offered a better alternative. They used a minimally invasive procedure to remove the precancerous polyp without surgery, significantly reducing Rosa's cancer risk.

For years, Rosa Isern has thoroughly enjoyed her job with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, where soldiers, airmen and their families purchase goods and services. Her work has taken her around the world on several tours overseas, including stints in Iraq, Afghanistan, Greenland and Djibouti.

In 2015, however, Rosa's future became uncertain when she learned she had a large colon polyp that was at risk to become cancerous. Doctors thought they might need to remove part of her colon. But thanks to a minimally invasive procedure available at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus, Rosa was able to have the threatening polyp successfully removed without surgery. That allowed her to get back to doing the work she loves. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: colon cancer, Dr Michael Wallace, Endoscopic mucosal resection, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic's Florida campus, MayoClinicFL


March 27th, 2017

Thanks to Mayo Clinic, Nashville ‘BBQ King’ is Able to Enjoy His Own Brisket and Secret Sauce

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Treatment for tonsillar cancer left Jack Cawthon unable to swallow properly. But using a self-care technique he learned at Mayo Clinic, Jack is now back to relishing the foods he loves.

Jack Cawthon unabashedly brags about the secret sauce that is a hallmark of his renowned barbeque restaurant in Nashville, Tennesse, Jack's Bar-B-Que, where tourists and locals line up for Texas brisket and Tennessee pork shoulder.

The iconic sauce remains a family secret and a vital part of the landmark restaurant located on the honkytonk strip on lower Broadway in downtown Nashville. These days, however, the Barbeque King is a fan of a whole different kind of secret sauce.

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Tags: Dr David Fleischer, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Lori Goette, Robert Spratley, Tonsillar cancer


February 24th, 2017

Slaying the Dragon of Pancreatic Cancer

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Pioneering a new method for treating pancreatic cancer, Mayo Clinic surgical oncologist Dr. Mark Truty is improving his patients’ odds of beating this much-feared disease.

Thomas Hoffman of Spearfish, South Dakota, was 56 years old, weighed 235, and had been diagnosed with prediabetes when he began to diet. As the pounds melted away, his wife became alarmed at his rapid weight loss. Then one morning, he awoke and his wife told him he was completely yellow — not from the sun streaming into the bedroom, but from jaundice. Thomas went to a local emergency room.

“The doctor comes in and gives us the news: ‘You have pancreatic cancer. You’ve got six months to live. Get your stuff together,’” Thomas says. “What do you do?”

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Tags: Dr Mark Truty, pancreatic cancer


February 22nd, 2017

Innovative Multiple Myeloma Care Renews a Pilot’s Energy and Outlook

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Harold Rogers was an air traffic controller and corporate jet pilot before a diagnosis of multiple myeloma.At 81 years old, Harold Rogers has had quite a ride. For 30 years, the St. Mary’s, Georgia, resident was an air traffic controller and corporate jet pilot. But nothing prepared Harold for a diagnosis in early 2009 of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells inside bone marrow, which is considered incurable.

“I’d never heard of multiple myeloma. My primary care doctor said, ‘The good news is that it’s treatable. But it’s not curable,’” Harold says. “He then recommended I go to a cancer specialist.”

Harold opted to stay close to home and began chemotherapy in February 2009. When the treatment was over several months later, he was left with side effects that prompted him to get an evaluation at a different health care facility. That’s when he turned to Mayo Clinic.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: chemotherapy, Dr Lawrence Solberg, Dr Sikander Ailawadhi, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, multiple myeloma


January 20th, 2017

After Loss, Cancer Survivor Finds Strength in Community and Giving Back

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Carol Phillips shares her experience and why she travels to Florida to support the annual 26.2 with DONNA Marathon .

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.

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Tags: Breast Cancer, breast cancer marathon


January 17th, 2017

Unable to Outpace Tumors, Karen Ramsey Fights Back With Attitude

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Diagnosed with a rare and serious genetic disorder, Karen Ramsey has learned to manage the disease and the challenges that accompany it with the help of her expert care team at Mayo Clinic.

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Alyx Porter, Dr Donald Northfelt, Dr Thai Ho, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Von Hippel-Lindau Clinic


December 23rd, 2016

Successful Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer Inspires Richard Carvajal to Reach Out

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in his 40s, Richard Carvajal looked to Mayo Clinic for expert care and treatment.

In August 2014, Richard Carvajal, then 43, was in the best shape of his life. He was excited as he left his home in Bainbridge, Georgia, to compete in his first Olympic-distance triathlon. But as he drove across Alabama on his way to the race site, he started feeling sharp abdominal pain.

“It kept getting worse and worse, and I literally crawled into a Birmingham emergency room,” Richard says.

Although doctors initially thought Richard’s pain was caused by kidney stones, it turned out to be a symptom of a much more difficult problem. Testing eventually revealed Richard had pancreatic cancer.

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Tags: Dr John Stauffer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, pancreatic cancer, Whipple Procedure


December 10th, 2016

Successful Brain Cancer Surgery Puts Sunshine Back in a Young Mom’s World

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Tyson Cluever after brain cancer surgery. When Tyson Cluever, a 32-year-old mother of two from Benson, Minnesota, learned that she had an aggressive brain cancer, her first thought was of her children. At just nine months and five years old, her sons stood to lose one of the most important people in their lives if she were to share the fate of many individuals diagnosed with grade IV glioblastomas.

“It’s brain cancer, and you have between 12 and 18 months to live,” says Tyson’s husband, Jon. “It just totally messes you up inside when something like this happens.”

The couple’s next thought was to fight the cancer with everything they had.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: awake brain surgery, brain tumor, Dr Ian Parney, glioblastoma, neurologic surgery


November 18th, 2016

Relieving Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment With Microsurgery

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

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Angenette Monroe with her surgeon, Antonio Forte, M.D.

In May 2013, at age 47, Angenette Monroe was diagnosed with invasive cancer in her left breast. After six months of chemotherapy, she had a mastectomy as part of her treatment plan.

The former gastroenterology technologist had participated in many medical procedures and was well aware of the challenges people can face after surgery. But as an active woman who exercised and was always on the go, Angenette never expected her treatment would prevent her from enjoying life.

But it did. Side effects after surgery kept Angenette from activities with her husband, including running and traveling, as well as visits with her three children and her grandchild.

She also dealt with lymphedema for more than a year. Then Angenette turned to physicians at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus for help. They were able to offer her a unique surgical approach, called lymphovenous bypass, that eased her symptoms.

She had picked the right place to seek help.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Dr Antonio Forte, Dr Dawn Mussallem, Florida Campus, lymphedema, mastectomy, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery


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