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Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Pediatrics Archive

December 3rd, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Child’s play — at long last

By Mayo Clinic

Deshawn Corbin

After heart surgery, Deshawn Corbin can run, jump and swim like a kid ... for the first time

Deshawn Corbin is just 15 years old. But he’s already experienced more life than most people many times his age.

Deshawn was born with complex congenital heart disease that affected the way blood traveled through his body and kept him from getting enough oxygen. His teenage mother, who’d had no prenatal care, realized she would be unable to care for a child with such special needs and gave him up for adoption. On the day he was born, Deshawn became a ward of the state and had his first open heart surgery. Read the rest of this entry »

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June 13th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Mickala the miracle: A survivor and an inspiration

By Makala Johnson

Mickala Morinville

“We knew if she made it to Mayo Clinic, she would make it,” says Judy Morinville of the September day Mayo MedAir airlifted her teenage daughter to Mayo Clinic. Mickala Morinville did make it, and her journey serves as a reminder of the miracles that can happen when you combine Mayo expertise with a higher power and a determined patient.

Mickala was in a dire situation. Her lungs were destroyed, likely by a virus, and Mickala struggled to get enough oxygen. Even getting her to Mayo was a challenge. An extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine was oxygenating Mickala’s blood. Because of the complexity of transporting these patients, most cannot move to another facility. Thankfully, Mayo MedAir has expertise that made her trip to Mayo possible. Read the rest of this entry »

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April 5th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Suiting up for a celebration

By Makala Johnson

Curtis and three people with his orange shirts on

"My sweet boy," Deborah Morey said as she practically skipped across the room to join him in a group photograph. The boy is her son, 15-year-old Curtis Morey, who was diagnosed with medulloblastoma (a type of brain tumor) on Jan. 27, 2012. The skipping at his Mayo appointment last week was one of several signs that March 28, 2013, was a happier milestone in Curtis' medical adventure.

When the Moreys arrived for the appointment, Deborah was wearing a blaze-orange T-shirt with Curtis' picture on the front and the word "Curtify" printed across the back. Perhaps more surprising, the clinical assistant who greeted them wore a matching T-shirt. Inside, Curtis' doctor, Amulya Nageswara Rao, M.B.B.S., of the Mayo Clinic Children's Center, was (you guessed it) also was wearing the same shirt. The emotion in the room was palpable, a mixture of relief and elation. And for good reason -- last Thursday marked the beginning of Curtis' last chemotherapy treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 29th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

An Arm-lifting Success Story

By Margaret Shepard

Harper BlommersLori Blommers used to cry at dance recitals. She knew that her youngest daughter, Harper, would never join the girls on stage because of injuries suffered at birth. Today, Harper is happily dancing away, thanks to an unusual surgery at Mayo Clinic that allowed her arm to move more freely.

When Harper was born on Aug. 26, 2004, she became stuck in the birth canal with only her head delivered. The pulling and the pushing after 27 hours of labor damaged Harper's collarbone and severed the brachial plexus nerves from her left arm.

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves extending from the spinal cord that controls muscle movement and sensation in the shoulders, arms and hands. About 1 in 2,000 babies born in the United States suffer brachial plexus injuries at birth. "It's primarily a problem of big babies trying to get out of small moms,"says Mayo Clinic pediatric orthopedic surgeon William Shaughnessy, M.D. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 27th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Carter’s cranium remolding

By Margaret Shepard

Carter with his parents Kyle and Holly and his twin sister, BreahCarter Schlink has a twin sister, Breah. As babies, they were alike in many ways — both incredibly cute, similar button noses and fair complexion. When the twins were 2 months old, Carter's dad, Kyle, noticed something about his son that was different — his head shape.

It was flatter on the back and a little bit uneven.

Kyle mentioned his observation to the babies' doctor, who recommended the Schlinks try to keep Carter off of the back of his head for a few months to see if it would improve his head shape. During the day, Kyle and his wife, Holly, tried carrying Carter or toting him in a baby sling. During the night and naptime, they used a sleep positioner to ensure he slept on his side. These measures had no noticeable effect on Carter's head shape, so the couple consulted a specialist at Mayo Clinic. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 21st, 2012 · 1 Comment

Ella Schultz: Thriving with Family and Medical Support

By Margaret Shepard

Ella Schultz holding catEven before 6-year-old Ella Schultz was born, she was already a miracle and had beaten many odds. Because Ella's mother, Patty, was 42 years-old when she was considering becoming a parent, and her father, Ernie, had survived cancer, neither were sure they would be able to conceive a child. Fortunately, they were able to become pregnant quickly. Patty's pregnancy was trouble-free, and when Ella was born, on Christmas Day in 2001, she appeared perfectly healthy.

"At two months of age, however, Ella began to develop tan 'cafe-au-lait' spots on her skin, which are pigmented birthmarks," says Patty. "Because these spots can sometimes signal bigger health issues, our local doctor referred us to Mayo Clinic for testing." Read the rest of this entry »

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December 20th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Jackson Hoeger: Family and Medical Staff Journey Together to Reach Positive Outcome

By Margaret Shepard

Jackson HoegerIt was November 2004 when Jennifer Hoeger, mother of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, kindergartener Jackson Hoeger, first began to notice a change in her son's health and behavior.

"Initially, we thought he had strep throat," says Jennifer. "At the same time, Jackson's teacher noticed a dramatic change in his handwriting, and his well-behaved and happy demeanor began to disappear."

As the symptoms persisted, Jennifer and husband Marty suspected a migraine headache or internal pressure on his eye, so brought him to a specialist. A CT scan, however, showed no visible tumor mass or abnormalities. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 18th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Toddler diagnosed with aggressive brain tumor

By Margaret Shepard

Jayden Gonzalez and his parents

Viola and Felipe Gonzalez were stunned when their youngest son's persistent flu-like symptoms were diagnosed as a brain tumor.

The vomiting, holding his head while crying and unsteadiness weren't just a toddler's brush with the flu bug. A CT scan at the local pediatrician's office showed a mass the size of a quarter on Jayden's brain. He was just 20 months old.

Jayden was transported immediately from Fairmont, Minn., to Mayo Clinic via Mayo One emergency medical helicopter, with his parents following by car. The pediatrician had arranged for a team of pediatric neurologists, oncologists and neurosurgeons to meet Jayden upon arrival.

"It happened so quickly," says Viola. "We were shocked and scared but also relieved because we felt Jayden was in good hands." Read the rest of this entry »

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December 17th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Rare congenital subglottic stenosis treated with airway reconstruction surgery

By Margaret Shepard

Ryan Chubbuck

Sporting his favorite Viking costume, Ryan Chubbuck is all smiles, thanks to successful airway reconstruction surgery at Mayo Clinic. "He has been able to play, eat and talk normally and has thrived since the operation," says Ryan's mother, Kelly Chubbuck.

Kelly Chubbuck admits she was a cautious first-time parent. But her motherly instinct told her it wasn't her nervousness that caused her infant son Ryan to breathe noisily and at times, even stop breathing." There were times I had to shake Ryan to get him to take a breath," remembers Kelly. "And it wasn't until I consulted with a specialist at Mayo Clinic that my fears were justified and eventually calmed."

The Chubbucks were referred to Dana Thompson, M.D., a Pediatric Otolaryngologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. "Dr. Thompson heard high-pitched breathing – called stridor – and initially suspected Ryan had tracheomalacia (a soft or floppy trachea) so she did a laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy to see what was going on," remembers Kelly.

What Dr. Thompson diagnosed is a condition called subglottic stenosis, a life-threatening narrowing of the upper portion of the windpipe (subglottis). "Subglottic stenosis can be caused by trauma, prolonged intubation with a breathing tube, infection, or the irritating reflux of stomach acid," explains Dr. Thompson. "But Ryan was born with this condition, which is called congenital subglottic stenosis." Read the rest of this entry »

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December 16th, 2012 · 2 Comments

Jubilant First Steps

By Margaret Shepard

Greg and Suzanne Roeder were in tears when their daughterDanielle Roeder took her first steps. It's natural to get choked up when a child demonstrates her vertical independence. But the Roeders were especially emotional because Danielle was seven years old when she made those monumental strides.

Danielle once needed to use a wheelchair, but was freed from its confines after her diagnosis and treatment for the condition L-dopa responsive dystonia at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

"When Danielle was six months old, we realized something was wrong," says Greg. "She started out with a little foot tic or tremor. Eventually she couldn't hold her own head up. Her mother and I would have to do everything for her, including holding her bottle. As Danielle's physical condition eroded, the Roeders saw 20 to 30 doctors over the years and talked with hundreds of health care providers about their daughter. "No one could tell us what was really wrong with her," says Greg. Read the rest of this entry »

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