January 3rd, 2017
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.
November 3rd, 2016
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.
September 27th, 2016
If you go looking for Charles Metzler, you’ll often find him out on the acreage he owns in the Rocky Mountain foothills near Casper, Wyoming. The 82-year-old spends his days tending his well-manicured lawn, caring for his troop of animals — ducks, rabbits, a pot-bellied pig named Mimi, and a miniature donkey named Haley — and working on projects to spruce up the property. He even acquired timbers from an old railway station that was being torn down and built a covered bridge over a stream on his land.
“I think I might have one of the only covered bridges in Wyoming,” says Charles. “Projects like that are fun. I like to stay busy, and I like to be active.”
For years, though, Charles’ activities were hampered by breathing problems. Chronic sinus trouble made breathing through his nose very difficult. He knew surgery might correct the problem, but he hesitated to go through with it.
“I’ve had problems with my nose ever since my high school days. I saw quite a few doctors, and they all informed me that I probably should have my nose operated on, so I would feel better,” Charles says. “My problem was that I was always scared of having the operation. Then I met Dr. [Erin] O’Brien. It was just the manner in which she explained the surgery to me — what would occur and the benefits I’d derive from it. Her manner relaxed me. After that, I wanted to have that operation.” Read the rest of this entry »
May 9th, 2016
For six months, Chad Thompson slept sitting up to ease debilitating headaches caused by a tumor growing on a nerve in his head. Now, after a successful surgery at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus in March, the 40-year-old Jacksonville resident is having conversations with friends and co-workers that he never expected.
“People keep asking, ‘When are you going to have that surgery,’” says Chad, a married father of three children and an executive at an aerospace company. “They’re shocked when I say, ‘I already had it,’ and I’m not sure they believe me.”
The reason for this response is that he has no visible scars from the operation, which his surgeon, John Casler, M.D., performed with help from the Anatomage “virtual dissection” machine in the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center. Read the rest of this entry »
January 16th, 2015
Bill Steele, a patient at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, shares his story about his battle against Stage 4A cancer in the throat area without undergoing radiation or chemotherapy. In the video he produced, he explains how his surgical care team, led by Michael Hinni, M.D., a Mayo head and neck cancer surgeon, used transoral laser microsurgery to treat his cancer and help maintain his quality of his life.
January 2nd, 2015
Kristine Long, a patient at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, has had an incredible journey as a three-time Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor. In the course of her struggle, she has also overcome congestive heart failure and subsequent voice impairment.
In the video below, she explains how the care provided by her Mayo Clinic physicians, James Slack, M.D., a hematologist; D. Eric Steidley, M.D., a cardiologist; and David Lott, M.D., an otorhinolaryngologist, along with their care teams, has made her a whole person again. She also talks before and after repair to her vocal chords about what that procedure has meant to her personally and how it's given her renewed confidence as well as giving her voice back.
October 15th, 2014
There are certain sounds that Scott Malmstrom had never known. He was born with hearing impairment, and it gradually got worse throughout his life. By fourth grade, he began experimenting with hearing aids. Over time, he became what he calls a “professional lip reader.”
Hearing aids didn’t help much with the type of hearing loss Scott had. “Where he struggled was speech discrimination – being able to recognize and understand what's being said,” he says. “That's where they eyes take over. That's what I've done over many years and became very good at it.”
But his diminished hearing did keep him from experiencing certain things, and he says it affected his communication with those he loved. Today, through the magic of cochlear implants, Scott is hearing new things and experiencing life in a way he hadn’t quite imagined. Read the rest of this entry »
October 6th, 2014
In January 2013, Carly Edgar, an otherwise healthy 20-something, found herself in the hospital and in severe pain. The pain seemed to originate from near one of her ribs, but her local doctors couldn’t identify the source. She spent a week in the hospital without any answer. She was released, but it wasn’t long until she was back again.
Carly rated her pain at 10 on a 10-point scale, but doctors started to doubt her symptoms. They gave her pain medicine, but they also recommended antidepressants. When her boyfriend noticed a bump forming on her nose, she was told it was likely just a pimple. After a second week in the hospital, with things only looking worse, Carly asked to be discharged, and she and her boyfriend traveled to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in search of answers.
Within a few days, Carly had her surprising answer – a rare autoimmune disease called relapsing polychondritis. The disease attacks cartilage, and it was affecting not only her ribs and her nose, but also her heart, where doctors at Mayo found inflammation. She admits that it was a difficult diagnosis, but it also gave her hope that treatment could control her symptoms. Read the rest of this entry »
February 19th, 2014
For her first 38 years, Jayne Bushman was a picture of health. But then one morning she woke up with an earache, something she says she'd never before experienced. Her first stop was to see her Family Medicine doctor at Mayo Clinic in Rochester who, unable to pinpoint the exact cause of her pain, sent her to Mayo's Department of Otorhinolaryngology. It was there that after a series of additional tests and examinations, Bushman learned she had much more than and ear infection. The diagnosis was Wegener's granulomatosis, a rare disorder that inflames the blood vessels and restricts blood flow to various internal organs.
The ear issues were simply one manifestation of the disease, which often affects the kidneys, lungs and upper respiratory tract. The restricted blood flow caused by the disease can damage these organs.
As Bushman listened to doctors explain her diagnosis, she says she felt "shocked." That only got worse after she went home and began using the Internet to research her disease. "The very first thing I did after my diagnosis is what a lot of people do, which is the very wrong thing," she says. "And I now tell any person I meet or talk to online who gets diagnosed with Wegener's disease to stay off the Internet. It'll do nothing but scare you. That's exactly what it did to me."
Still, Bushman says she only allowed herself to feel that way for a moment or two. "Initially, it was a huge shock," she says. "But I had three kids at home, I have a career … and I sure as heck wasn't going to let this get in the way of that. I've always tried to not live in my disease and to instead live with my disease.” Read the rest of this entry »