Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff


May 9th, 2016

Simulation and Reality Meet to Find Ideal Surgical Approach for Florida Patient

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Chad Thompson and Dr. John Casler discuss the results of recent surgery.

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 CenterRead the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr John Casler, Otorhinolaryngoloyg, Schwannoma, Simulation Center, anatomage, Chad Thompson, Florida, MayoClinicFL

March 19th, 2016

Back in the Symphony After Surgery to Remove Brain Tumor

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Stewart Rosen in back in tune after surgery for acoustic neuroma.Stewart Rosen was beyond anxious when he learned he had a tumor the size of a walnut by his right ear. The tumor was benign. But Stewart, an accountant by day and violinist by night, worried that removing the tumor, an acoustic neuroma, might affect his ability to play music.

"I'd never had any kind of surgery or hospitalization before," he says. And with the surgery he'd need to remove this tumor, Stewart knew that he'd lose hearing in his right ear. That wasn't all. "I was afraid a facial nerve might become paralyzed or my vision would be affected," he says.

Stewart noticed a change in his hearing in his right ear, and a friend had recommended he see an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist. That doctor detected a major difference in hearing between Stewart's ears and ordered an MRI to rule out a brain tumor. Unfortunately, the MRI pointed to an acoustic neuromaRead the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Acoustic Neuroma, Audiology, Dr Michael Link, ENT, neurosurgery, Rochester Campus, Dr Colin Driscoll

January 16th, 2015

New Procedure Helps Patient Strike Back Against Cancer

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

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.


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Tags: Arizona campus, Cancer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Transoral Laser Microsurgery

January 2nd, 2015

Becoming Whole Again After Cancer Treatment

By Susana Shephard susanashephard

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.


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Tags: Hodgkins Lymphoma, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Voice Impairment, Arizona campus

October 15th, 2014

Learning to Hear Again

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Mayo Clinic patient Scott Malmstrom discussed the cochlear implant process. 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 »

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Tags: cochlear implants, Dr Colin Driscoll, Dr Doug Sladen, Dr Lee Belf, Hearing Loss

October 6th, 2014

“I Feel Like Me Again”

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Carly Edgar poses with her dog, Merc, after her time at Mayo Clinic. Carly Edgar faced a mystery illness, the baffling effects of a rare autoimmune disease, and the prospect of reconstructive surgery, but she found hope and help at Mayo Clinic.

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 »

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Tags: Dr Ashley O'Reilly, Dr Grant Hamilton, Dr Uma Thanarajasingam, reconstructive surgery, Relapsing Polychondritis

February 19th, 2014

Keeping a Positive Outlook Despite a Difficult Disease

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Jayne BushmanFor 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 »

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Tags: Dr Ulrich Specks, ENT, kidney transplant, Maureen Kelley, Nephrology, Patient Stories, Sue Fisher, Wegener's granulomatosis

February 5th, 2014

My Story — Seth Locketz

By Seth Locketz slocketz

I was diagnosed with eosinophillic esophagitis (EE) by another provider, who said I needed to have my esophagus stretched every six months with a balloon. I decided to get a second opinion at the Esophagus Clinic at the Mayo Clinic. Wow, am I glad I did! At first, I was given a soft steroid, which may the EE go away! Which was great news! However, then Dr. Alexander and his team did some additional testing of my esophagus, and they were able to figure out that my EE (for which I had 10 times the normal amount of eosinophils) was actually caused from eating eggs, peanuts and dairy! Through the great care of Dr. Alexander and his team, not only did I not have to have my esophagus stretched, I did not even need to take medicine!!!! Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Patient Stories, esophagitis

May 31st, 2013

Born Deaf and My Miracle of Sound

By Makala Johnson MakalaJohnson

Lexi GrafeI was born profoundly deaf due to auditory neuropathy and did not hear a single sound until I received a cochlear implant when I was 4 ½ years old. My parents said that I was always a happy, sweet child and I was born with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye. Throughout my life, I’ve had to deal with many obstacles due to my deafness that most people don’t have to deal with. However, my cochlear implant, this miracle of sound, gives me an appreciation of sound and richness to life that others may take for granted. Through it all, I’ve held onto my belief that you shouldn’t just live life, but love it! Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: auditory neuropathy, Cochlear Implant, deaf, Lexi Grafe, sound

January 25th, 2013

Physician Documents his Cancer Survival, Grateful to Mayo Clinic

By Makala Johnson MakalaJohnson

Dr. J. Campbell with bookI am Dr. J. Kemper Campbell, an ophthalmologist from Lincoln, Nebraska. I noted a small asymptomatic mass on the right side of my neck in December 2006. When needle biopsy established it to be a poorly differentiated metastatic cancer of unknown origin, I asked a colleague for a referral to the institution best equipped to diagnose throat cancer, and Dr. Kerry Olsen of the Department of ENT at the Rochester Mayo Clinic was suggested.

Dr. Olsen during his initial examination felt that the primary cancer would be found in the right tonsil and a modified radical neck dissection confirmed his impression, Although Dr. Olsen felt that the cancer had been completely removed by the surgery, further neck irradiation was recommended to be certain that no viable cancer cells remained.

After five years of careful followup at the Mayo Clinic, I was told that I had been cured. Most throat cancers are survivable if diagnosed early and treated aggressively. Previously associated with tobacco and alcohol use, squamous cell cancers of the oropharynx are now becoming more prevalent in younger individuals exposed to human papillovirus infections. Certainly no lump found in the throat region should be ignored.

To celebrate the five years between my diagnosis and cure, I published a book of poetry documenting the physical and mental stresses undergone by anyone diagnosed with cancer. The book, High Five, A Cancer Survivor's Poetic Journey, is available through Amazon and resulted because of the excellent caregivers at the Mayo Clinic.

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Tags: Dr. J. Kemper Campbell, Dr. Kerry Olsen, ENT, Metastatic Cancer, neck, surgery, throat cancer

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