Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Gastroenterology

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


March 1st, 2017

After Years of Pain, a Clear Diagnosis Restores a Teen’s Life

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Sanan Malkadjian came to Mayo Clinic after suffering for years from mysterious bouts of severe stomach pain. Her care team at Mayo was able to arrive at the right diagnosis and get her the treatment she needed.

— Written by Sanan Malkadjian

I was only 14 at the time. I would be ashamed of myself because of how often my stomach hurt. It came to a point where no one would believe the excruciating pain I was facing. This was pain unlike no other.

My doctors here in Michigan would blame one another. They told me it was my menstrual cycle, or I was stressing out too much, or even that I had too many bladder infections. Every single time, I was misdiagnosed.

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Tags: Clinical Genomics, Dr Magnus Halland, Familial Mediterranean Fever, gastroenterology


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 17th, 2017

New Weight-Loss Device Helps Mark Harlan Improve His Health

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

A new approach to reducing obesity not only helped Mark Harlan drop the excess weight he’d been carrying for years, it improved his overall health and wellness.

Mark Harlan tried diets. He tried exercise. He modified his behavior and his lifestyle. Yet nothing worked to keep off extra weight that had plagued him for years. Nothing worked, that is, until Mark underwent a cutting-edge procedure designed to help those who don’t qualify for gastric bypass surgery to shed excess pounds.

In 2015, Mark was the first person in the nation to receive the Obera intragastric balloon. The grapefruit-sized, saline-filled, silicone balloon was placed and inflated in Mark’s stomach during a minimally invasive, outpatient endoscopic surgery at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus.

In the six months Mark had the balloon — the device was removed during a second endoscopic procedure — he lost 30 pounds, or about 15 percent of his body weight, says Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Barham Abu Dayyeh, M.D.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Barham Abu Dayyeh, Dr Christopher Gostout, Intragastic balloon


December 16th, 2016

Busy Father Finds Way Forward Despite Hemochromatosis

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

After months of searching for an explanation of his debilitating symptoms, Chad Fogle turned to Mayo Clinic, where his care team was able to help him better understand and mange his diagnosis of hemochromatosis.

As a father of three and the district manager for 11 large retail stores in Houston, Chad Fogle was used to being tired. But in the spring of 2015, he began experiencing exhaustion far beyond what was typical.

“Two hours of being out doing something would exhaust me as much as working 12 hours,” Chad says.

He also began having memory loss. Sometimes he would drive to one of his stores and not remember how he got there. Some days he’d have to go back to his car four or five times because he kept forgetting things.

“I was living in a constant fog,” he says.

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Tags: Dr William Palmer, Hereditary Hemochromatosis Clinic


November 10th, 2016

Minimally Invasive Bariatric Procedure Brings Relief, Joy in Food Again

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

A minimally invasive procedure at Mayo Clinic helped Stephanie Cortez combat debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms and regain control of her body.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.

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Tags: Dr Scott Lynch, Dr Victoria Gomez, Gastric Bypass Surgery, gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic in Florida


September 24th, 2016

Liver Transplant Allows Young Father to Be There for His Family

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Thanks to a living-donor liver transplant at Mayo Clinic, Bryan Duncan overcame a life-threatening liver disease and has been able to return to life with his young family.

Bryan Duncan didn’t think twice about the lab tests he had as part of a routine medical checkup in the fall of 2014. A 29-year-old father of two small children, Bryan led a busy life, didn’t have any health problems, and felt fine.

When the test results came back, though, they showed enzyme levels in Bryan’s liver were higher than normal. This unexpected finding kicked off more than two years of extensive medical care. It brought Bryan from his hometown of Mountain View, Arkansas, to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, where he was diagnosed with a rare liver disease, and where he eventually received a life-saving living-donor liver transplant.

“The way my disease works, if I had waited for a deceased donor, I probably would have been too sick for a transplant,” Bryan says. “Being able to have a living-donor transplant opened up the opportunity for me to get the second chance I needed.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Nicholas LaRusso, gastroenterology, Hepatology, liver transplant, Living donor transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis


February 29th, 2016

Professional Outdoorsman Lives Life to the Fullest After Liver Transplant

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Steve and Maria Woodford are back to active lifestyles after transplant and cancer care at Mayo Clinic.Being diagnosed with bile duct cancer that eventually necessitated a liver transplant wasn't enough to keep Steve Woodford down for long. A South African native living in Utah, Steve is professional skydiving instructor, backpacker and canyon guide in Zion National Park. He has always lived on the edge with his active outdoors lifestyle. Getting sick unexpectedly during a backpacking trip to Belize two years ago seemed like just another challenge he had to overcome.

"My wife and I had just arrived in Belize to do some backpacking and visit the Mayan ruins, when I woke up itching, and noticed a yellow tint to my eyes and skin," Steve says. "I saw a local doctor for a blood test, urine test and ultrasound, and was told I had hepatitis C and needed to go straight home for immediate treatment. Little did I know what was to come after returning home to Utah."  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Bile duct cancer, Breast Cancer, Florida Campus, liver transplant, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center


March 20th, 2015

Battling Colon Cancer at an Unexpected Age

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Kelly Barnard, diagnosed with colon cancer at age 19, poses for a strong arm selfieThe majority of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50. Kelly Barnard was just 19 years old when she got an unwelcome Valentine’s Day surprise. Her stomach pain turned out to be something much more serious.

Among cancer's many negative qualities is the seemingly indiscriminate way the disease manifests itself. Cancer doesn’t care what your race, gender or ethnicity is. It doesn't care about your profession where you live or your family situation. And it doesn't necessarily care about your age. Just ask Kelly Barnard.

Kelly's cancer story began when she was just 19 years old. Then a freshman at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, she began feeling intense stomach pain one day in her dorm room. And while she tells the Duluth Tribune she'd "felt some little twinges of pain" in her stomach before, those were nothing like the pain she felt just before Valentine's Day 2013. "It was horrendous," she tells the newspaper. "I couldn't walk. I couldn't move."  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Colorectal Cancer, colorectal surgery, Dr Robert Cima, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, StrongArmSelfie


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