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Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Nephrology Archive

August 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

A Kidney Between Friends

By Hoyt Finnamore

Todd Goldrick, transplant patient, stops for a photo with his donor, Marty Yeager. Todd Goldrick was living the dream. Good job. Loving wife. Two young, healthy kids. Weekends spent playing golf, softball, kayaking, hiking, running or just hanging around home with the family. But that changed suddenly in 2010, when he and his wife simply tried to buy some life insurance. He was just 28.

"Mine came back straight out denied," Todd says. "They told me the reasons. There was a whole long list -- high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a few other things that I don't remember exactly."

Before that day, Todd says he'd been to see his doctor in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area "maybe every two years," so the policy denial came of left field. In fact, he says it scared him into doing nothing about it, at least initially. "I was kind of naïve and a little scared to go back to the doctor," he says. "So I didn't do anything."

Six months later, he got a sinus infection that wouldn't go away, and eventually he went to urgent care, where some flags were raised unrelated to his sinuses. "They took my blood pressure, and it was 200 over 120," he says. "At that point, they told me I needed to go to the ER."  Read the rest of this entry »

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June 20th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Patient with “Double Trouble” Diagnosis Finds Answers at Mayo Clinic

By Paul Scotti

67-year-old Kendall Schwindt of Sun City, Florida, a retiree who spent 26 years with Walmart and who has remained active playing golf and riding his motorcycle.

Being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a serious blood cancer, is difficult enough to accept. But being told that you also have a rare hematologic condition called amyloidosis — a disorder that could prevent you from receiving the bone marrow transplant necessary to combat your myeloma — could put anyone’s strength to the test.

Such was the case for 67-year-old Kendall Schwindt of Sun City, Florida, a retiree who spent 26 years with Walmart and who has remained active playing golf and riding his motorcycle. After experiencing a sudden illness in March 2013 while visiting his son, Schwindt knew something wasn’t right. After visiting his family doctor, he was told he had a very high creatinine level in his blood and was sent to a local nephrologist for a kidney biopsy.

His diagnosis — multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in bone marrow. Plasma cells normally make proteins called antibodies to help the body fight infections. But that wasn’t only devastating news Schwindt would receive. Read the rest of this entry »

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February 19th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Keeping a Positive Outlook Despite a Difficult Disease

By Hoyt Finnamore

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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December 12th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Boo Maddox takes on H1N1, dialysis, and complications on his way to a successful kidney transplant

By Mayo Clinic

Boo Maddox

A year ago, the Robert Maddox family from Boyce, La., would never have imagined attending the 50th Anniversary of Kidney Transplantation celebration event at Mayo Clinic this month. A year ago, their 9-year-old son Robert, who goes by the nickname "Boo," was struggling to survive, and a transplant seemed impossible.

After a devastating bout of H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009 when he was just 5 years old, Boo spent nearly 500 days in Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. After multiple surgeries, numerous transfusions, and months of uncertainty, he recovered and survived despite the odds. But he was left with renal failure, dangerously high pulmonary pressure, and susceptibility for recurring infections. Doctors told the family that he would never be a candidate for a transplant, and was destined for a life of dialysis and complications from the high pressure and infections.

Determined to find hope, Robert and Renee Maddox brought their son to Mayo Clinic last winter and met with the kidney transplant team. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 25th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Identical Twins Share Genetic Makeup, and a Kidney

By Mayo Clinic

When Ernesto Boleaga learned that he needed a kidney transplant, the perfect donor, his identical twin brother, Jose Luis, was ready and willing to help. And because the Boleagas have the same genetic make-up, Ernesto’s body accepted Jose Luis’ kidney as its own.

For most patients, however, an identical twin donor isn’t an option, and they need to take medication to suppress their immune system so the body doesn't reject their new kidney. Doctors at Mayo Clinic want to change that.

The video below shows the Boleaga’s story and how Mayo Clinic physicians are researching ways to grow organs from a patient’s own stem cells. It's called regenerative medicine, and it offers hope for a solution to organ rejection.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAtPL0_EUiY

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November 20th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

The Decision to Save a Stranger’s Life

By Mayo Clinic

A patient in need of transplant touches Dr. Phil Fischer's heart and prompts him to explore living donation. As a result, a patient in need of a kidney lives on, enjoying her grandchildren, golfing and dancing.  

The shortage of deceased donor organs has reached a crisis, with almost 120,000 people in need of a lifesaving organ nationwide. More than 3,000 of those people are Mayo Clinic patients. But for kidney, liver and bone marrow transplant patients, living donors can help shorten the wait time.

A recent survey found that nearly half of Americans would consider donating to a complete stranger — a statistic that has more than doubled in the past decade. It is becoming increasingly common for people to donate to family, friends and even strangers, so one of the 120,000 people on the wait list can receive the gift of renewed life.

One such donor is Phil Fischer, M.D., a pediatric and adolescent medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center. In this video interview, Dr. Fischer tells how a patient in need of a kidney transplant touched his heart and prompted him to explore anonymous living donation, sometimes referred to as good Samaritan, non-directed or altruistic donation. Dr. Fischer’s selfless act of donation enabled a woman in need of a kidney to live a full life, enjoying her grandchildren and dancing.  Read the rest of this entry »

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November 11th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Sister’s Kidney for Little Brother

By Mayo Clinic

For his entire life, radio host James Rabe has known that one day he'd need a new kidney. A disease called Alport Syndrome slowly caused his kidneys to fail. As his condition advanced, the search for a new organ began. His big sister stepped up and gave part of herself so her little brother could live. They share their story in the video below.

While the outcomes for transplant patients who receive deceased donor organs are very good, transplants performed from living donors, like the gift given to James by his sister, can have several advantages. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 23rd, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Five Years on the Transplant List and the Perfect Match

By Mayo Clinic

Chuck Jorud had lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years when his kidneys declared, “enough.” He started dialysis and was evaluated for a kidney transplant.

“I had young kids at the time and decided that if I was going to have a transplant, I wanted the best,” says Chuck. That led him to Mayo Clinic, where Thomas Schwab, M.D., a nephrologist, suggested he consider a combined kidney-pancreas transplant, which held the promise of a diabetes-free life.

“I was blown off my feet. I didn’t even know that existed,” says Chuck, who was placed on the transplant list. And though it likely meant a much longer wait, he decided only to accept organs that were a perfect six out of six antigen match. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 27th, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Jill Morton: Going for the Gold

By Susana Shephard

Jill Morton playing tennis

Eight years ago, Jill Morton was dying. A family history of kidney disease had finally caught up with her. Her kidneys were failing, and her body was shutting down.

"I was really afraid," she says.

For two long years, Morton, of Boca Raton, Fla., lived with that fear -- her name on the transplant list and a beeper always at hand -- waiting for that moment when a match might suddenly become available. Read the rest of this entry »

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May 25th, 2011 · Leave a Comment

New friendship cemented with kidney donation

By Stacy Theobald

Melissa Blevins and Risa Simon

Melissa Blevins, administrator for the Transplant Center and Living Donor Programs at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Arizona, knew that one day she’d be an organ donor.

Her epiphany occurred 15 years ago. She was working as nurse transplant coordinator and, one night, two pediatric patients died. “One needed a transplant. The parents of the other ill child hadn’t given donation consent,” she says. “The death of the baby who needed a transplant seemed so unnecessary.”

That night, Blevins says she became an ardent organ donation proponent. In 2010, Blevins became a donor. The catalyst and recipient was Risa Simon, a consultant and professional speaker who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Read the rest of this entry »

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