October 26th, 2016
When Dawn Odenthal sat down for a meeting with her colleague Jolinda Conzemius in June 2014, organ donation was nowhere on her radar. The two women knew one another through their work at a company that specializes in school photography, yearbooks, church directories and other forms of memory preservation. Dawn is a regional sales director, and Jolinda is a photographer. They were meeting to talk about a project they had been assigned to work on together.
By the time they got up from the table that afternoon, however, they had started a process that would culminate in Dawn donating one of her kidneys to Jolinda for a life-altering kidney transplant at Mayo Clinic.
â€śI absolutely wanted to do this for her,â€ť says Dawn. â€śThere wasnâ€™t a question in my mind.â€ť Read the rest of this entry »
October 19th, 2016
The email from a parent at her school in May 2013 took Nancy Shaver, an elementary school principal, by surprise. It was from Kati Walker, mother of two, who was on a mission: to donate one of her kidneys to Nancy, who greatly needed one.
Kati's message announced, "I'm going to be tested to be a kidney donor." Nancy, in her characteristic unassuming manner, replied, "Oh, how nice for someone!" Kati quickly replied, "No, it's for you, silly!"
Kati, two decades younger than Nancy, knew Nancy only as the principal at her childrenâ€™s school. Nancy knew Kati as a parent and active volunteer. But that email exchange launched a journey to a life-saving kidney transplant for Nancy and a bond between the two women that they attest will last a lifetime.Â Read the rest of this entry »
September 17th, 2016
Scott Berry is one of five children. But he and his youngest sibling, David, share a very unique bond â€” a kidney, to be exact. On April 12, 2016, David gave his older brother a second chance at life by donating one of his kidneys to Scott for a transplant.Â Read the rest of this entry »
June 17th, 2016
Successfully finishing a medical residency is a significant milestone in any physician's career. But when Natalie Ertz-Archambault, M.D., graduated in June 2016 from the Internal Medicine Residency at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, the achievement felt particularly sweet.
"It was an incredible success for me, since I actually started my residency in 2012, completed four months, and then became too ill to work," she says. "At that time, I wasn't sure if I'd ever reach graduation."
September 16th, 2015
Heads turned when Aries Merritt walked into the lobby at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix at 5 a.m. on Sept. 1, with family and TV cameras in tow. Just four days earlier, he won a bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. But, on this day, facing one of his biggest hurdles, he was about to undergo a lifesaving kidney transplant.Â Read the rest of this entry »
April 21st, 2015
By Paul Scotti
Receiving a donor kidney from an anonymous deceased donor is a gift of life to anyone in need of a transplant.Â Receiving an organ donation from a living family member is extra special, when you consider the risks and sacrifices associated with making that choice.
Tammy Stelly, a 46-year-old retired postal worker from Middleburg, Florida, experienced that special gift when her brother-in-law was found to be a compatible match and became her living kidney donor.
â€śI was overwhelmed that he offered to be tested as a possible match,â€ť says Tammy. â€śI never imagined that we might actually be a compatible match.â€ť
Tammy isnâ€™t the first member of her family to have kidney disease, nor was she the first to receive a kidney transplant from a living donor who also is a family member. One of her relatives received a kidney from his daughter many years ago, and lived another 17 years before passing away due to unrelated causes.Â Read the rest of this entry »
April 15th, 2015
After an ultrasound at 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Anna Ryabova, along with her husband, Oleg Pecherskii, faced a grim prognosis for their unborn son.
"The doctors in Russia told us his kidneys were very small, that they had not developed according to his gestational age, and that he would likely die within five days of his birth," Anna says.
But Roman miraculously survived, and on the 10th day, he was moved to one of Moscow children's hospital, where there was a nephrology department.
There, a nephrologist told to Anna and Oleg that Roman's condition would lead to a number of disabilities: he would have difficulty walking, as well as problems with his hearing, vision and mental development. Oleg asked doctors there about kidney transplant as a possibility for Roman. They answered that it was not a good idea and that children under five years had little chance of survival, in Russia especially. Instead, doctors suggested peritoneal dialysis.
"Nevertheless, we did not lose hope and were determined to do everything for our little son to get him out of disease. We staunchly believed in the best, and today we can say that our grit was rewarded by our very active and cheerful boy," Anna says.Â Read the rest of this entry »
August 14th, 2014
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 Minneapolisâ€“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 naĂŻve 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,"Â he says. "At that point, they told me I needed to go to the ER."Â Read the rest of this entry »
June 20th, 2014
By Paul Scotti
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 amyloidosisÂ â€” a disorder that could prevent you from receiving the bone marrow transplant necessary to combat your myeloma â€”Â could put anyoneâ€™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 MarchÂ 2013 while visiting his son, Schwindt knew something wasnâ€™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 â€”Â 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 wasnâ€™t only devastating news Schwindt would receive. 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 â€¦ 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.â€ť Read the rest of this entry »