Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Obstetrics & Gynecology

March 4th, 2016

Hope for ‘Happy, Healthy Life’ Thanks to Answers for ‘Never Seen Before’ Problems

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Mallory Henthorn's family found hope for a rare condition at Mayo Clinic.

Written by Bethany Henthorn

Our daughter, Mallory, was born with several congenital defects known cloacal exstrophy (OEIS – omphalocele, bladder exstrophy, imperforate anus and spinal defects) found in 1 and 400,000 live births. After Mallory’s 20-week gestational ultrasound, we were referred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, from Mayo Clinic Health System – Red Cedar in Menomonie.

We instantly became patients of the Maternal Fetal Medicine team and were both closely monitored until birth. This monitoring involved several tests, ultrasounds and appointments. Mallory was born at 38 weeks' gestation at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Methodist Campus, on Oct. 19, 2014.

The defects identified at birth were more serious and complicated than originally predicted through prenatal monitoring. In the beginning, we wondered how these abnormalities were missed in the extensive prenatal monitoring. It was explained that Mallory’s condition of OEIS is so rare that the Maternal Fetal Medicine team did not know to even look for that type of defect.

Mallory spent her first 83 days at Mayo Clinic. Most days were in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but the last few weeks were on the general pediatric floor.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Cloacal Exstrophy, labor and delivery, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, NICU, obstetrics and gynecology, OEIS, Patient Stories, Prenatal Monitoring


November 5th, 2015

Gut Feeling, Being in Right Place May Have Saved Lynn Witherspoon

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Lynn Witherspoon and her husband moved to Jacksonville to be close to Mayo.When Lynn Witherspoon was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to move quickly. And she wanted to move to a place she felt would give her the care she needed. So she and her husband moved from their home in North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida, to be near Mayo Clinic's Florida campus.

"We live in a rural area, and I felt more comfortable going to Mayo for my cancer care," she says. She'd had relatives treated at Mayo. "So I knew what it offered and its reputation."

Lynn was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. She completed five months of chemotherapy, and had a lumpectomy and removal of some lymph nodes, followed by radiation therapy. Something told her she should take another step to protect her health.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Dr Matthew Robertson III, Dr Sanjay Bagaria, Dr Saranya Chumsri, Florida Campus, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, lumpectomy, ovarian cancer


May 19th, 2015

Patient’s Cancer Journey Inspires Hope and a New Career Path

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Kristin Yukness at a power lifting event. Kristen Yukness knew what her doctor was going to say next. After a finding of bilateral deep vein thrombosis after a routine flight, Kristen had a strong feeling – based on her family history – that her condition had been caused by an underlying form of cancer.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Cancer, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Dr Kenneth DeVault, Dr Matthew Robertson III, Dr Todd Miller, Dr William Cliby, Endocervical Cancer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center


July 16th, 2014

Air Ambulance Ride Confirms Family’s Gratitude for Mayo Clinic

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Brandon and Becky Mauck, with their children. Growing up in South Dakota, Brandon Mauck had heard stories about the famous medical institution surrounded by cornfields in Rochester, Minnesota. Mayo Clinic's reputation inspired him to become part of the Mayo organization, and for the past four years, he has been working in the Department of Nursing at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. What he perhaps wasn't expecting is how strongly his beliefs about the organization would be confirmed through his personal experience and that of his young family.

Recently, Brandon wrote to Mayo Clinic's president and CEO, John Noseworthy, M.D., to recount a personal story that confirmed his pride in Mayo. “I must say that I never imagined that I would be so well cared for by my employer," he writes. "I feel it is vitally important to say ‘thank you’ and make sure you all know how grateful I am.”

It all started in late 2013, at a family gathering in North Dakota in 2013. Brandon had traveled there with his wife, Becky, and two daughters, Annastyn, then 3, and Maci, then 2. Just a few hours after their arrival for the festivities, Becky, who was 29 weeks pregnant, went into premature labor.

“Being in rural North Dakota and three hours away from trusted medical care was quite distressing,” Brandon says. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo MedAir, NICU, nursing, Premature Labor


June 1st, 2014

What makes a cancer survivor?

By Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss cindyweiss

Cindy Weiss in a photo from 2005, during her initial treatment for ovarian cancer.

Cindy Weiss in a photo from 2005, during her initial treatment for ovarian cancer.

June 1 is designated National Cancer Survivor Day – a time to celebrate those living with cancer. It seems ironic, though, for one day to be called out as cancer survivor’s day. Let's be honest – once you receive a diagnosis of cancer, regardless of what kind, every day is essentially survivor’s day.

As a two-time ovarian cancer patient, I know this. But the word "survivor" brings some dilemma. Exactly who is a survivor? What defines a survivor? Are you a survivor after you've completed a six-month chemo regime? Finished weeks of radiation? Lived for x-number of years cancer-free? The question or definition of a survivor is something I and others have grappled with for years.

“Survivor” is a strong and powerful word. According to one definition, a survivor is one “who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.” Sounds like every cancer patient I've ever known. But it’s also a label I’d apply to family members and friends. It takes a village to raise a child, they say. So, too, I believe to fight cancer. By that definition, aren't we all survivors?

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Tags: Cancer Center, cancer research, cindy weiss, ovarian cancer, survivor, weiss


May 8th, 2014

A Healthy Assist for a Special Delivery

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

JoAnna Goebel refused to let diabetes stop her from welcoming a healthy baby into the world

JoAnna Goebel and baby Isabella

When soon-to-be moms find out they are pregnant, many are eager to share the happy news with loved ones. When JoAnna Goebel learned she was expecting, she got on the phone, too. One of her calls wasn't to a family member or friend, though, but rather to the Diabetes Technology Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

"I knew I needed to connect with them right away," says JoAnna. "I found out I was pregnant on March 4, and I called them on March 4."

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 19, JoAnna realized that pregnancy posed unique health challenges for her and her baby. She was focused on overcoming those challenges. And with the help of her Mayo Clinic obstetricians and staff in the Division of Endocrinology, she was able to do just that. On Oct. 24, 2013, JoAnna delivered a healthy six-and-a-half-pound baby girl, Isabella, just two weeks shy of her due date.

"I understood that being diabetic and having a baby would put me in a high-risk category," JoAnna says. "But it's not like it was back in the 80s. People often think of the movie 'Steel Magnolias.' That's not the way it is anymore. I was bound and determined to stay healthy throughout my pregnancy. The wonderful care I received at Mayo Clinic helped make that happen." Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Diabetes, Diabetes Technology Clinic, Endocrinology, Patient Stories, pregnancy, technology, type 1 diabetes


March 1st, 2013

Prenatal Education Class: A special relationship between 3 moms and daughters

By Makala Arce (Johnson) MakalaJohnson

In the Winter of 2011, my husband Cameron and I (Megan Rask) were expecting our first child. We were beyond thrilled! I had been doing my care with the midwives at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. Of course, I wanted to sign my husband and I up for every baby class offered!

We soon began the six week prenatal education class, instructed by Christine Baker, R.N. Along with this class, I made sure to sign us up for the infant passenger safety class, and a tour of the labor and delivery floor in Eisenberg.  We also took our newly purchased SUV to the local fire station to have our infant seat inspected by Todd Emanuel, R.N. As parents to be, this was high on our list of things to do: make sure our baby would be safe in our new family car!

Girls at 15 MonthsIn prenatal class, we met two other couples: Bethany Renstrom and her husband (expecting a baby girl) and Stephanie Fisk and her husband (also expecting a little girl). My husband and I were patiently waiting until the day of delivery to find out the sex of our baby. In class, Chris went over everything we needed to know to prepare for the birth of our baby: bathing a newborn, practicing breathing through contractions, and where to park and what doors to come in once we were in labor. She even showed us the gown and pads we’d wear in the hospital, and the Forceps they might use, in the event our baby was in a difficult situation. Seeing all these things in class made it easier for me to mentally prepare for labor. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: babies, Baby, Education, Family Birth Center, mom, perinatal, pregnancy, prenatal


December 12th, 2012

Specialized care team approach helps triumph over high risk pregnancy

By Margaret Shepard, Communications Associate Margaret_Marie

Rachel Willenberg with her husband and two daughters.

Delighted to pose for a family portrait in June 2009: Rachel and husband, Seth, with daughters, Ariana and Aleah.

As Rachel Willenberg, and her husband Seth, look at their two healthy daughters today, they are reminded of the specialized obstetrics and cardiovascular care at Mayo Clinic that made having a family possible.

For years before her first visit to Mayo Clinic, Rachel endured baffling symptoms of breathlessness, bruising on her chest, and swelling in her face and upper arms. An eventual diagnosis of a rare condition known as fibrosing mediastinitis (FM) left her confused about her future and nearly dashed all hope of having a family. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: cardiovascular disease, Dr. Cabalka, Dr. Phillips, Dr. Rose, fibrosing mediastinitis, Matthew Clark PhD, Rachel Willenberg


November 14th, 2012

Loving care, answered prayers and a bake sale

By Makala Arce (Johnson) MakalaJohnson

Carey and her daughter Catherine

Carey Deacon with her daughter Catherine, who says her experiences have made her want to work in health care and, ideally, at Mayo Clinic.

For Carey Deacon, the support of co-workers along with her daughter's medical care reaffirmed her decision to return to work at the "only place she felt passionate about."

Carey Deacon sped from her mother's graveside to the emergency room with her 15-year-old daughter, Catherine, doubled over in pain beside her in the car.

"I was in so much pain that my grandmother's funeral is a blur," Catherine says.

At the emergency room, in Newnan, Ga., Catherine had an ultrasound and CT scan to determine the source of her pain. Doctors told Deacon that Catherine's pain was caused by a cyst in her ovary. They sent her home with painkillers, telling Deacon her daughter would be fine and wouldn't require further treatment. Mother and daughter weren't so sure. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Carey Deacon, Catherine Deacon, Charles Coddington, dermoid tumor, employee, employment, Matthew Robertson, Ovary, surgery, tumor


June 12th, 2012

Patient Shares about Birthing Experience and Fictional Blog Story

By Makala Arce (Johnson) MakalaJohnson

Gretchen Cooper

I have been a Mayo Clinic patient and resident of Rochester, Mn for the past fifteen years or more. I have four daughters and each of them have been born under the care of Mayo physicians. I want to take this opportunity to give thanks and recognition to Dr. Collette Lessard. She made it to my "precipitous" birth of my newest edition in March. Dr. Lessard was spotted running through the halls of the subways and skyways to get to us in time. She is an excellent asset on the Mayo Clinic team. I am so pleased to have her as part of our birthing experience.

The new birthing unit is nicely designed and much more "home-like" than the previous unit. I was able to hold and nurse my baby with all of her cares being done right next to me. I had hoped to make use of the birthing tubs, but time did not allow us to do so. Aside from all of the new improvements and modern updates to the birthing center, the patient care for my new baby and myself was exceptional and unforgettable. From the two women who admitted me, to the nurse who gave my baby her first bath, each Mayo employee played an integral role to our first day as a new mom and newborn. I am so grateful to each of you for living up to your mission statement and giving us such a wonderful start to a new life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: birthing, Charlie Mayo, Collete Lessard, Dinner at the Big House, Gretchen Cooper, History, Ivy Lodge, Matthew Clark PhD, Mayowood


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