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Preventive Medicine Archive

September 1st, 2013 · 2 Comments

Eluding the ‘Widow Maker': The Checkup that Saved His Life

By Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss

George Roberts, vice president of a Florida-based road construction and contracting company

“You have to go to know.”

George Roberts will tell you he’s a busy man — too busy to worry about a physical.

As vice president of a Florida-based road construction and contracting company and chair of two industry groups, he’s got a lot to oversee. Taking time for a doctor’s visit wasn’t on his schedule.

However, Roberts refused to be absent when his wife, Stephanie, was scheduled for a preventive surgical procedure at Mayo Clinic earlier this summer. With her urging, he agreed to schedule a checkup at the same time. His wife’s insistence and that physical exam probably saved his life.

Roberts, then 46, was eligible to participate in Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Program, best described as a comprehensive physical taking place over one to three days. The specialized program has served busy executives for more than 30 years and offers an efficient, cost-effective way to proactively manage health.

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Tags: executive physical, Heart, widow maker, Dr. Rodriguez, Executive Health, george roberts, manuel rodriguez, Florida, Mayo Clinic in Florida, MayoClinicFL


March 21st, 2013 · Leave a Comment

He Said, She Said: How One Couple Battled Colon Cancer Together

By Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss

Sue Willingham remembers the May 2010 day well. She was getting ready to take her two children to school. But before leaving the house, she did what any mom might – use the restroom.

But then she noticed she’d lightly soiled her undergarments. Only she didn’t remember it happening.

Mayo Clinic patients Sue and Darrin Willingham

Mayo Clinic patients Sue and Darrin Willingham

At 45, Willingham was the picture of health. She ate well, exercised and stayed up on doctor visits. But in that moment, something changed. She called her husband. “I remember telling him I’m scared,” she says.

But then Willingham, who describes herself as someone who is not easily rattled, tried to rationalize the accident, chalking it up to the six fiber pills she’d taken the day before to combat constipation.

“Being one that does not jump to conclusions or get upset or scared of anything easily, I said this is ridiculous, crazy, there is nothing wrong with me. I have no cancer in my family. I have no anything…” But today she admits, “Maybe subconsciously I had been aware of what he had gone through the year before.”

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Tags: colo-rectal cancer, colon, Colon Cancer, colonoscopy, MayoClinicFL


December 2nd, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Routine Executive Health exam leads to cancer diagnosis

By Margaret Shepard

Marilyn Dobski and her granddaughter.

Marilyn Dobski and granddaughter

Marilyn Dobski walked away from her first visit to Mayo Clinic with a clean bill of health.

She wasn't as fortunate the second time around.

Dobski and her husband, Tom, first came to Mayo Clinic in 2007 for physicals through Mayo's Executive Health Program.

"We were impressed by the facility and the physicians," says Dobski. The couple, who own 13 McDonald's restaurants in the Lawrence, Kansas, area, were so impressed by the experience that they returned to the Executive Health Program in March 2010.

"I expected another uneventful exam," says Dobski. That expectation quickly changed as Robin Smith, M.D., a preventive medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic, examined Dobski's neck. Dr. Smith detected small growths on Dobski's thyroid gland and arranged for testing. Two days later, Dobski was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Executive Health Program, Marilyn Dobski, Mayo Clinic, thyroid cancer


October 17th, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Suzanne Vela: The Flu Shot Could Save Your Life

By Susana Shephard

In mid-February, 2011, flu-like symptoms caused Suzanne Vela to leave work early to try to recover quickly from fatigue and a persistent cough. Several days of rest at home did not seem to improve her symptoms and Javier Vela, Suzanne's husband, decided to take her to the Mayo Clinic Hospital Emergency department on February 14th.

Their decision to seek urgent care could not have been any more wise and timely since shortly after being admitted to the hospital, Suzanne went into respiratory arrest and was placed on life support for two weeks. After undergoing several tests and procedures, the team of Mayo Clinic physicians caring for Suzanne, including Dr. Kenneth Mishark and Dr. Andrea Loiselle, diagnosed her condition as acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS, Arizona, flu shot, influenza, influenza shot, Mayo Clinic, patient story