December 28th, 2015 · Leave a Comment
Leo DeGoursey is used to being busy. Until age 50, he enjoyed a career as a printer. Then he made a switch and spent the next two decades developing curriculum, equipping a lab, and teaching printing at a local college. During that time, he also worked with handicapped students and learned sign language.
Now, at age 85, Leo enjoys woodworking and playing the banjo. He's active in his church, exercises regularly, enjoys socializing and spending time with his family, and takes care of all of his own household maintenance and chores.
That's impressive for anyone. But Leo's active lifestyle is all the more noteworthy because in early 2015, he had surgery at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus to remove a cancerous tumor from his lung. Within days, he returned to his usual routines without a hitch.
"Since I had never had an operation, I expected that this surgery would result in pain, perhaps severe pain, upon recovery. To my amazement I did not experience any pain," Leo says. "Two days after the surgery, I was released from the hospital and shopped at a pharmacy on my way to my daughterâs house to buy some pain medicine. I never needed it. Never once did I feel like I had been through surgery."Â Read the rest of this entry »
December 23rd, 2015 · 1 Comment
The holiday season is much brighter this year for Laura Floeckhler, 45, from Orlando, Florida. Laura was diagnosed last Christmas with pulmonary hypertension, a rare disorder of the lungs affecting about 30 in every one million people. Read the rest of this entry »
August 12th, 2015 · 1 Comment
Nobody knows better than Jon Jantomaso how precious every breath can be. The 49-year-old realtor from Seminole, Florida, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 2 months of age, and for the first 12 years of his life slept in a mist filled tent to help him breath and clear the mucus from his lungs. He has been in some form of physical therapy his entire life battling his disease.Â Read the rest of this entry »
June 30th, 2014 · 1 Comment
When Nicole Jahns was just five months old, her parents â and her doctors â knew something was wrong. She wasn't gaining weight like a five-month-old should, and she wasn't, as her doctors put it, "thriving." They soon discovered why. Nicole had cystic fibrosis, an inherited disorder that affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices causing them to become thick and sticky rather than thin and slippery, as they should be. It's a life-threatening condition that can cause severe damage to a person's digestive system and lungs.
Though it's been challenging at times, Nicole has never allowed her condition to stop her from living her life, and she dedicated herself to caring for others asÂ a nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. In late 2012, Nicoleâs life was interrupted for six months while she waited for aÂ double lung transplant. That transplant finally came in early May 2013, but getting there wasn't easy.
For starters, in a story in a local newspaper, one of Nicole's pulmonary physicians at Mayo Clinic, Mark Wylam, M.D., said that to simply stay on the transplant list, Nicole couldn't leave the hospital during herÂ six-month wait for a transplant. Not even to simply have lunch or a cup of coffee with family or friends. Read the rest of this entry »
May 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
To 22-year-old double lung transplant recipient Curtis Higgons, being dubbed the âmiracle patientâ by his physicians may seem somewhat overstated. But when you consider the medical challenges his doctors had to contend withÂ in preparing him for a life-saving double lung transplant, his moniker may be well deserved.
Curtis was born with cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States alone. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and can lead to life-threatening lung infections. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. As the diseases progresses, lung transplantation often becomes a last treatment option.
âAlthough I was diagnosed with CF at six months old, it only had minor effects on my breathing until I reached my early high school years,â says Curtis. âI was a varsity athlete in bowling and golf, but during my sophomore year of high school things began to progress, and I ended up in the hospital three times.âÂ Read the rest of this entry »
August 7th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
When Richard Oppelt of Melbourne, Fla., became the firstÂ lung-transplant programÂ patient at Mayo Clinic in Florida in June 2001, he never thought that 12 years later heâd be helping someone else with the same situation deal with his recovery. But thatâs exactly what Oppelt did in Dec. 2012 when he heard John McGill, a friend of 20 years, needed someone to provide some caregiver support after his double-lung transplant surgery.
McGill was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that affects breathing and absorption of oxygen by the lungs, on Dec. 5, 2012. Oppelt, who knew McGill through working in the construction industry in Melbourne, became aware of McGillâs diagnosis through co-workers. Having gone through the same procedure, Oppelt felt inclined to offer his help.
February 19th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Sometimes miracles happen when you least expect them. No one believes that more than Fleming Island, Florida resident Shirley Thompson, whose tale of how she received two new lungs while in a medically induced coma at Mayo Clinic hospital in Florida isnât exactly the typical scenario.
The 48-year old married, mother of two was first diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) in March 2012 by her local pulmonologist after undergoing an EKG and experiencing shortness of breath. She was eventually referred to Mayo Clinic for an evaluation and was put on continuous high flow oxygen during treatment for her lung condition. Read the rest of this entry »
November 14th, 2011 · Leave a Comment
August 10th, 2011 · Leave a Comment
This patient interview was one of the most touching and encouraging interviews I have conducted. Ellen B.'s testimony reminds me how fortunate I am to work for this organization. In this video, she shares the remarkable story of her first visit to Mayo Clinic, after she had already heard so much about it through her family's accounts. Her testimony spans the spectrum from tragedy to compassionate care to hope and amazement.
March 2nd, 2011 · Leave a Comment
It's one of those things that at least for me, even when I was leaving to go to Rochester back in 2008, I really had little hope the program would work for me. I smoked 2+ packs a dayÂ for 25+ years, and it's not an easy thing to let go. In my mind it gave me comfort, and had become a friend.
It's really a remarkable experience. I know in my case I really didn't have the desire to quit evenÂ after I arrived there, but in the back of my mind I knew I should. Once I was there I figured I would give it a shot, but really didn't believe it would work.
One thing I can tell you without any hesitation is the Mayo is like no other hospital I've ever been to, and specifically the Smoking Cessation branch. EVERY one of the staff makes you feel like they care about your well being and success. They address smoking as a disease that must be treated, rather than an out of control habit.
I truly truly truly believe thatÂ if they can help me they can help anyoneâŚThe freedoms are the biggest reward. No more waking up at night coughing away, no more running out of an airport looking for a space to smoke.
I remember about 6 months after I returned from the Mayo and had my annual physical at work. My lung function test was the first normal one I had in 16 years. My Dr. told me, "You know you gave up drinking 13 years ago, now smoking, you're one of my few patients that seem to be getting healthier as they get older." I truly believe with all my heart, that I couldn't have quit smoking without the Mayo's program, and the support you get even after you leave.