July 16th, 2016
When Gene Franke left his farm in rural Hayfield, Minnesota, driving a semi-trailer truck loaded with hay and bound for Oklahoma, he never imagined the return leg of his journey would be as a passenger in an air ambulance jet. But in September 2011, thatâ€™s exactly what happened.
A serious accident left Gene paralyzed and in critical condition. Doctors in Oklahoma didnâ€™t think he would survive. Longtime patients of Mayo Clinic, Gene and his wife, Barbara, were determined to get him back to Mayo's Rochester, Minnesota, campus for care.
â€śThe doctors at Mayo Clinic knew what was going on, and they assured us they could do something for him,â€ť Barbara says. â€śWe knew he had to get up here. The care at Mayo Clinic is like nowhere else. Weâ€™re used to it, and thatâ€™s what we wanted.â€ťÂ Read the rest of this entry »
August 16th, 2015
But for people living with chronic pain, a daily, multi-week program is compelling if it can help them return to a more active lifestyle.
Established in 2011, the Pain Rehabilitation Center at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus offers a robust and integrated three-week outpatient program for adults affected by chronic pain and symptoms. Read the rest of this entry »
July 2nd, 2015
Later, while pushing a cart at a grocery store, the pain returned with more intensity. So Ardis checked in at the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, Minnesota. While test results ruled out a heart attack, the team in the Emergency Department scheduled her for a stress test because of the pain she was feeling on exertion. Read the rest of this entry »
June 24th, 2015
Gloria and her husband, Floyd, were camping in South Dakota in August 2013, when her bodyâ€™s temperature skyrocketed to 104.6 degrees, and her body went limp. She went from enjoying her time at a campground to being paralyzed from the neck down.
She was diagnosed with West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.
Most people infected with West Nile virus experience a slight fever or a mild headache. Gloria was in the minority â€“ less than one percent â€“ of people affected neurologically by the virus. She ended up being admitted to an intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. Because of her paralysis, Gloria needed a ventilator to breathe.Â Read the rest of this entry »
June 12th, 2015
If Ty Wiberg, a 13-year-old from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, has one guiding principle in life, that might be the one.
The Chippewa Falls Middle School student has undergone 16 surgeries, walks with braces and uses a wheelchair for distance. Ty was born withÂ spina bifida, a spinal cord malformation. He also suffers from hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain for which a tube-like shunt drains excess fluid. And he has limited sensation from the knees down, among other issues.
Not that any of that is slowing him down.
Ty mono-skis, distance races with his wheelchair, scuba dives, plays wheelchair basketball, swims and does karate. This past winter, he spent a week at a downhill ski camp in Colorado for kids with disabilities and injured veterans. This spring, he recently received his black belt in karate.Â Read the rest of this entry »
December 10th, 2014
Kylee Swensrud doesnâ€™t want to talk about the bad stuff. About how the chronic back pain sheâ€™s been living with for the past few years caused emotional distress and drove a wedge between her parents, or the weight it placed on her older sister over concern for her. And she especially doesnâ€™t want to talk about how it rendered a vibrant, outgoing teenager essentially lifeless.
â€śI donâ€™t want to focus on how negative all of this was,â€ť Kylee, now 19, says. â€śBut I do want people to understand that I literally had no life. It truly was like a living hell. It was just this giant, rolling ball of ick.â€ť
The culprit came suddenly and without warning when Kyleeâ€™s lower back gave out one day during ballet. â€śThey thought it was just an injury,â€ť she says. â€śNothing was noticeable as a trigger point, so they just told me to rest and do some physical therapy.â€ť
But after that rest and physical therapy, Kyleeâ€™s back pain was still there. Local doctors then put her on a pain medications and muscle relaxers that she says did nothing more than require more pills.
After those medications failed to help, Kylee says she then turned to heat and ice treatments. â€śBut I ended up icing so much that I burst my skin and got these huge welts, because Iâ€™d just become so dependent on the ice,â€ť she says. Read the rest of this entry »
November 21st, 2014
Look at Carl White today and you see a busy, content family man. A husband and father of two, Carl recently completed his bachelor's degree and now is pursuing a master's in social work. When he's not in school or studying, you'll likely find him either at his job as a health unit coordinator at Mayo Clinic Hopsital, Saint Marys Campus, in Rochester, Minnesota, or spending time with his family.
At first glance, Carl may seem like any typical, hardworking dad. Rewind a few years, though, and you'll understand just how far Carl has come and the enormous struggles he has had to overcome.
Back in 2009, Carl was consumed with chronic pain â€” the result of two serious accidents. He attempted to cope by taking steady doses of strong pain medication, along with a significant amount of alcohol. But it provided little relief.
"I was in constant pain. I couldn't think. I couldn't function. My family was falling apart. I didn't know what to do," Carl says. "Time seemed to go so slowly while waiting for a magic bullet, a new medical breakthrough that would take all the pain away. I believed that all I needed was to have the right surgery or find the right pill, and I would be cured."
Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Angry and discouraged after several years of dealing with the pain, he was not receptive when a doctor at Mayo Clinic referred him to Mayo's Pain Rehabilitation Center.Â Read the rest of this entry »
June 4th, 2014
In the summer of 2013, Amy Supergan took a trip to Italy. That may not sound extraordinary, but there was a time when being able to travel and enjoy a vacation with her family seemed like an impossible goal.
AmyÂ faces a range of challenging medical problems, but at the top of that list is pain so debilitating she was forced to quit her career and give up an active lifestyle. But through the care she has received at Mayo Clinic and her participation in an innovative clinical research trial, AmyÂ has found a renewed ability to manage her pain, and enjoy friends and family when she is able.
"Although I may never ski again or be back at work, with the help of all of my doctors at Mayo, I am now able to live independently with some assistance," she says. "I have found happiness in being more relaxed and appreciating some of the smaller things in life. I donâ€™t feel like Iâ€™m missing out on life as I did before." Read the rest of this entry »
May 16th, 2014
â€śHis prognosis was grim,â€ťÂ neurosurgeonÂ Rabih Tawk, M.D., recalls. â€śWe used every technology available to help him.â€ť
Despite complications and issues, which required him to be induced into a medical coma, Bretz made an almost full recovery.
â€śI realize I was lucky and recovered pretty well. A lot of other people who have this type of stroke do not,â€ť says Bretz, who attributes his success to the large team atÂ Mayo Clinicâ€™s Comprehensive Stroke Center.
February 14th, 2014
If Proud Mary is playing, Sandy Dyson wants to be dancing.Â But last spring, it looked like Dysonâ€™s dancing days might be behind her. After knee replacement surgery, the 71-year-old Kennebec, S.D., resident was in so much pain that just walking seemed like punishment.
Thanks to a â€świckedly good teamâ€ť of rehabilitation specialists in the Mayo Transitional Care program at Mayo Clinic Health System in Waseca, however, she was back on the dance floor by winter.
The Transitional Care program provides a step between hospital and home for patients, who are supervised by physicians and receive daily care from nurses and therapists. A multidisciplinary team of providers sets up an individualized plan of care for each patient designed to get them back home as quickly as possible.
â€śWithout their help I wouldnâ€™t be where I am today,â€ť says Dyson.
When she arrived in Waseca three days after having surgery at Mayo Clinic, Dyson was in â€śexcruciatingâ€ť pain.
She understood that the pain she was experiencing wasnâ€™t unusual immediately after knee replacement surgery, but Dyson was not happy about it. And not shy about letting people know it. But that didnâ€™t scare staff away. Dyson says someone checked on her every 30 minutes the first week she arrived, always meeting her tears and frustration with kindness and encouragement. Read the rest of this entry »