December 10th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
Kylee Swensrud doesn’t want to talk about the bad stuff. About how the chronic back pain she’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 doesn’t want to talk about how it rendered a vibrant, outgoing teenager essentially lifeless.
“I don’t want to focus on how negative all of this was,” Kylee, now 19, says. “But 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.”
The culprit came suddenly and without warning when Kylee’s lower back gave out one day during ballet. “They thought it was just an injury,” she says. “Nothing was noticeable as a trigger point, so they just told me to rest and do some physical therapy.”
But after that rest and physical therapy, Kylee’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. “But I ended up icing so much that I burst my skin and got these huge welts, because I’d just become so dependent on the ice,” she says. Read the rest of this entry »
November 21st, 2014 · 1 Comment
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 — 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. Read the rest of this entry »
June 4th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
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.
Amy 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, Amy 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 don’t feel like I’m missing out on life as I did before." Read the rest of this entry »
May 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
“His prognosis was grim,” neurosurgeon Rabih Tawk, M.D., recalls. “We used every technology available to help him.”
Despite complications and issues, which required him to be induced into a medical coma, Bretz made an almost full recovery.
“I realize I was lucky and recovered pretty well. A lot of other people who have this type of stroke do not,” says Bretz, who attributes his success to the large team at Mayo Clinic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center.
February 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment
By Mayo Clinic
If Proud Mary is playing, Sandy Dyson wants to be dancing. But last spring, it looked like Dyson’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 “wickedly good team” 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.
“Without their help I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Dyson.
When she arrived in Waseca three days after having surgery at Mayo Clinic, Dyson was in “excruciating” pain.
She understood that the pain she was experiencing wasn’t unusual immediately after knee replacement surgery, but Dyson was not happy about it. And not shy about letting people know it. But that didn’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 »
October 4th, 2013 · Leave a Comment
By Mayo Clinic
After a terrible accident left him barely alive and in need of major reconstruction, Mark Gilbertson found the right team at Mayo Clinic to help piece things back together again. He shares his story below.
My name is Mark Gilbertson, and here’s my story.
I am originally from Brainerd, Minn. I joined the Air Force following high school and retired in 2009 after 22 years of active duty as an aircraft mechanic. I now work for the Boeing Company as an aircraft mechanic at an air base in Hungary. My family and I have lived there for nearly four years.
On Dec. 19, 2012, some workers at the airbase were opening a large hangar door using a steel cable attached to the front of a large truck. The cable was stretched across the road. The weather was rainy, and it was a little dark. As I approached in my car, I did not see the cable, and struck it at about 29 MPH. Read the rest of this entry »
November 27th, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Since a serious car accident in 1998, Chad Hanson has learned a lot about goals and adaptations. As a patient in Mayo Clinic's Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Unit, he remembers the first time he was able to use the joystick on his wheelchair -- his fingers pushing the lever but not strong enough to pull back, his therapists standing close by, catching him before he hit the wall.
"It was great!" he laughs. "I didn't have much control that first time, but I told them by the end of the weekend I would be able to take my hand on and off the joy stick. And I did."
Chad broke his neck in the accident. "He was initially paralyzed from the neck down and required a ventilator to help him breathe," explains his physician, Jeffrey Strommen, M. D. "Over time his breathing improved to the point that he was able to get off the ventilator and transfer to the rehabilitation unit. His prognosis for recovery of walking was less than 3 percent but we hoped that he would at least gain some arm function to allow him to be more independent." Read the rest of this entry »
September 29th, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Since a devastating football injury, Chris Norton has taken steady steps toward recovery through determination, faith and a strong support network. Now, he's reaching out to help others with spinal-cord injuries.
On a Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, while making a tackle in a Luther College football game, Chris Norton's life changed dramatically. It was clear right away that his injury was serious. On the field, he told coaches and trainers he couldn’t move, and he couldn't feel anything below his neck. Chris was transported to Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, Iowa, and from there, flown by helicopter to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Physicians found that Chris had two broken vertebrae in his neck and compressed spinal cord. Initially, he had no movement from the neck down. But within 24 hours of the accident, there was a sign of hope. Chris was able to move his shoulder. That was below the injury site, and Chris and his family latched onto that sign.
August 8th, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Ironically, little Taylor Rose Beauseau experienced what will likely be the most severe injury of her life during her birth. While emerging through her mother's birth canal, her right shoulder became trapped, injuring the nerves that control her right arm.
In most cases of brachial plexus injury during birth, the nerves are stretched and infants develop use of their injured arm in a month or two. In Taylor's case, the nerves were severed and, even after several months, she couldn't move her right arm. "When she was six months old, she had surgery to repair the damage, but she still wasn't able to move her right arm," says Taylor's father, Jason Boso. The family was concerned that Taylor would never be able to use her right arm.
"As parents, we always want to make the best choices for our children," says Jason. "So on my birthday, I gave myself a special gift and called Mayo Clinic in Rochester to see if they would be willing to evaluate Taylor. We definitely needed a second opinion."
May 18th, 2012 · Leave a Comment
Without external assistance, his body “forgets” to breathe. He was born with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome, also referred to as Ondine’s curse. Essentially, the brain fails to signal the lungs to breathe.