Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Transplant Archive

January 30th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Mother and Daughter Winning Battle With Cancer Despite Family History of the Disease

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Yadira and Valeria Zepeda are mother and daughter cancer survivors. Most of us have known someone with cancer, either in our family or with a friend or an acquaintance. But cancer can be particularly cruel when it seems to target a specific family over and over again. For the Zepeda family of Miami, cancer has stricken a mother, her daughter, a number of other family members, and even the family dog.

Yadira Zepeda, a 67-year-old mother of four adult children, was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1991 and was told by her physician in Miami that she probably had two to four months to live. Not satisfied with what she heard and unwilling to give up after receiving that devastating news, at a friend’s recommendation she came to Mayo Clinic's Florida campus for the second opinion that has given her life and hope for the past 24 years.

“My Mayo physician for many years, Gerardo Colon-Otero, M.D., said at the time that while my condition was serious and that he couldn’t promise me a miracle, we would fight my disease with every available option, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and eventually with a bone marrow transplant which I received in 1994,” Yadira says. “While it’s been a long battle, including visits to Mayo every three months for many years, my condition has stabilized, and I’m still living my life, and I am able to enjoy my family long after I wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Yadira’s own battle with cancer took a back seat when in June 2008 her daughter Valeria was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia after unexplained bruises began appearing on her legs and arms. Based on her mother’s experience, Valeria went to Mayo Clinic and began receiving targeted chemotherapy for her disease. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant, Bilateral Masectomay, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, Dr Candido Rivera, Dr. Gerardo Colon-Otero, Dr Sikander Ailawashi, multiple myeloma


January 13th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Employee, Caregiver, Patient: Many Hats for Andrea Liptac

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Andrea Liptac found help for heart conditions at Mayo Clinic. Andrea Liptac describes her journey to Mayo Clinic as a "winding road."

She first learned about Mayo in the early 1990s, when she was living in Montana with her family. At that time, her mother, Kelli Liptac, was diagnosed with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure, and was referred to a specialist at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. Her chronic conditions would warrant multiple trips to Rochester over the years. She would ultimately land on the heart transplant list.

As Andrea approached college graduation in 2004 and began to consider where to apply her education as a laboratory technologist, she recalled her mother's visits to Rochester.

"My mom's treatment at Mayo Clinic indirectly influenced my decision to work here," Andrea recalls. She applied to work as a laboratory technician in the Protein Immunology Laboratory at Mayo and has remained in that role ever since.

Unfortunately, Andrea's Mayo Clinic experience went beyond her employment. She would learn she and her mother shared more in common than she knew, leading her on a  a surprising and difficult journey she says gave her a different perspective on Mayo Clinic and a new understanding of the patient experience.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: congestive heart failure, Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Dr Barry Boilson, Employee Stories, Left Ventricular Assist Device, Patient Stories, Rochester Campus, transplant, Transplant List, Dr David Joyce


December 16th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Wife Gives Husband the Gift of Life with Living Donor Kidney

By pscotti pscotti

Cameron Mullis received a living donor kidney transplant from his wife, Savannah. When 29-year-old Cameron Mullis of Jacksonville, Florida, was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy and told he’d need a kidney transplant, he was facing the likelihood of kidney dialysis and several years of waiting for a suitable donor. Little did he realize, his potential donor was living under the same roof as him.

IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger's disease, is a kidney disease that occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin A, or IgA, lodges in your kidneys. This results in local inflammation that, over time, may hamper your kidneys' ability to filter waste, excess water and electrolytes from your blood. Kidney damage may be indicated by blood and protein in the urine, high blood pressure and swollen feet. There currently is no cure for this disease outside of a kidney transplant.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Florida Campus, IgA Nephropathy, Kidney Dialysis, kidney disease, kidney transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center


December 10th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Complementary Medicine Provides Healing Touch for Patient in Final Days

By HoytFinnamore HoytFinnamore

Karl Weissig enjoying music and nature.Marilyn and David Weissing, both Mayo Clinic employees, knew something was wrong when their 19-year-old son, Karl, asked to be taken to the hospital one summer evening in 2014. Karl, always healthy and active, rarely complained about anything. So David immediately drove him to the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus.

Karl, a beekeeper, was the third of eight children raised on a hobby farm in Winona County, Minnesota.  Karl developed an interest in sustainable farming as a young child and had worked with several local farmers to expand his knowledge and expertise.

He spent the winter after his high school graduation managing an organic dairy herd in Missouri. By the following July, he was back home working a construction job, making a movie with some friends, and playing in a bluegrass band with his brothers.

Karl was initially diagnosed with atypical hepatitis A, possibly acquired a few months earlier during an outbreak at a restaurant. When his liver started to fail, Karl was put on the liver transplant list and, miraculously, received a new liver before a month had passed.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Accupressure, Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Hepatitis A, Histiocytic Sarcoma, liver transplant, Massage Therapy, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center


December 8th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Transplant Diary and a Father’s Day Heart

By HoytFinnamore HoytFinnamore

Clint Frederick wrote a book about his heart transplant experience at Mayo Clinic. When Clint Frederick learned that he needed a heart transplant, he naturally wondered what the road ahead would look like. So he searched for a book that described the process from a patient’s perspective.

His search came up short. But it planted seed. Perhaps he'd change things for other patients.

"After I was approved for a heart transplant, I decided to keep a diary," he says. The diary became the basis for a book, supplemented by information he drew from his medical record, that chronicles Clint's 110 days on the transplant list. But his story begins long before his wait for a new heart.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Arizona campus, Cardiovascular Diseases, congestive heart failure, defibrillator, heart disease, Heart Transplant, Pacemaker, Transplant List


October 27th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Be the Match: It Could Save a Life, Like Christina’s

By uthangaraj uthangaraj

Bone marrow transplant patient Christina Woodside

Christina Woodside starts off the YouTube video that chronicles her health journey by saying, “My family is like every other average family in America.” Her story, however is anything but average.

As part of an active family, Christina, along with her husband and their five children, enjoyed running, biking, fishing and snow sports.

In 2013, on the day after Thanksgiving, that active lifestyle was interrupted by what Christina initially thought was strep throat. She went to urgent care at a clinic in her hometown of Mankato, Minnesota. A strep test came back negative. But her white blood cell count was extremely high, and that pointed to a more serious problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Be the Match, bone marrow transplant, Dr Shahrukh Hashmi, Leukemia, Marrow Donor Registry


September 16th, 2015 · 2 Comments

New Kidney From Sister Gives Hurdler a Chance at 2016 Olympics

By HoytFinnamore HoytFinnamore

AriesMerritt805Heads turned when Aries Merritt walked into the lobby at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix at 5 a.m. on Sept. 1, with family and TV cameras in tow. Just four days earlier, he won a bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. But, on this day, facing one of his biggest hurdles, he was about to undergo a lifesaving kidney transplantRead the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Arizona campus, kidney transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center, Patient Stories


August 31st, 2015 · 1 Comment

Mother Gives Daughter the Gift of Life … Twice

By HoytFinnamore HoytFinnamore

Addie Sylvester's personality has blossomed since her transplant. At 27 weeks into her pregnancy with twins, Amber Sylvester went to Mayo Clinic with her husband, Mike, for an ultrasound test and received news that no parent wants to hear. One of the babies was in trouble. She had enlarged kidneys, no amniotic fluid around her body, and fluid in her abdomen. She would likely not survive until birth. Even if she did survive, doctors said she would likely not live long enough to receive a transplant.

Amber remembers that appointment clearly. “The tech asked me if my water broke,” she says. “When I saw the concern on her face, I knew that something was not right. All I can remember is crying hysterically.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Mikel Prieto, kidney transplant, Living Donor Transplant, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center


August 13th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Marathoner and Ironman Michael Koetting Back in the Race After Donating Kidney

By HoytFinnamore HoytFinnamore

Michael Koetting continues to race after donating a kidney to someone on the transplant list.

 

As an endurance athlete who has completed six Ironman triathlons and more than two dozen marathons, Michael Koetting does not fear physical challenges. So when he learned he could use his good health to help a stranger in need, he never hesitated.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: kidney transplant, Living Donor Transplant, Organ Donation, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center


August 12th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Cystic Fibrosis Patient Says Double Lung Transplant Transformed His Life

By pscotti pscotti

Jon Jantomaso stays active with his family after his lung transplant.

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.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: cystic fibrosis, Florida Campus, Lung Transplant