November 23rd, 2016
Six years ago, Robert Clark thought he was having a stroke. His left eye drooped shut, and he began to have difficulty swallowing. A competitive body builder used to working out six times a week, Robert rarely got sick. So when a local physician dismissed his symptoms, he sought out a friend who worked at Mayo Clinic.
His friend recommended he see Paul Brazis, M.D., a physician who specializes in neuro-ophthalmology. After examining Robert, Dr. Brazis suspected myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disorder characterized by weakness and fatigue of the skeletal muscles as a result of an enlarged thymus. The thymus, an H-shaped gland situated in the upper chest that produces T-cells to fight disease, is supposed to shrink after birth, when bone marrow takes over this function.
Following a series of tests, the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis was confirmed. Robert then faced difficult decisions about managing his disease while living life as he wanted. Â Read the rest of this entry »
May 10th, 2016
Before October 2015, Brennan Farley had never broken a bone in his body. That changed dramatically when a horrific vehicle accident landed the 30-year-old farm worker in Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus, for two months.
Due to Brennan's extensive injuries, doctors were concerned he might not be able to walk again. But with the help of a supportive care team and the love and encouragement of his fiancĂ©e, Kayla, Brennan progressed enough in his recovery to go home in December 2015. And to walk down the aisle at the end of his wedding ceremony a month later, with a little help and with his new bride by his side.
"The people at Saint Marys really cared about me," Brennan says. "They want their work to be great, and it shows. It really shows." And he would certainly need their best efforts.Â Read the rest of this entry »
October 19th, 2015
Each year after their big Thanksgiving meal, Tess Wilson's family has a tradition of playing games in a gym to burn off some calories. For much of her high school and college years, Tess spent that afternoon sitting on the sidelines watching the rest of her family run around. Severe, chronic pain made it impossible for her to join in the fun.
Thanksgiving Day 2014 was different. On that day, Tess was in the thick of the action. She played capture-the-flag, hide-and-go-seek, soccer and tag.
"I was incredibly sore the next day, but not in a chronic pain way," she says. "I just used muscles that I had forgotten were there."
The change came as a result of Tess' participation in a aÂ clinical research trialÂ at Mayo Clinic that studied the effects of a new treatment for chronic nerve pain, called scrambler therapy. After two weeks of the therapy, Tess found relief from the constant pain that had been plaguing her for five years.Â Read the rest of this entry »
December 19th, 2014
Written by Elaine Stewart, Mayo Clinic Health System Home Health and Hospice
During a recent visit to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, I was reminded of some great memories from my days of working at Saint Marys Hospital over 50 years ago. I want to share some of those memories.
My first visits to Mayo Clinic and Saint Marys Hospital began in 1957. A family member was diagnosed and treated at Mayo Clinic for lymphoma, and I made several trips with him during his illness. He eventually passed away at the hospital in 1959. I enjoyed the visits to Rochester, so a couple of months after my family memberâ€™s death, I decided to seek employment at Mayo Clinic. My first stop was Saint Marys Hospital, where I was granted an interview with Sister Merici, the supervisor of Surgery. When I walked out of her office that day, I had a position as a surgical technician! No background check and no waiting period. Sister Merici didnâ€™t tell me at the time, but later told me she hired me because my modesty and wholesome innocence appealed to her.
I was trained on the job by the nurse in charge of Operating Room (OR) 10. I was excited and a little scared, too, because my new job seemed like a huge challenge. And, I had no idea who I would be meeting, and working with for the months and years to come. When I found out one of these people would be Dr. Charles W. Mayo, well, you can only imagine how I felt! I only had started my new job as a surgery technician when he was scheduled to do surgery. I was worried about meeting him, but he made it very easy for me. I was mopping the floor when he walked in and jumped on my mop and greeted me with a warm smile and welcome. From that time on, I was totally comfortable with him. He never held himself above anyone â€” thatâ€™s the kind of person he was.
â€śDr. Chuckâ€ť is what everyone called him, but I always just called him â€śDoctor.â€ť As time passed, I did get to know him well. Read the rest of this entry »
June 30th, 2014
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, Nicoleâ€™s 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 »
April 18th, 2013
Diane McIverâ€™s first visit to Mayo Clinic mixed health care with pleasure â€“ she and her now husband tagged their annual physical appointments with a trip to the golf course. At the time, they were just dating and enjoyed â€śa fabulous mini vacation combining our health care with an activity we both love!â€ť exclaimed McIver.Â
Their first visit was around 10 years ago at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale but since they live in Atlanta, Mayo Clinicâ€™s Jacksonville campus has been their main location. It only takes a one-hour flight for them to get answers from Mayo Clinic.
McIver and her husband have visited other facilities in Atlanta but enjoy the convenience, location and friendly staff at Mayo Clinic. â€śThe people who work at Mayo Clinic are absolutely the friendliest, nicest, and most professional team I have ever been associated with,â€ť says McIver.Â
With their Mayo Clinic care team, the McIvers are typically able to get all of their necessary exams done during the dayÂ and walk away with their test results at the end of the day. Through Mayo Clinicâ€™s Executive Health Program, Diane is able to have her appointments fully coordinated with different specialists. Mayo Clinic has a unique model of care that facilitates efficient diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care all under one roof.
â€śOur schedules are extremely busy in regards to our careerâ€¦taking a one-hour flight to visit Jacksonville is the best time we could spend in regards to our health," says Diane. Â Our experience at Mayo Clinic takes health care to another level that all people should experience if possible.â€ť
December 26th, 2012
Heidi had been thinking about cosmetic surgery for years. She decided to do it after her father was killed. "It was hard on me, and my family, and I wanted to reward myself for getting through it. I wanted to do something for myself." says Heidi.
Her reward was a septorhinoplasty (surgery to remove obstructions and improve the appearance of the nose), a chin implant and breast enlargement.
The 27-year-old had considered having plastic surgery on her nose for years. "I broke my nose as a child and I was always self-conscious about it," Heidi says. In addition to affecting the appearance of her nose, the injury narrowed her nasal passage on one side. Even after sinus surgery the problem continued to worsen. She wanted to breathe easier again and look better, too. Read the rest of this entry »
December 14th, 2012
It started as an uneventful August Monday for Tom Halverstadt. The Scottsdale, Ariz., resident was wrapping up a maintenance appointment at a local auto dealership. "I had gotten a little dizzy in the waiting room, but shrugged the feeling off," he recalls. "But after paying the cashier and getting into my car, I felt even more weird. I reached over to adjust the air conditioning â€” and suddenly the right side of my body became paralyzed."
Personnel at the car dealership noticed Tom's motionless, idling car and approached cautiously. "Are you okay?" they asked as they opened the vehicle door.
"I'm feeling kind of weird," Tom replied. And then he collapsed towards them.
Paramedics arrived within minutes, and Tom was vaguely aware of being moved from his car to an ambulance, which transported him to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Read the rest of this entry »
October 9th, 2012
"First onboard and seated on the aisle, I watched my fellow passengers as they slowly filled the small regional jet. I was struck by how many of them limped, used walking devices, lugged oxygen tanks, or had skin conditions. It took me a moment to comprehend why. Then it came to me â€“ we were headed to Rochester, Minnesota, home of the Mayo Clinic. We were pilgrims making our way to the American equivalent of Lourdes, seeking clarity and cure.
The thought of our collective destination suddenly caused me some anxiety. I was headed to Mayo for a different purpose. I had been invited to speak on global perspectives on primary care reform and innovation. This was a task I had accomplished successfully hundreds of times in dozens of countries. My anxiety arose from uncharacteristic doubts that I may not be up to the assignment. Who was I to offer insights and advice at the medical Mecca to which politicians, royalty, and the wealthy flocked for treatment?
I need not have worried. The evening of my arrival, I shared a delightful dinner with old friends like Rob Nesse and several other Mayo family physicians and residents. Their warm welcome set the tone that was to typify my visit. During my 24 hours in Rochester, I began to understand the reasons for Mayoâ€™s success and mystique. While the Mayo system is very large with lots of intelligent people and considerable resources, I have been to other institutions with similar attributes. What makes Mayo special is that it has nurtured a culture of collaboration that few other multi-specialty polyclinics have achieved. There was an atmosphere of openness, humility, and shared vision that I have observed rarely in other academic health centers. Mayo has created a sense of team centered on the needs and experiences of the patient."
Read the rest of the blog post fromÂ World Organization of Family Doctors President Richard RobertsÂ here.
March 1st, 2012
Esophageal cancer took Jorge Rivera, 47, by surprise. An auto loan manager and a father of three, he had a full life and a passion for performing sacred music with his family.
Rivera, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, had â€śthe usualâ€ť heartburn symptoms from what he describes as a typical Puerto Rican diet. But a routine endoscopy showed precancerous cells in the esophagus. Cancer cells were found in the sphincter (valve between esophagus and stomach) and in the stomach.
Suddenly, Rivera needed to make decisions about major surgery and cancer treatment.