Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff


May 10th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Love and Determination Help Brennan Get Back on His Feet in Time to Walk Down the Aisle

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

BrennanFarley805Before 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 fiancée, 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.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Critical Care, Emergency Department, General Surgery, Rehabilitation, Trauma

October 19th, 2015 · 10 Comments

Sidelined No More – Scrambler Therapy Puts Tess Wilson Back in Action

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Tess Wilson is enjoying life again after scrambler therapy helped her chronic pain. 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 a clinical research trial 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.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: chronic pain, clinical trials, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Scrambler Therapy

December 19th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Operating Room (OR) 10 and Dr. Charles William Mayo

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

 Read time: 5 minutes
Elaine Stewart poses in front of a painting of Dr. Charles W. Mayo.

Elaine Stewart poses in front of a painting of Dr. Charles W. Mayo.

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 member’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 didn’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 — that’s the kind of person he was.

“Dr. Chuck” is what everyone called him, but I always just called him “Doctor.” As time passed, I did get to know him well. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Charles W Mayo, Employee Story, Mayo Clinic history

June 30th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Nicole’s Journey From Nurse to Transplant Patient and Back

By Hoyt Finnamore HoytFinnamore

Mayo Clinic nurse and transplant patient Nicole Jahns. When Nicole Jahns was just five months old, her parents – and her doctors – 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 as a nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. In late 2012, Nicole’s life was interrupted for six months while she waited for a 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 her 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 »

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Tags: cystic fibrosis, Dr Mark Wylam, lung transplant, nursing, Patient Stories, transplant

April 18th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Atlanta to Jacksonville: Short travel for answers from Mayo Clinic

By Makala Johnson MakalaJohnson

Diane McIverDiane McIver’s first visit to Mayo Clinic mixed health care with pleasure – 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 “a fabulous mini vacation combining our health care with an activity we both love!” exclaimed McIver. 

Their first visit was around 10 years ago at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale but since they live in Atlanta, Mayo Clinic’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. “The people who work at Mayo Clinic are absolutely the friendliest, nicest, and most professional team I have ever been associated with,” says McIver. 

With their Mayo Clinic care team, the McIvers are typically able to get all of their necessary exams done during the day and walk away with their test results at the end of the day. Through Mayo Clinic’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.

“Our schedules are extremely busy in regards to our career…taking a one-hour flight to visit Jacksonville is the best time we could spend in regards to our health," says Diane.  Our experience at Mayo Clinic takes health care to another level that all people should experience if possible.”

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Tags: Diane McIver, Executive Health Program

December 26th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

“I wanted to do something for myself”

By Margaret Shepard Margaret_Marie

Heidi before and after surgery

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 »

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Tags: cosmetic surgery, Heidi Hockel, Matthew Clark PhD, Nho Tran, Oren Friedman, plastic surgery

December 14th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

A midsummer morning’s luck

By Margaret Shepard Margaret_Marie

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 — 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 »

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Tags: brainstem stroke, Dr. Chong, Dr. Demaerschalk, Dr. Hoxworth, endovascular surgery, Matthew Clark PhD, Tom Halverstadt

October 9th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

A Family Doctor’s View of Mayo Clinic

By Makala Johnson MakalaJohnson

"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 – 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 Mayo’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 from World Organization of Family Doctors President Richard Roberts here.

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Tags: Matthew Clark PhD, president, Richard Roberts, WONCA, World Organization of Family Doctors

March 1st, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Singing Praise After New Esophageal Cancer Treatment

By Stacy Theobald stacytheobald

Jorge RiveraEsophageal 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 “the usual” 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.

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Tags: Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Jorge Rivera

December 23rd, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Christmas Miracle: Woman sings opera with new teeth and jaw

By Makala Johnson MakalaJohnson

After this opera singer noticed something on her chin and asked her dentist to take an x-ray, they found an ossifying fibroma that had taken over all of her lower jaw. Susan Taborn needed to have her entire lower jaw and most of her bottom teeth removed. Mayo Clinic doctors and surgeons used her fibula to construct a new jaw. Susan now received a new set of bottom teeth, just in time for Christmas! Watch her inspiring story below:

Listen to her singing here:

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Tags: "ossifying fibroma", "Susan Taborn", artery, dentist, fibula, jaw, leg, Matthew Clark PhD, opera, sing, Teeth

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