Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore)

Mayo Clinic Department of Public Affairs. Editor, Sharing Mayo Clinic and In the Loop. 

Activity by Hoyt Finnamore

Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Wed, Oct 15 1:17pm · View  

Learning to Hear Again

Mayo Clinic patient Scott Malmstrom discussed the cochlear implant process. There are certain sounds that Scott Malmstrom had never known. He was born with hearing impairment, and it gradually got worse throughout his life. By fourth grade, he began experimenting with hearing aids. Over time, he became what he calls a “professional lip reader.”

Hearing aids didn’t help much with the type of hearing loss Scott had. “Where he struggled was speech discrimination – being able to recognize and understand what's being said,” he says. “That's where they eyes take over. That's what I've done over many years and became very good at it.”

But his diminished hearing did keep him from experiencing certain things, and he says it affected his communication with those he loved. Today, through the magic of cochlear implants, Scott is hearing new things and experiencing life in a way he hadn’t quite imagined.  [...]

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Mon, Oct 6 11:14am · View  

“I Feel Like Me Again”

Carly Edgar poses with her dog, Merc, after her time at Mayo Clinic. Carly Edgar faced a mystery illness, the baffling effects of a rare autoimmune disease, and the prospect of reconstructive surgery, but she found hope and help at Mayo Clinic.

In January 2013, Carly Edgar, an otherwise healthy 20-something, found herself in the hospital and in severe pain. The pain seemed to originate from near one of her ribs, but her local doctors couldn’t identify the source. She spent a week in the hospital without any answer. She was released, but it wasn’t long until she was back again.

Carly rated her pain at 10 on a 10-point scale, but doctors started to doubt her symptoms. They gave her pain medicine, but they also recommended antidepressants. When her boyfriend noticed a bump forming on her nose, she was told it was likely just a pimple. After a second week in the hospital, with things only looking worse, Carly asked to be discharged, and she and her boyfriend traveled to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in search of answers.

Within a few days, Carly had her surprising answer – a rare autoimmune disease called relapsing polychondritis. The disease attacks cartilage, and it was affecting not only her ribs and her nose, but also her heart, where doctors at Mayo found inflammation. She admits that it was a difficult diagnosis, but it also gave her hope that treatment could control her symptoms.  [...]

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Mon, Sep 29 8:45am · View  

Tracking the path of a stroke

Maryel Andison remains grateful she chose to come to Mayo Clinic for care after suffering a stroke. Maryel Andison was a university communications and fundraising specialist living with her husband and children in Winnipeg when she suffered a stroke. It was a warm Sunday morning, she was watering flowers, and she was just 51 years old.

Maryel waited three days before deciding to see a doctor. By the time she was referred to a neurologist, she learned there would be more delays, including waiting for the imaging tests that would show exactly what had occurred in her brain. But instead of allowing more time to elapse, she decided to seek advice from Mayo Clinic.

Maryel's ties to Mayo go back decades. Impressed with the cancer care a friend received at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, her parents became patients there in the 1950s. As a child, Maryel remembers visiting her mother at the hospital, where a half century later her husband's daughter would be a neurosurgical resident. Now, needing care herself, she saw it as a logical choice.

Ultimately, it was also a life-saving one.  [...]

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Wed, Sep 24 8:06am · View  

Overcoming the Hospital 'Fear Factor' to Catch Cancer Early

Michael Tessmer discovered he had prostate cancer early enough to lead to successful treatment. Michael Tessmer got out of his parents' car and stared at the hospital building before him. His parents had brought him to a hospital in his home state of Iowa for the first of 14 surgeries to repair a cleft palate. Each time, young Michael would be dropped off on the front steps of the hospital, and he would not see his parents again until the hospital released him.

"I don't know if that was hospital policy or what," he says. "But I'd be down there anywhere from two weeks to a month each time, all alone."

That did little to instill trust and confidence in the medical world. In fact, it did just the opposite. "I was terrified of doctors and hospitals," Michael says. "I'm not ungrateful that they fixed me. I'm very happy they did.” But he admits it left him with questions about that approach.

So after the last of his surgeries, Michael stayed as far away from doctors, nurses and other health care providers as he could -- going in to be seen only when it was absolutely necessary. Thankfully, that changed after one of Michael's daughters decided to go to nursing school. [...]

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) replied to My VA doctor at Tripler Medical Center said I had a Cardiac [...] · Mon, Sep 22 2:30pm · View  

Hi, Richard. If you would like to seek help from Mayo Clinic, please call one of our appointment offices (Arizona: 480-301-1735 Florida: 904-953-0853 Minnesota: 507-284-2511). Unfortunately, we cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions or make specific treatment recommendations through this website.

Below are a couple links you might find helpful.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/amyloidosis/basics/definition/con-20024354

http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/cardiovascular/role-of-cardiac-mri-in-the-assessment-of-cardiac-amyloidosis

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Tue, Sep 2 2:58pm · View  

A Golden Dream

Dave and Joan Hittner pose with a historic ambulance in the Matthews Grand Lobby of the Mayo Building in Rochester.
After being diagnosed with cancer, Joan Hittner, along with her husband, David, created an organization to raise money to find a cure. Today, David and daughter Christine continue the work.

In 2011, Joan and David Hittner opened a letter from the Mayo Clinic Department of Development. Inside was a request: Would they consider donating $25 to support cancer research?

The Hittners quickly agreed that $25 wasn’t nearly enough.

“After what we’d just been through, that seemed a minuscule amount,” says David. “We started talking about what more we could do.”

The couple, from the Winona, Minnesota, area, had recently returned from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where Joan had undergone surgery to remove tumors that had encompassed her pancreas and invaded her intestines.

Joan's battle with cancer had started six years earlier. She’d gone to her doctor with what she thought was a gallbladder problem. Instead, Joan found out she had carcinoid cancer, and she was told surgery was her only treatment option. “The cancer was incurable,” says David, and “chemo and radiation wouldn’t work.” [...]

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Thu, Aug 14 4:36pm · View  

A Kidney Between Friends

Todd Goldrick, transplant patient, stops for a photo with his donor, Marty Yeager. Todd Goldrick was living the dream. Good job. Loving wife. Two young, healthy kids. Weekends spent playing golf, softball, kayaking, hiking, running or just hanging around home with the family. But that changed suddenly in 2010, when he and his wife simply tried to buy some life insurance. He was just 28.

"Mine came back straight out denied," Todd says. "They told me the reasons. There was a whole long list -- high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a few other things that I don't remember exactly."

Before that day, Todd says he'd been to see his doctor in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area "maybe every two years," so the policy denial came of left field. In fact, he says it scared him into doing nothing about it, at least initially. "I was kind of naïve and a little scared to go back to the doctor," he says. "So I didn't do anything."

Six months later, he got a sinus infection that wouldn't go away, and eventually he went to urgent care, where some flags were raised unrelated to his sinuses. "They took my blood pressure, and it was 200 over 120," he says. "At that point, they told me I needed to go to the ER."  [...]

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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Sat, Aug 16 7:56am · View  

In a moment … a poem, and a vision of hope

Photo of hands playing piano. Sometimes the only way to respond to a thing of beauty is to pour your thoughts out onto the page. And that’s what Mayo Clinic patient Jerry O’Donnell, of Waterloo, Iowa, did after being moved, perhaps even changed, by experiencing the beauty of music in the atrium of the Gonda Building on Mayo’s Rochester campus.

Over the past year, Jerry has been a regular visitor to Mayo Clinic, after being diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer located in the duodenum. It was a difficult diagnosis. “Over a short period of time, the reality of my health became more weight bearing,” he says. “Even while at Mayo, peaceful moments were difficult.”

When something like that happens, he says, your values change and things take on a new significance. Jerry found healing moments while listening to the piano in the atrium in the Gonda Building. “The piano became a refuge,” he says. “Music brought hope and connection. A larger family emerged before me as did a humbler sense of self with more gratitude for just being alive today surrounded by the treasures of my life, my family. Music like ‘It’s A Wonderful World,’ ‘Amazing Grace,’ and even ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ can change us.” [...]

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Paula Shaner (@paulashaner3) responded:

Jerry, That piano holds magical powers. My son loved/loves sitting there and "making" music. It's always been a highlight through his bone marrow transplant journey. He started at 14 mo old and is hitting the big notes at 5 yo. Love the magic music holds at Gonda.

Posted Wed, Aug 13 at 9:46pm CDT · View

bets (@bethcr) responded:

Jerry, I LOVE this poem! It says it all! But what really struck me was the line that says "walking along to find that appointment of hope" I remember that feeling so well! And "a cross section of our world walking together" How true that is. If everyone could experience the peace at the Mayo, maybe our worlds/country wouldn't be so divided. I've learned so much on my journey to find answers,but what I hold [...]

Posted Sat, Aug 16 at 7:56am CDT · View
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