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 · 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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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Tue, Jul 29 7:57pm · View  

A New Approach to a Difficult Cancer Diagnosis

Tom Peroulas returns to coaching after surgery for a rare cancer.

At age 39, Tom Peroulas was active and fit. Coaching and playing rugby, biking to work in downtown Chicago, and exercising daily kept him in good shape. So when he started noticing pain in his leg, groin and hip, he thought it was probably related to activity. He tried stretching and yoga. He rested it. He worked with a physical therapist. Nothing helped.

After several months of persistent pain, Tom turned to his doctor, who referred him to a specialist in orthopedics. By the time he turned 40, in April 2013, tests revealed the startling reason for his discomfort: an uncommon kind of cancer called chondrosarcoma that begins in the cartilage around bones. The cancer was affecting Tom's hip socket, or acetabulum. But although the source of the pain had become clear, the best way to deal with it had not.

Faced with a wide range of surgical options, Tom dove into researching his choices. After an exhaustive search that had him talking with physicians as far away as Canada and Europe, he decided to go to Mayo Clinic. Using a unique technique for hip reconstruction, the orthopedic surgery Tom had at Mayo allowed him to return to his life with the cancer removed and chances good that he won't need another reconstruction in the future.  [...]

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Bonni (@gemie1) responded:

I am surprised that Dr. Lewallen pioneered a hip replacement made from tantalum. Did he work on the material or did he already use an existing product and found a new use for it? I will say that my experience with Dr. Lewallen was very negative. My case was complex and my care was not adequate. Without going into the details, I had to go and see an Orthopedic Surgeon at the Hospital For Special [...]

Posted Tue, Jul 29 at 7:57pm CDT · View
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Hoyt Finnamore (@hoytfinnamore) posted · Wed, Jul 16 5:06pm · View  

Air Ambulance Ride Confirms Family’s Gratitude for Mayo Clinic

Brandon and Becky Mauck, with their children. Growing up in South Dakota, Brandon Mauck had heard stories about the famous medical institution surrounded by cornfields in Rochester, Minnesota. Mayo Clinic's reputation inspired him to become part of the Mayo organization, and for the past four years, he has been working in the Department of Nursing at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. What he perhaps wasn't expecting is how strongly his beliefs about the organization would be confirmed through his personal experience and that of his young family.

Recently, Brandon wrote to Mayo Clinic's president and CEO, John Noseworthy, M.D., to recount a personal story that confirmed his pride in Mayo. “I must say that I never imagined that I would be so well cared for by my employer," he writes. "I feel it is vitally important to say ‘thank you’ and make sure you all know how grateful I am.”

It all started in late 2013, at a family gathering in North Dakota in 2013. Brandon had traveled there with his wife, Becky, and two daughters, Annastyn, then 3, and Maci, then 2. Just a few hours after their arrival for the festivities, Becky, who was 29 weeks pregnant, went into premature labor.

“Being in rural North Dakota and three hours away from trusted medical care was quite distressing,” Brandon says. [...]

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