Susana Shephard (@susanashephard)
Activity by Susana Shephard
In her early 20s, Erin Ayub has big plans. As a college student in El Paso, Texas, she is also a musician and aspiring writer. She had to put her plans on hold for a bit while in a medically induced coma at Mayo Clinic in Arizona due to a rare illness — anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.
Now on the road to recovery, Erin and her mom share her story in this video.
"There's something weird going on," explained the surgeon in Las Vegas, Nevada. For retired hotel executive Charles Livingston, these words signaled the start of a long journey, which began following an emergency appendectomy. He had experienced abdominal symptoms and received various diagnoses before being rushed to the operating room for a burst appendix.
Following surgery, Charles received devastating news -- he had metastatic appendiceal cancer. His local oncologist referred him to Mayo Clinic in Arizona where he met with Nabil Wasif, M.D., a surgeon, and John Camoriano, M.D., an oncologist. Charles says he was immediately struck by the genuine concern both physicians had for him as a human being.
Working together as a cancer care team, the physicians recommended a debulking surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). Charles agreed to undergo the extensive surgery and HIPEC treatment to save his life.
It's here that fiction becomes reality. Charles says that just before his cancer diagnosis, he had finished writing his novel, Gabriel's Creek. The story revolves around a man who faces learning he is terminally ill. Charles says he had never imagined that his future would hold the same challenges as the main character. He admits that there were few edits to the novel, so perhaps he was unknowingly preparing himself for what lay ahead, he says.
Watch the video below as Charles shares his story.
David Hirschy of Prescott, Arizona, has worn many hats — from record producer to chef to silversmith. In fact, his love of food made him think something was wrong a few years ago when he lost his sense of taste. He began to have other symptoms, too, which led him to Mayo Clinic in Arizona where he was diagnosed with the extremely rare Cronkhite-Canada syndrome — so rare that there have been less than 500 cases reported in the past 50 years.
In December of 2010, Antoinette discovered a large lump in her breast. Alarmed by her finding, she quickly sought medical care and was told it was benign. She felt initially reassured, but lingering doubts over the next six months eventually made her seek a second opinion. Unfortunately, those doubts became a reality as she received a devastating diagnosis – breast cancer.
Antoinette chose to start her “hopeful journey” battling breast cancer at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She met first with Barbara Pockaj, M.D., a surgeon, who spent several hours explaining the recommended surgical procedure – a double mastectomy – and gave Antoinette the knowledge needed to understand what to expect. Six months of chemotherapy under the supervision of oncologist Donald Northfelt, M.D., followed, and then six weeks of radiation therapy.
In this video, Antoinette shares her journey battling breast cancer. She comes to realize how taking one day at a time, arming yourself with knowledge, being your own patient advocate, and seeking a support system such as family, friends and care providers gave her hope in the midst of a cancer diagnosis.
As an international patient coordinator at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, I have had many opportunities to work with patients to ensure that they receive the best medical care and attention. Helping patients is our number one priority at the International Patients Center. Last year, we had a unique opportunity to reach beyond our four walls at Mayo Clinic to help make a difference for thousands of patients in Sinaloa, Mexico.
On one of his trips to Sinaloa, Mexico, Robert Ferrigni, M.D., a Mayo Clinic urologist, met Mr. Carlos Bloch, President of the Sinaloa sector of Cruz Roja Mexicana (Mexican Red Cross). Through Carlos, Dr. Ferrigni learned about the vital role the Mexican Red Cross plays including serving as first responders for emergency calls. Impressed with the services Cruz Roja provides with limited resources, Dr. Ferrigni contacted me to see if there was anything Mayo Clinic could do to help. We recognized their urgent need for medical equipment and supplies.
I then presented this idea to Mr. David Reidy, Logistics Manager/Supply Chain Management, and the ball started rolling. Mr. Reidy started the very difficult task of collecting and labeling medical equipment for the purpose of shipping to Cruz Roja Mexicana in Sinaloa, México. With the auspice of Phoenix Mexican General Consulate, Mr. Victor Trevino, the first shipment was delivered March 29th, 2012.
Dr. Ferrigni, David and I had the opportunity to travel to Los Mochis, Sinaloa to be a part of the annual festivities initiating a month long “colecta” (fundraiser) for Cruz Roja Mexicana. This experience was very humbling as the Mexican people of this region showed us their great appreciation for the donated medical equipment that would arrive shortly after our trip.
I’ve been very honored to be a Mayo Clinic employee for the last 17 years and as a Mexican National, I’m extremely proud to be a part of this very important endeavor. I call this a double blessing!
Written by Mila Vargas
Who hasn't experienced the occasional acid reflux from a particularily spicy dinner or an extra slice of pizza? Nothing that an over-the-counter pill wouldn't relieve, right?
Unfortunately, for seven long years, Shawnee Williams, suffered not a few but daily episodes of progressively worsening acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux, GERD. At only age 25, she experienced her first episode of reflux which prompted her to start taking over-the-counter medicine to relieve her occasional symptoms. But over time, these symptoms worsened even with the daily use of proton pump inhibitors. Shawnee explains how, "the burning throat was unbearable. To deal with it every day was excruciating."
At the age of eight, Max Harris overcame aplastic anemia, a condition that occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells. Successful treatment led to his recovery and several years of good health.
Years later, a visit to the dentist confirmed that his health had taken a serious turn for the worse. Severely bleeding gums during his dental exam immediately prompted Max to see his physician. The unfortunate diagnosis - acute myelogenous leukemia.
Acute myelogenous leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Upon diagnosis, Max was faced with a challenging road ahead of him - induction chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant. He shares his story of overcoming a potentially life threatening illness and how he lives his life to the fullest today.
“I think it’s cancer,” are not words that anyone, especially a 29 year old nurse recently relocated to Arizona, expects to hear.
Jennifer McGoldrick faced these words and the eventual diagnosis of breast cancer shortly after moving to Scottsdale to continue her nursing career at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She shares her journey of undergoing multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatment while still managing to continue living a normal life and working at Mayo Clinic.
Jennifer's positive attitude shows how the support of family and friends goes a long way to learning how to take life one day at time.