Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

April 23rd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

A Long Journey to a Seizure-Free Life

By Hoyt Finnamore

Kate Seifert send her neurologist a photo from Kilimanjaro to show him that she'd gotten her life back.In December 2014, Gregory Cascino, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, received a photo of a former patient. Kate Seifert was standing at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, almost 20,000 feet above sea level, at the mountain’s Uhuru Peak. The photo was accompanied by a note from Seifert’s mother.

“We will be forever grateful for the miracle you and everyone at Mayo Clinic gave to Kate and our family,” wrote Karen Seifert.

The story of that miracle begins 20 years earlier, when Kate, then a high school student in Appleton, Wisconsin, began having seizures. “I had my first complex seizure in the middle of a basketball game,” she says. “I was on my way back to the bench and fell on the ground shaking.” After a visit to the emergency department and an appointment with her primary care physician, Kate was referred to a neurologist. She was diagnosed with epilepsy.

Initially, the diagnosis had seemed to come without warning. But as Kate learned more about the condition, she realized she had been having partial seizures for several months.

“I’d have episodes where I’d feel like someone else was controlling my thoughts, or times where the corners or a wall would look huge, but the rest of the wall would look normal,” Kate says. “My mom had wanted to take me to a psychiatrist.” As the family’s epilepsy education began, they realized these episodes were sensory seizures. Soon, Kate would be having those seizures daily.  [...]

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Tags: Dr. Gregory Cascino, Dr. Richard Marsh, Epilepsy, Neurology & Neurosurgery, seizures

April 21st, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Living Kidney Donations Save Two Lives in the Same Family Years Apart

By Paul Scotti

TammyStelly805Receiving a donor kidney from an anonymous deceased donor is a gift of life to anyone in need of a transplant.  Receiving an organ donation from a living family member is extra special, when you consider the risks and sacrifices associated with making that choice.

Tammy Stelly, a 46-year-old retired postal worker from Middleburg, Florida, experienced that special gift when her brother-in-law was found to be a compatible match and became her living kidney donor.

“I was overwhelmed that he offered to be tested as a possible match,” says Tammy. “I never imagined that we might actually be a compatible match.”

Tammy isn’t the first member of her family to have kidney disease, nor was she the first to receive a kidney transplant from a living donor who also is a family member. One of her relatives received a kidney from his daughter many years ago, and lived another 17 years before passing away due to unrelated causes.  [...]

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Tags: Florida Campus, kidney transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center

April 15th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Roman’s Road to a Second Birthday

By Hoyt Finnamore

Anna Ryabova and Oleg Pecherskii, with their sons, Sergei and Roman.Faced with losing their newborn son, Anna and Oleg, searched far and wide for an answer. They found it and a new birthday for their son at Mayo Clinic.

After an ultrasound at 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Anna Ryabova, along with her husband, Oleg Pecherskii, faced a grim prognosis for their unborn son.

"The doctors in Russia told us his kidneys were very small, that they had not developed according to his gestational age, and that he would likely die within five days of his birth," Anna says.

But Roman miraculously survived, and on the 10th day, he was moved to one of Moscow children's hospital, where there was a nephrology department.

There, a nephrologist told to Anna and Oleg that Roman's condition would lead to a number of disabilities: he would have difficulty walking, as well as problems with his hearing, vision and mental development. Oleg asked doctors there about kidney transplant as a possibility for Roman. They answered that it was not a good idea and that children under five years had little chance of survival, in Russia especially. Instead, doctors suggested peritoneal dialysis.

"Nevertheless, we did not lose hope and were determined to do everything for our little son to get him out of disease. We staunchly believed in the best, and today we can say that our grit was rewarded by our very active and cheerful boy," Anna says.  [...]

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Tags: Dr James Gloor, Dr Mikel Prieto, kidney transplant, Mayo Clinic Transplant Center

April 1st, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Dialysis Patient Stays Active, Sets New Life Goals While Awaiting a Kidney Transplant

By Paul Scotti

Mayo Clinic patient, 57 year-old Jim McGarry of Fruit Cove, Florida, a diagnosis of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) that has required him to go on dialysis three days a week while he awaits a donor kidney hasn’t gotten him down.

Mayo Clinic patient Jim McGarry says a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease that has required him to go on dialysis three days a week while he awaits a donor kidney hasn’t gotten him down.

If you’re diagnosed with a serious illness, it can be easy to get down and wonder why this is happening to you and how will it affect your future goals and dreams. For 57-year-old Jim McGarry of Fruit Cove, Florida, a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease that has required him to go on dialysis three days a week while he awaits a donor kidney hasn’t gotten him down. If anything, it’s given him the motivation to push himself to set and achieve new life goals.

“Finding out I had kidney disease in 2012, after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 years earlier, was a wake-up call for me about how I was living my life,” says Jim. “I used to travel a lot, didn’t eat right, and didn’t get enough exercise, but that all changed once I realized I needed to deal with my health issues. Then I started to make some much-needed changes to regain my health and re-evaluate the priorities in my life.”

[...]

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Tags: Dr Floyd Willis, Dr Peter Fitzpatrick, Florida Campus, kidney disease, kidney transplant, patient story

March 31st, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Strong Advice From a Colorectal Cancer Patient

By Hoyt Finnamore

Mike Woellert does the hashtag StrongArmSelfie pose with his doctor, Eric Dozois, M.D., a Mayo colorectal surgeon.

Mike Woellert, right, does the #StrongArmSelfie pose with his doctor, Eric Dozois, M.D., a Mayo colorectal surgeon.

Mike Woellert had heard people talk about colonoscopies. He didn’t hesitate, and it may have saved his life. 

Friday, March 27, marked the one-year anniversary of Michael Woellert’s colorectal cancer diagnosis. It’s a day he and his wife, Malissa, remember all too well.

“I was one of the last people to be called from the waiting room after Mike’s colonoscopy,” Malissa recalls. “I sensed something was wrong.” A nurse brought Malissa to Mike’s room, and the two of them, while viewing the ultrasound video in which a mass could clearly be seen, were told it was colorectal cancer.

The conversation was anything but clinical, however. “The doctor who had done the procedure, was tearing up while informing us of the results,” Malissa says. “I felt compassion all around me at that moment.”

Mike tried to lighten the mood with a joke. But Malissa says that even so, after hearing the diagnosis, she felt as if she had been kicked in the chest. She tried to contain her emotions, but felt the need to step out of the room momentarily to regain composure, knowing she wanted to return and provide support to Mike.  [...]

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Tags: Colonoscopy, colorectal surgery, Dr Eric Dozois, StrongArmSelfie, colorectal cancer

March 27th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

An Unexpected Stop in Lake City Provides Comfort and a Smooth Transition Home

By Hoyt Finnamore

Bob Boehmer connects with his care team in Rochester via a telemedicine link. Gail and Bob Boehmer recall driving through Lake City, Minnesota, many times on their way to northern Wisconsin, where they first met. Neither of them ever imagined the town on Lake Pepin would become a home away from home.

The Waterloo, Iowa, couple recently spent six weeks in Lake City. It wasn’t something they’d planned. But then life happened. And after three helicopter rides and multiple surgeries at Mayo Clinic, Bob found himself in need of just the kind of healing environment Mayo Clinic Health System in Lake City offers through the Mayo Transitional Care program. The program provides patients recovering from major illness or surgery with transitional nursing care and therapy until they’re ready to go back home.

Although uncertain at first, the Boehmers say Lake City’s connection with Mayo Clinic not only helped Bob heal but also eased their minds and lifted their spirits.  [...]

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Tags: cardiac surgery, Cardiovascular Diseases, Dr Peter Noseworthy, Dr Steven Moran, Dr Thomas Bower, Lake City, telemedicine, Transitional Care

March 23rd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

From 'Shock' to Hope – Young Woman Shares Her Breast Cancer Journey

By Hoyt Finnamore

Dawn DeCook-Gibson shares her story of breast cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic.. In her early 30s and with “a wonderful child, wonderful husband and a great career,” Dawn DeCook-Gibson says the last thing she expected was a breast cancer diagnosis. Following the initial shock of the news, Dawn, from Chandler, Arizona, sought out doctors at Mayo Clinic and was guided through her treatment and recovery by Donald Northfelt, M.D., her oncologist, and Barbara Pockaj, M.D., her surgeon.

“I was diagnosed with stage 2b lobular carcinoma breast cancer last year,” she says. “I was in shock … everything just seemed like it was perfect, and then the diagnosis came in. Honestly, it stopped me in my tracks.”

One of her family members had received care at Mayo’s Arizona campus and recommended that Dawn do the same. “She was adamant that I go to Mayo Clinic,” Dawn says.  [...]

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Tags: Arizona Campus, Breast Cancer, Dr Barbara Pockaj, Dr Donald Northfelt, mastectomy

March 20th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Battling Colon Cancer at an Unexpected Age

By Hoyt Finnamore

Kelly Barnard, diagnosed with colon cancer at age 19, poses for a strong arm selfieThe majority of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50. Kelly Barnard was just 19 years old when she got an unwelcome Valentine’s Day surprise. Her stomach pain turned out to be something much more serious.

Among cancer's many negative qualities is the seemingly indiscriminate way the disease manifests itself. Cancer doesn’t care what your race, gender or ethnicity is. It doesn't care about your profession where you live or your family situation. And it doesn't necessarily care about your age. Just ask Kelly Barnard.

Kelly's cancer story began when she was just 19 years old. Then a freshman at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, she began feeling intense stomach pain one day in her dorm room. And while she tells the Duluth Tribune she'd "felt some little twinges of pain" in her stomach before, those were nothing like the pain she felt just before Valentine's Day 2013. "It was horrendous," she tells the newspaper. "I couldn't walk. I couldn't move."  [...]

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Tags: colorectal cancer, colorectal surgery, Dr Robert Cima, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, StrongArmSelfie

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