June 28th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
When Randy Marlow checked into Mayo Clinic Hospital's Saint Marys Campus, he knew his hospital stay would be lengthy. He just wasnât expecting it to last one year, seven months and 21 days.
As someone who needed dual heart and liver transplants, Randy knew the probability of two suitable donor organs becoming available at the same time was small. Moreover, his rare blood type, coupled with a buildup of antibodies from multiple blood transfusions related to prior heart surgeries, meant he would be incompatible with all but 10 to 20 percent of organ donors, according to his physicians.
So Randy, an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed snowmobiling back home in the Colorado Rockies, riding his ATV, and camping, shifted his perspective from action to endurance.
Patience became the operative word. "You have to take it day by day and wait for that right day, for the miracle," Randy says.Â [...]
June 26th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
When stroke survivor R. Brady Johnson first visited Mayo Clinic nearly nine years ago, his doctors didn't quite know what to make of him. Not only was his stroke, at age 31, unusual, but his post-stroke physicality surprised the team of neurologists he'd come to see.
It had been just over a year since Brady, who lives in Belvedere, Illinois, had a majorÂ stroke during a surgery to mitigate a cerebral hemorrhage. The stroke cost him the sensation in his right side, the ability to speak, to run, and a litany of other abilities. Yet, in the time between the stroke and visiting Mayo, the former senior airman for the U.S. Air Force and marathon runner had managed to coax his body to do things that his rehabilitation team initially said would be impossible.
June 25th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
Jackson Fisher went to lacrosse practice after school and was exhausted afterward. He'dÂ had worsening headaches, double vision, nausea and weight lossÂ over the previous two weeks. So the next day, his parents took him to the emergency room. There, the doctor ordered a CT scan, which showed a large mass in his brain.
JacksonÂ was immediately take by helicopter from Des Moines, Iowa, where his family lives, to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The next day he had surgery to relieve pressure in his brain and biopsy the tumor.
âWe told his neurosurgeon, Dr. Daniels [David Daniels, M.D., Ph.D.], and oncologist, Dr. Rao [Amulya Nageswara Rao, M.B.B.S.], âWhatever you need to do, do it,ââ say Jacksonâs parents, Michelle and Patrick Fisher. âItâs Mayo ClinicÂ â we brought him to the experts to help him. We said, 'Heâs your child now.' And we handed Jackson over to them.âÂ [...]
June 18th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
When David R. Daugherty, M.D., was growing up in Rochester, he walked to Central Junior High School with his father, Guy Daugherty, M.D., a Mayo Clinic cardiologist.
"Since our school was on dadâs way to the clinic, he made a tradition of walking with each of us kids when we reached junior high age," says Dr. Daugherty, when went on to join Mayo Clinic himself, as a psychiatrist. "We checked our progress by the bells in the Plummer Building. Hearing the chimes helped us get to school on time."
That youthful memory led to an idea: Could the carillon have a set of chimes that are unique to Mayo Clinic?Â [...]
June 17th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
Successfully finishing a medical residency is a significant milestone in any physician's career. But when Natalie Ertz-Archambault, M.D., graduated in June 2016 from the Internal Medicine Residency at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, the achievement felt particularly sweet.
"It was an incredible success for me, since I actually started my residency in 2012, completed four months, and then became too ill to work," she says. "At that time, I wasn't sure if I'd ever reach graduation."
June 15th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
In time, however, the condition began to affect his daily life. Medication didn't seem to help. When Jim sought care at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, his doctor discovered an underlying heart disorder that had gone undiagnosed.
Doctors were able to address his heart problems with a procedure called cardiac catheter ablation.
Today Jim's heart is still in rhythm. The rest of his life picked up the beat. [...]
June 9th, 2016 · 1 Comment
Deciding to undergo a surgery to remove your colon is not a decision to be taken lightly, but it was one that Luis Coriano faced earlier this year. And he and his family wanted to make sure they made the right call.
Luis is affected by a rare genetic disorder called familial adenomatous polyposis that causes thousands of polyps to grow in the colon and ultimately leads to cancer. He knew that a prophylactic surgery to remove the diseased organ was the only way to prevent cancer from ravaging his body.
As daunting as the surgery was, however, more worrisome to Luis, was what came after the surgery. Namely, living with a stoma and an ostomy bag.Â [...]
June 4th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
"I told my doctor that if he had to cut my spinal cord and put me in a wheelchair to get rid of the pain, that's what I would do," Gary says.
Fortunately, that was not necessary. Instead, Gary found and enrolled in a clinical research trial at Mayo Clinic studying the effectiveness of a new technology to relieve nerve pain such as his. It made a tremendous difference. "I never imagined my legs feeling this good again," he says. "The study was a godsend for me." [...]
May 31st, 2016 · Leave a Comment
People often don't hear the phrase, "You are the most important person in my life today," especially from those other than family. However, Leslie Milde, M.D., has heard it often â from her patients. She is well aware of the significance of her role in the operating room, and the apprehension felt by patients about to undergo surgery.
Now the tables are turned, and as one of the first five patients undergoing proton beam therapy at the newly opened Mayo Clinic Building inÂ Phoenix, Dr. Milde, former chair of Mayo's Department of Anesthesiology in Arizona, is relying on key people in her own life â the team of specialists treating her spinal meningioma, a condition where tumors arise from the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. [...]
May 29th, 2016 · 1 Comment
Just six months ago, every step for Amarachi Austin-Okoh was filled with pain. The 11-year-old from Nigeria had enough trouble walking. Things like running, playing tag or playing basketball seemed like a dream. But now they're things she can look forward to, thanks to a life-changing trip to Mayo Clinic.
Amarachi has a condition called Blount's disease. Her mother, Modesther Austin-Okoh, says the family discovered the condition with Amarachi was just two years old.
Todd Milbrandt, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon atÂ Mayo Clinic Children's Center, describes Blount's disease as "a failure of the growth plate to grow on the inside of the knee, specifically, the top part of the tibia." In Amarachi's case, her disease progressed to the point where she had severely bowed legs.
"We wish we could have seen her walk and be like other children," her mother says. "We were always crying for her."Â [...]
May 23rd, 2016 · 1 Comment
Sherry, then 39, ran daily. Exercise was important to her. After all, sheâd made it her career. She was a professor of physical therapy at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and a research collaborator at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. She spends her days teaching students and patients about the power of exercise and its impact on cardiovascular health.
Climbing out of bed on this morning, though, she recalls feeling âoff.â Although she initially shrugged off that feeling, she would quickly realize this was the first of several signs something more serious was in play.Â [...]
May 21st, 2016 · Leave a Comment
Jim Biles, M.D., understands cancer treatment. A urologist who specializes in cancer surgery, he has spent his career focused on helping people receive the cancer care they need. So at age 72, when Dr. Biles received his own diagnosis of an aggressive type of cancer, he knew how critical it would be to get treatment from someone with experience and expertise.
"When I found out I had a bone tumor, I started hunting around to see who could do the surgery. It turned out that there are very few people in the world I would trust with it," he says. "Not many do it, and even fewer have the experience that Dr. Sim does. He is the kingpin."
Dr. Sim is Franklin Sim, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic's Rochester, Minnesota, campus. After a consultation with Dr. Sim, Jim decided to go through with a complex surgery at Mayo to treat his cancer.
"Being a doctor, I was pretty picky about all the details being well managed," he says. "It was exceptional. I really couldn't have had a better experience."Â [...]
May 19th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
For years, Lucy Lorden suffered from an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath. But one April morning in 2014, the Ormond Beach, Florida, elementary school teacher was barely able to walk from the parking lot to her classroom.
Thinking she had pneumonia, Lucy, then 56, went to see her primary care doctor. âThe doctor told me to go to the emergency room right away,â she recalls. âMy heart was beating at 192 beats per minute.â
At the local hospital, doctors diagnosed Lucy with atrial fibrillation, a condition in which the upper heart chambers, the atria, beat irregularly.
Lucy visited a local cardiologist, who prescribed several medications to regulate her rapid heartbeat and her thyroid levels. He advised follow-up every three months and once she turned 60, blood thinners to prevent a stroke. Unfortunately, just a few months shy of her 57th birthday, she would need more than simple follow-up. [...]
May 16th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
When 67-year-old Stefan Gyorkos of St. Augustine, Florida, noticed swelling in his feet several years ago, he didn't think much of it. After all, as chef at a local golf and country club, he is on his feet for hours at a time.
That seemingly innocent ailment, however, would eventually lead to a series of tests and ultimately a diagnosis of a rare disease known as amyloidosis for which he required a bone marrow transplant at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus.
Amyloidosis occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in the organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that is usually produced in the bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ in the body. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure. While there's no cure for the disease, the symptoms often can be managed, reducing the production of amyloid protein.Â [...]
May 13th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
By Lee Aase
I got the news early yesterday in an email from the Cowansâ daughter, DeDe Shour:
One of the last questions a week ago my Dad asked me was, "Do you think there will be a piano in heaven I can play?" (Of course our Dad could never pass up a piano without playing it). I told him I was certain there was something similar to a piano but much more glorious and that I was sure he would be joining with the angels playing it for the Lord.
So if you happen to hear some rag-time music floating through the air, smile....cause it's just our dad playing the piano as he brings joy to those who have gone before him.
Mr. Cowan certainly brought joy to millions while he was here. So with DeDeâs permission, I want to share some memories of Marlow and also let you remember (or see for the first time) for yourself.Â [...]
May 10th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
Before 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 fiancĂ©e, 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.Â [...]
May 9th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
For six months, Chad Thompson slept sitting up to ease debilitating headaches caused by a tumor growing on a nerve in his head. Now, after a successful surgery at Mayo Clinicâs Florida campus in March, the 40-year-old Jacksonville resident is having conversations with friends and co-workers that he never expected.
âPeople keep asking, âWhen are you going to have that surgery,ââ says Chad, a married father of three children and an executive at an aerospace company. âTheyâre shocked when I say, âI already had it,â and Iâm not sure they believe me.â
The reason for this response is that he has no visible scars from the operation, which his surgeon, John Casler, M.D., performed with help from the Anatomage âvirtual dissectionâ machine in the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center.Â [...]
April 22nd, 2016 · Leave a Comment
For years, puzzling symptoms and a troubling medical condition had stalked their family. Growing up in Taiwan, Vivian was athletic and seemed to be healthy. However, she began to lose strength in her early 30s and went to the doctor with her father, Paul. Vivian was told she had a heart condition. "But no one really explained the problem to me," she says.
At first, Vivian was able to dismiss the symptoms. She even competed in a triathlon at age 40. But as she watched another member of her family struggle with symptoms she recognized in herself, her own condition became harder to ignore.
Over time, Vivian's symptoms had taken hold of her life, affecting her daily activities. She was not able to talk for more than 30 seconds without losing breath. While eating dinner, Vivian would often have to lie down for half an hour before returning to her meal because she would become so tired and lightheaded. Vivian's fear of having arrhythmia attacks also hindered her social life.
"I was afraid to go out on my own even to take a simple walk in the park," she says. "I didn't dare do that by myself."Â [...]
April 13th, 2016 · 1 Comment
Camden Christopherson is an athlete: volleyball, basketball, softball, cross-country. She does them all. So when doctors told her, at age 13, that she had to wear a brace for 22 hours a day to combat scoliosis, and surgery to fuse her spine was likely in her future, Camden was devastated.
These treatments could help correct the severe spinal curve that had developed quickly during a growth spurt, her doctors said. But Camden didn't want to give up her flexibility and freedom of movement. And her mother, Teresa Christopherson, wasn't ready to accept that a brace and fusion surgery were her daughter's only choices.
"I wanted a second opinion," Teresa says. "I wasn't going to go forward based on one recommendation, so we went to Mayo."
At Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, mother and daughter met A. Noelle Larson, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, who discussed another possibility with them: anterior vertebral body tethering, or VBT, a new surgery for scoliosis that doesn't involve fusing vertebrae together. It was just the answer they needed.Â [...]
April 10th, 2016 · Leave a Comment
For 33-year-old Tara Brigham of Jacksonville, Florida, living with a heart condition since birth wasn't something that was going to get in the way of living an active normal life. In fact, she says the heart transplant she received six years ago as a result of her condition has made her life even more fulfilling.
A Minnesota native, Tara was diagnosed with enlargement of the heart during a routine checkup when she was 1 year old. While she had not had any symptoms of a heart problem since birth, the enlargement was significant enough that her physician at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus suggested that a biopsy of her heart should be done right away. She was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body to vital organs.
Tara's heart was monitored closely by her doctors at Mayo Clinic and later a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy specialist at the University of Minnesota. Since Tara was an active, healthy child otherwise, and what was known about her condition in children was limited, she was not put on medication, but doctors advised that she avoid strenuous activities.Â [...]