Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff


Not Ready to Slow Down

Published on Wed Nov 5th 9:33am

A second opinion at Mayo Clinic helped Harold Magy return to the active schedule he loves
Harold and Judy Magy enjoying a fall day in Minnesota.For years, Harold Magy was familiar with the inner workings of Mayo Clinic. As a mechanical engineer for more than two decades with a company that frequently worked with Mayo, he knew the ins and outs of many of the clinic’s complex mechanical systems in Rochester, Minnesota. But during that time, he was never a patient at Mayo, and he never thought he would be.

"I have had heart problems for a long time," says Harold. "I always took care of it with my local doctors. I didn't think about going anywhere else."

That changed in the summer of 2013. Harold's health had slowly deteriorated to a point that he had very little energy and spent most of his time at home. His wife, Judy, ultimately insisted he seek another opinion about the best treatment for his heart condition. Today, Harold is extremely grateful for his wife's persistence. Thanks to a revamped treatment plan developed by his physicians at Mayo Clinic, now at age 88, Harold has returned to working and teaching on a regular basis.

"Since I went to Mayo Clinic, I've gotten better and better," he says. "I feel mentally sharp, and I'm back to doing what I love."

Mystery Solved – Diagnosis Moves Patient from Frustration to Peace of Mind and a Plan

Published on Fri Aug 15th 3:07pm

Karen Gibson at Mayo Clinic with her husband. I want to share my story to possibly help another person and to hopefully help others who are still facing their own health unknowns.

I struggled for years with extreme fatigue, major skin problems, muscle weakness, escalating eye issues, and a host of other unexplained symptoms. I moved to Georgia with more and more symptoms. I developed relationships with new doctors and developed new symptoms – seizures and heart-related syncope. I went to see a neurologist, who began to run tests. In the meantime, I had regular quarterly blood panels by my regular physician, who upon reporting to me by phone noted no irregularities. I was told time and time again to stop chasing a diagnosis. My family continued to watch my decline.

After running numerous tests, my neurologist could only ascertain that I may have had some mini-strokes. My neurologist referred me to a major university hospital. After two visits, and being practically laughed out of the place, I began to have serious doubts about my symptoms and began to believe the many specialists and psychologists who told me it was emotional response. 

Nicole’s Journey From Nurse to Transplant Patient and Back

Published on Mon Jun 30th 9:05pm

Mayo Clinic nurse and transplant patient Nicole Jahns. When Nicole Jahns was just five months old, her parents – and her doctors – knew something was wrong. She wasn't gaining weight like a five-month-old should, and she wasn't, as her doctors put it, "thriving." They soon discovered why. Nicole had cystic fibrosis, an inherited disorder that affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices causing them to become thick and sticky rather than thin and slippery, as they should be. It's a life-threatening condition that can cause severe damage to a person's digestive system and lungs.

Though it's been challenging at times, Nicole has never allowed her condition to stop her from living her life, and she dedicated herself to caring for others as a nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. In late 2012, Nicole’s life was interrupted for six months while she waited for a double lung transplant. That transplant finally came in early May 2013, but getting there wasn't easy.

For starters, in a story in a local newspaper, one of Nicole's pulmonary physicians at Mayo Clinic, Mark Wylam, M.D., said that to simply stay on the transplant list, Nicole couldn't leave the hospital during her six-month wait for a transplant. Not even to simply have lunch or a cup of coffee with family or friends.

Second Opinion Leads to a Second Chance at Sight

Published on Tue Jun 24th 9:09am

Mayo Clinic patient Audrey Dean.Audrey Dean has been a lifelong advocate for social justice. After a notable career in social work, she earned a law degree and became senior counsel for the Alberta Human Rights Commission in 1992. At age 75, she is still arguing cases — some before the Supreme Court of Canada. “It’s fortunate that the government of Alberta doesn’t have mandatory retirement,” she says wryly.

The Alberta government had no intention of ending Audrey's career. But in 2009, it looked as if failing eyesight might. The crusading lawyer, who had always had perfect vision, began having trouble reading and driving.

She consulted with a local ophthalmologist, who diagnosed cataracts and recommended surgery to remove them. But unconvinced of the diagnosis, Audrey sought a second opinion at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

This wasn’t her first experience with Mayo Clinic. Years earlier, her husband had consulted physicians there after learning he had cancer. And she had been seen doctors at Mayo about her own hearing loss — the result of radiation therapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When she began having eye problems, she felt Mayo Clinic was the obvious choice. 

Untangling a complex medical challenge

Published on Wed Jun 4th 6:59am

Amy Supergan with family members in Sienna, Italy.Amy Supergan has battled a host of difficult and painful disorders. Now she's found a way back to enjoying her life and her family.

In the summer of 2013, Amy Supergan took a trip to Italy. That may not sound extraordinary, but there was a time when being able to travel and enjoy a vacation with her family seemed like an impossible goal.

Amy faces a range of challenging medical problems, but at the top of that list is pain so debilitating she was forced to quit her career and give up an active lifestyle. But through the care she has received at Mayo Clinic and her participation in an innovative clinical research trial, Amy has found a renewed ability to manage her pain, and enjoy friends and family when she is able.

"Although I may never ski again or be back at work, with the help of all of my doctors at Mayo, I am now able to live independently with some assistance," she says. "I have found happiness in being more relaxed and appreciating some of the smaller things in life. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on life as I did before."

Healthy Lifestyle Doesn’t Always Eliminate Risk of Heart Disease

Published on Fri May 23rd 9:41am

of 67 year-old Donald Glynn of Jacksonville, Fla., an avid runner who participated in countless marathons, half marathons and 5K races over the last 30 years.Sometimes even doing everything right to live a healthy lifestyle isn’t enough to ward off a serious illness.

Such was the case of 67-year-old Donald Glynn of Jacksonville, Fla., an avid runner who has participated in countless marathons, half marathons and 5K races over the last 30 years. He also watched his diet, weight and blood pressure, and did most of the things you’d expect of someone who led a healthy lifestyle. But Donald, who worked as a surgical assistant at Mayo Clinic in both Rochester and Florida before his retirement, neglected one thing — regular checkups. Given his family’s history of heart disease (his mother, grandmother and grandfather all had it), that turned out to be a serious mistake.

After experiencing an irregular heart rate earlier this year, Donald was shocked to learn that his arteries were severely blocked and that he’d need a heart transplant. His condition was serious enough that while waiting for a new heart, he’d need to have a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implanted to help his damaged heart function properly.

“Needless to say, given my lifestyle and being a runner for so many years, I was stunned to hear about the condition of my heart,” he says. “I thought I was doing everything right, but given my family history, it apparently wasn’t enough.”

Joyous Victory: Lung Cancer Survivor Finds Her Niche, Gives Back to Help Others

Published on Fri May 16th 1:41pm

Written by Eunice Nishimura

Eunice Nishimura at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.My journey started innocently enough as a neck strain I received while playing with my daughter’s golden retriever in October 2010. As the year ended, the discomfort had increased, and I sought out my physician in January 2011. He set up appointments for MRI and MRA exams. Once done, I quickly ended up at a level I Trauma Center, where I was diagnosed with a tumor on my C3 spine. The full diagnosis was stage IV non-small cell lung cancer with spine and lymph node metastases. The lung tumor was inoperable due to its proximity to the pulmonary aorta. Within 48 hours, the lymph node was removed, and I began radiation on the spine tumor, which lasted 3 weeks.

During that period, a cousin in Southern California suggested I contact Mayo Clinic in Arizona for a second opinion and gave me the name of Dr. Helen Ross.  I had my consultation with Dr. Ross on Feb. 7.

From our first meeting with Dr. Ross, both my husband and I developed a trust and respect for her that continues to this day. Dr. Ross presents a forthright, open and considered respect for me not only as a patient but also an individual. She does not sugarcoat her evaluations. She always questions what has been done in the past and then takes it one step further. 

A Healthy Assist for a Special Delivery

Published on Thu May 8th 9:35am

JoAnna Goebel refused to let diabetes stop her from welcoming a healthy baby into the world

JoAnna Goebel and baby Isabella

When soon-to-be moms find out they are pregnant, many are eager to share the happy news with loved ones. When JoAnna Goebel learned she was expecting, she got on the phone, too. One of her calls wasn't to a family member or friend, though, but rather to the Diabetes Technology Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

"I knew I needed to connect with them right away," says JoAnna. "I found out I was pregnant on March 4, and I called them on March 4."

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 19, JoAnna realized that pregnancy posed unique health challenges for her and her baby. She was focused on overcoming those challenges. And with the help of her Mayo Clinic obstetricians and staff in the Division of Endocrinology, she was able to do just that. On Oct. 24, 2013, JoAnna delivered a healthy six-and-a-half-pound baby girl, Isabella, just two weeks shy of her due date.

"I understood that being diabetic and having a baby would put me in a high-risk category," JoAnna says. "But it's not like it was back in the 80s. People often think of the movie 'Steel Magnolias.' That's not the way it is anymore. I was bound and determined to stay healthy throughout my pregnancy. The wonderful care I received at Mayo Clinic helped make that happen."

Enjoying a 'New Normal' After Epilepsy Surgery

Published on Wed Apr 30th 8:13am

Jessica Veach with husband, Colin, in Banff, Alberta.A few years ago, Jessica Veach’s life was going according to plan. She’d started her career as an elementary school teacher — a dream she'd had since she was 8 years old — and was settling into married life with her husband, Colin. Jessica was also successfully managing epilepsy, which she had been diagnosed with during her freshman year at Vanderbilt University.

But in 2010, something changed.

“After 10 years of having my seizures under control with medication, they came back with a vengeance,” says Jessica, who lives in Seattle. What had been occasional simple partial seizures were now frequent complex partial seizures. Soon, Jessica was forced to take a medical leave from teaching. She had to give up driving and many of the activities she loved. And the unpredictability of her seizures, as well as the exhaustion that set in after a seizure, limited the time she was able to spend with friends.

"Giving up my independence was very difficult," she says. "I was limited to places within walking distance, or I had to rely on friends for rides."

Even with the precautions she took, Jessica faced risks. One day while Colin was at work, she fell down a flight of stairs during a seizure. “I started to be scared to do anything on my own, because I never knew when a seizure might happen,” she says. “I decided it was time to explore all of my treatment options.”

My Story - Lorrie Schroder

Published on Sat Mar 15th 1:15pm

I have been going to Mayo Clinic since 1985. When I was 6 years old, a doctor gave me an injection into left buttocks of Terramycin, and within minutes my left lower leg was paralyzed (motor and sensory). Terramycin is very acidic. After six months, I was able to walk. Sensation returned, but I was left with a foot drop due to the paralysis of the anterior tendon. I had my foot fused in 1985 at Mayo, and due to left ankle, I overuse my right hip. I have been receiving treatment for my hip since 2001. I have received excellent treatment from

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