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Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff


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The Team Behind Team Lola

Most 13-year-old girls wouldn't see having a scar down the middle of their chests as cool. Lola Montilla, however, is not your average 13-year-old girl. When she looks at the scar on her chest from the surgery she had at Mayo Clinic to repair the Ebstein’s anomaly heart defect she [...]

Created by mayoclinic

For One Couple, Expert Neurology Care Makes All the Difference

In one brief statement, Barbara Smith can sum up the impact that the staff in the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona had on her and her husband as they faced several difficult and frightening medical problems: "They are our life-changing heroes."  For 40 years, seizures were just [...]

Created by mayoclinic

Identical Twins Share Genetic Makeup, and a Kidney

When Ernesto Boleaga learned that he needed a kidney transplant, the perfect donor, his identical twin brother, Jose Luis, was ready and willing to help. And because the Boleagas have the same genetic make-up, Ernesto’s body accepted Jose Luis’ kidney as its own. For most patients, however, an identical twin [...]

Created by mayoclinic

The Decision to Save a Stranger’s Life

A patient in need of transplant touches Dr. Phil Fischer's heart and prompts him to explore living donation. As a result, a patient in need of a kidney lives on, enjoying her grandchildren, golfing and dancing.  

The shortage of deceased donor organs has reached a crisis, with almost [...]

Created by mayoclinic

Anna's Story: A Personal Approach to Cancer

At age 30, Anna Webster was a busy single mom juggling work and caring for her 11-year-old daughter. She didn’t have time to be sick. But after passing out one evening in the spring of 2009, she spent three days in a Jacksonville, Fla., emergency room while doctors tried to [...]

Created by Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss

Adventures of a 31-year-old Pancreatic Cancer Survivor

Dorylee Baez lives fearlessly. Whether flying down a zip line or organizing a pancreatic cancer patient group in Puerto Rico, she plunges into life with zest. The 31-year-old academic advisor at Universidad del Este in Carolina, Puerto Rico, is known as someone who is tenacious, overcoming whatever obstacles get in [...]

Created by Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss

Bone Marrow Transplant Saves Leukemia Patient - Max's Story

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 [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

A Young Woman's Battle Against Breast Cancer - One Day at a Time

  “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 [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Inflammatory Breast Cancer - Suzy's Story

Suzy Underhill's life took an unexpected turn less than a year ago when she discovered a large lump under her breast. She immediately went to see her gynecologist who recommended that she consult with a specialist. Suzy's good friend had told her to schedule an appointment at Mayo Clinic and [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Breast Cancer Hits Home Three Times in One Year

A mother and her three daughters – all diagnosed with breast cancer. Kathleen O’Brien shares her family’s history battling a disease which eventually took her mother’s life and now has struck three more times. Kathleen and her sisters, Angel and Brenda,  carry the BRCA gene which means they face a much [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Teamwork makes the routine extraordinary

There was no doubting the value of the team approach on the early morning of Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. In what was otherwise a fairly routine procedure — cataract removal — this time required the assistance of the ophthalmologic surgeon, [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Living with Cancer: Blessings and Hope Abound

A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating. For Robert Hoopes, a facilities manager from Glendale, Ariz., the diagnosis hit home - twice. In 2006, Kara, his wife of more than three decades, discovered that she had advanced colon cancer. After a two year battle, she sadly passed away at the [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Before and After Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) Diagnosis

Kari Ulrich, a patient with Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD), shares her story of struggles before and after being diagnosed with FMD in 2007.

Kari writes: "Looking back to my early twenties, I suspected that the symptoms I was experiencing were not something every twenty year old faced. I always looked [...]

Created by makalajohnson

Suzanne Vela: The Flu Shot Could Save Your Life

In mid-February, 2011, flu-like symptoms caused Suzanne Vela to leave work early to try to recover quickly from fatigue and a persistent cough. Several days of rest at home did not seem to improve her symptoms and Javier Vela, Suzanne's husband, decided to take her to the Mayo Clinic Hospital [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Morgan Tyner: Overcoming Brain Cancer

In the fall of 1990, Morgan Tyner experienced a moment that would change his life forever. While at work, Morgan, a newly practicing dentist, suffered a seizure. After undergoing many tests over the course of several days, he received a very serious and life threatening diagnosis – anaplastic astrocytoma – [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Living With Myelofibrosis (Part 4 of a 4 part-series)

By Patricia Wagner In this final entry, I’ll be sharing as one patient to another the complementary practices which have enhanced my total health. I am most grateful to the M.D.s who treat me, as I’m sure most of you are. I do not look to them for everything, however. [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Jill Morton: Going for the Gold

Eight years ago, Jill Morton was dying. A family history of kidney disease had finally caught up with her. Her kidneys were failing, and her body was shutting down. "I was really afraid," she says. For two long years, Morton, of Boca Raton, Fla., lived with that fear -- her [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Inspired By My Mayo Clinic Patient Experience

By: Sarah Gravina During the past few weeks, my Mayo Clinic experience has come full circle.  As a Public Affairs intern, I am able to now use my passion for Mayo Clinic from a new perspective.  My journey at Mayo Clinic began in May 2010. In February 2010, I was [...]

Created by CSMMayo

Life-saving surgery provides a second chance

Jorge Rivera raised his cell phone and took a self-portrait that showed an almost imperceptible scar on his neck. Rivera, an administrative manager at FirstBank in San Juan, Puerto Rico, underwent a new type of surgery at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, to remove his cancerous esophagus and restore his digestive [...]

Created by Susana Shephard

Mayo: My Best Hope for Treating My Rare Cancer

Mayo Clinic had already been a source of invaluable consultations for my long-time autoimmune Sjogren’s Syndrome and for genetic counseling to ascertain potential genetic predisposition for the autoimmune conditions, cardiomyopathy and cancer that populated my family tree. But late in 2008, skilled staff at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., greatly [...]

Created by CSMMayo