Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Posts (35)

Jan 2, 2015 · Becoming Whole Again After Cancer Treatment

Kristine Long, a patient at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, has had an incredible journey as a three-time Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor. In the course of her struggle, she has also overcome congestive heart failure and subsequent voice impairment.

In the video below, she explains how the care provided by her Mayo Clinic physicians, James Slack, M.D., a hematologist; D. Eric Steidley, M.D., a cardiologist; and David Lott, M.D., an otorhinolaryngologist, along with their care teams, has made her a whole person again. She also talks before and after repair to her vocal chords about what that procedure has meant to her personally and how it’s given her renewed confidence as well as giving her voice back.


Jun 26, 2014 · College Student Overcomes Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis

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.

Jun 25, 2014 · Fiction Becomes Reality: Surviving Metastatic Appendiceal Cancer

“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.


Jun 6, 2014 · Coping with a Rare Disorder: Cronkhite-Canada Syndrome

2014-06-27David 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 the following video, David and his Mayo physicians, Lucinda Harris, M.D., gastroenterologist, and Giovanni De Petris, M.D., pathologist, share his story.



Oct 14, 2013 · Antoinette Benevento: Battling Breast Cancer One Day at a Time

Antoinette Benevento performing at a dance competition.Joy, music, vibrancy and energy. Antoinette Benevento embraces the gifts of dance and shares how lessons learned as a professional dancer prepared her for her biggest challenge ahead.

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.

Jul 23, 2013 · A Double Blessing: The Mexican Red Cross Donation

Mayo Clinic urologist, Dr. Robert Ferrigni, International Patient Coordinator, Mila Vargas, and Carlos Bloch from the Mexican Red Cross gather at the Los Mochis, Mexico Delegation Office.

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

Jun 14, 2013 · Finally! Relief for Unbearable Acid Reflux: The LINX Procedure

Dr. Kristi Harold speaks with patient, Shawnee Williams, before her LINX surgery at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
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.”

Patience may be considered a virtue, although in Shawnee’s case she had exhausted all conservative measures over six long years of avoiding certain foods, taking daily medication, and still suffering from unbearable symptoms. She began researching other available treatments and came across the LINX procedure.

Shawnee decided to schedule a consultation with Kristi Harold, M.D., a general surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, to find out more about the LINX procedure. Dr. Harold explained that the treatment involves a minimally invasive procedure where a small ring of magnetic beads is inserted around the end of a patient’s esophagus. Swallowing temporarily breaks the magnetic bond between the beads, so that food can enter the stomach. Magnetic attraction then causes the beads to close so acid can’t flow into the esophagus.

Dr. Harold added that “this procedure shows promise as an option for patients who do not respond well to lifestyle changes or who want an alternative to medications. Left untreated, GERD can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, which increases the risk for esophageal cancer.”

Shawnee went ahead with the procedure and couldn’t be happier with the results. “I’m a lot better than I expected and it’s pretty amazing,” she adds. After tapering off her proton pump inhibitors over the course of two months, she is now no longer taking any medication and has only suffered one slight episode described as “a little tickle in my throat.”

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Dec 19, 2012 · Bone Marrow Transplant Saves Leukemia Patient - Max's Story

Max Harris

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.

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