Share Your Mayo Clinic Story – January 2009


We all have Mayo Clinic stories … a funny encounter, a new experience, a life changing moment…

Read the January 2009 stories here, or share your own in the current month’s open thread.

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14 Responses to “Share Your Mayo Clinic Story – January 2009”

  1. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra Says:

    The Mayo Clinic has changed my life, in more ways than one.

    A little over 3 years ago, I began having serious health issues. I had been a healthy person my entire life, and to be going through such chronic problems at age 25 was very difficult. After many doctors visits, it was determined that I suffered from Chronic Ulcerative Colitis.

    For about a year, my condition was treated by my local doctors through medication. As is the case with many people with UC, my colitis kept breaking through the medications. After being hospitalized at my local hospital, it became clear that I was going to have to consider having my colon removed– a colectomy.

    Once my wife and I made the decision to explore the possibility of a colectomy, we decided that we should research having it done at the Mayo Clinic. From the moment that I sent the very first contact email to Mayo, everyone with whom I have come in contact has been nothing less than wonderful, genuine, kind and knowledgeable.

    My wife and I first visited the doctors of Mayo in January of 2006. Arriving in Rochester in January wasn’t the best decision we’ve ever made, but going to Mayo was certainly one of the best. It became very clear from the moment we arrived that Mayo is not your average hospital, and these are not your average health care professionals. Everyone from receptionists to surgeons were absolutely wonderful. Never once did we feel ignored or unimportant.

    My surgeon, Dr. Robert Cima, was a really cool guy. Not only was he a masterful surgeon, but he had a great personality and was wonderful not only to me, but to my family as well. The folks at Mayo understand that medical issues impact not only the patient, but their family and friends as well, and they treated all of us with respect and care.

    After my first surgery at Mayo, I spent a week there. The nurses were the best I have ever come in contact with. Not once did I feel that I was in anything less than the best of hands. All of the nurses were not only expert nurses, but friendly people as well. Knowing that I was going to have to travel halfway across the country to get back home, they made sure that myself and my wife were completely prepared. After we did get home, the Mayo staff was always on the ready to help whenever we had a question.

    Due to a small infection after surgery, I had to visit my local ER after arriving home. The doctors at my local hospital (one of the best on the East Coast), were impressed at the surgical work of Doctor Cima and his staff. So much so that they actually commented on it to me.

    My visit to Mayo for my second and final surgery was just as good as the first. Once again, I experienced a level of care that is completely unrivaled. Those who visit Mayo for their regular medical care have no idea how medical care is for the rest of the country. Mayo simply has no equal.

    After my colectomy and recovery, my quality of life has improved dramatically, and I have the wonderful people of Mayo to thank for that. Now that I no longer have medical issues, I am still connected to Mayo through Lee Aase, who started this blog, and has served as a shining example of how social media can connect people and strengthen communities. Mayo has always been on the leading edge of the medical profession. Now, with its implementation of social media as a way to strengthen its commitment to its patients, Mayo finds itself on the leading edge once again– right where it belongs.

    The Mayo Clinic truly is a special place, and it will always have a special place in the hearts of myself and my family. From the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone at the Mayo Clinic for all they have done for me. It might be more than they will ever know.

  2. Sue Hansen Says:

    I have an 18 1/2 year old daughter who was stricken suddenly by severe headaches, so much so that she wanted her brain removed from her head to get some relief. Along with those headaches came significant visual changes. This all began June 18th, 2008, and while the hospitals here were more or less stumped by these symptoms, they, along with neurologists, opthalmologist and the pediatric did their best to figure out what the underlying issue was. After the pain was under control (after the 2nd hospital stay in 2 days), she began seeing a loca ophthalmologist who was following her medically in the hospital. He turned out to be a good doctor and who genuinely wanted to help. He referred her to a Rheumatologist. This Rheumatologist put her on Methotrexate and folic acid. The Optho doctor had her (at the time) on low dose prednisone. Things seemed to stabilize for a month or so – meaning she wasn’t getting worse, but she wasn’t getting better either.
    Finally, in September 2008 I decided to call Mayo and see if they could help her. I got an appt for November28th so we went up there, not knowing what it was going to be like. The only thing I can say that I didn’t like about Mayo was that it was so BIG. The doctor she saw was EXCELLANT. For this 1 appointment, we were ther for 3 hours. The doctor had the bedside manner that they should teach in Medical School, he was very open to listening to us, and answering any questions.

    Should another need arise for my daughter to be seen there again, I won’t hesitate to make that call.

  3. Jill Braatz Says:

    After 4 years of increasing back/hip pain and 7 doctors that just kept shuffling me from one to the other, I listened to my aunts advise and made an appointment. Dr. Paul Huddelston and Michelle Higgins were awesome. They did more for me in one visit than all the other doctors I have seen over the years. I am coming back in 3 weeks for further testing. I could tell when Dr. Huddelston and Michelle walked in the door that they were going to take good care of me. Its a 6 hour drive but well worth the time. What an incredible place to visit, so organized and they were all so very nice. Thank you!

  4. Linda Hageman RN Says:

    I am getting ready for my 3 mo. check-up at Mayo Clinic and it is so easy.
    I have a main physician and his appointment secretary makes the appointments and coordinates all the tests and physicians so that everything can be done in about a weeks time. I am so grateful for this type of medical health care system which is so efficient. I also tell everyone who has a major medical problem to go to Mayo Clinic. Most people think Mayo Clinic is for people who are very sick or can afford to go to Mayo Clinic. I would like to get the word out that Mayo Clinic has many programs that people can get help getting to Mayo Clinic and receiving care there. Anyone can make a phone call to Mayo Clinic and become a patient. My health insurance covers all of the charges from Mayo Clinic. Linda Hageman RN

  5. Angie Lederle Says:

    I am a kidney transplant patient. I received my kidney from my mom in July 1994 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Going through the whole process was very scary for me as I was only a teenager at that time. While going through all the tests we could not have received better care than here at the Mayo Clinic. All the nurses and doctors were so patient with me while I asked questions and wanted things explained. The transplant department is the best. I had moved to Kansas City and the doctors down there wanted me to transfer all my medical care to them but when I went into see them for a nasal infection they didn’t know if what they were going to give me was going to affect the meds I was on. After that I knew I was at the best place in the United States. Mayo Clinic and staff I thank you for keeping me healthly all these years and for years to come. God Bless all of you.

  6. Linda Hageman RN Says:

    My Name is Linda Hageman,RN. I was diagnosed with a very difficult endocrine disorder called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia. I live in East Tennessee, and after having a open heart surgery to remove a thymic tumor was unsuccessful I decided that I needed to go to one of the best medical that teaches and cares for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia. I chose Mayo Clinic and have been going to The Mayo Clinic for my medical care since the early 2000’s.

    I indeed owe Mayo Clinic my life. There they were able to do the sophisticated tests and studies to pinpoint where the chest tumor was and they were able to remove it successfully. The first of a few surgical procedures.

  7. Peter J. Reinhart Says:

    I underwent surgery for oral cancer in August of 1988, followed by radiation after a period of recovery. My surgeon was Mitchell Stewart Marion. He saved my life and I”ll be forever indebted to him. I’ve made several attempts to locate him throughout the years to thank him but I’ve been unsuccessful. I respect his privacy so if anyone out there knows him or his whereabouts please thank him on my behalf.
    Pete Reinhart
    Courtland, mn.

  8. mark21281 Says:

    My elderly father had melanoma that metastasized to his brain. He was on steroids to prevent seizures which caused excessive talking and impulsiveness. He chatted quite a bit with the surgeon and ended by telling him that he used to be quite capable and successful. The surgeon smiled and said, “Well you’ve sure lost it now”.

    The morning of surgery we showed up on time at 8am and he was asked to sign a multi-page release form. My father asked me to read it to him before he signed. Several minutes into reading it an aid came in and said we were holding up surgery. My father said he had a right to know what he was signing. All of this could have been done on any day before surgery. Then the head nurse came in and said she heard my father was being “uncooperative”. He said he disagreed. She threatened to cancel his surgery if he didn’t sign the form immediately, talking to him in a scolding and threatening tone of voice. He signed the form.

  9. Lindsey Wood Says:

    Mayo Health System Working For People
    It was about a year ago that I started to have pain and popping in my right hip. My local doctor, Dr. Jim Walker at our Mayo Health System Clinic got me in straight away. The x-rays showed a real problem so he referred me to a hip specialist at Luther Midelfort, another Mayo Health System clinic. Dr. Rusty Brand gave me several options for surgery, but suggested I go to Mayo Clinic to talk with specialists for the type of surgery he thought I needed. On my second visit to Mayo Clinic, I met Dr. Miguel Cabanela.
    I could tell when he walked in the room that he was the doctor for me. He listened to my parent’s concerns and questions, but most importantly he talked to me. I have Cerebral Palsy, and because my speech is hard to understand, many people don’t talk to me or think I don’t understand. When Dr. Cabanela asked me if I had any more questions, I asked if hip resurfacing would work. He looked at me with a smile and said, “You’ve been researching on the internet.” We both laughed. It was at the point that he recognized how much I did understand what was going on. He explained to me why he thought a PAO (Periacetabular Osteotomy) was the best option for me. I decided he was the best doctor for me and we scheduled my surgery for March 17th – a lucky day for me.
    We did my pre-op physical the Friday before my surgery. I felt confident in my choice to be at Mayo because of the skills and caring from everyone I met. My mom and I were very impressed with the Patient Education class to prepare you for surgery. The nurse who did the class was very thorough in explaining what would happen. I had had 6 previous surgeries in the Twin Cities and had never been offered a class like this. It was strange, because after that class I wasn’t as nervous anymore. I knew what was going to happen and I knew I had best people in the world to take care me.
    When I arrived for my surgery, everything went to according to plan. In the pre-op area I gave Dr. Cabanela his lucky St. Patty’s Day flashing necklace. He put it on and had a good laugh with me! Although he told me it might cause chaos during surgery. I love to laugh and Dr. Cabanela was able to help me relax before the big event. I don’t remember the surgery, of course, but the nurses, doctors, and patient communications people kept my parents up to date on my progress.
    When I arrived on 8th floor west, a lovely nurse stayed with me those first hours out of surgery. The nurses were highly skilled and very caring. They explained everything to me and my parents. They were helpful and accommodating the whole time I was there. Once when I had a very painful night, John, the night nurse, did everything in his power to make me comfortable including warm blankets and just sitting with me. One of the personal care assistants came regularly to check on me. She was so kind and helpful. She even came on her breaks when she was stationed on a different floor just to see how I was doing. My doctors were wonderful through my whole stay. Dr. Cabanela and his resident came regularly to check on me and monitor my progress. I loved it that they always talked to me, not just my parents. They really listened to our concerns and followed through with everything.
    Many different specialists helped me plan for leaving the hospital. They helped us with therapy and the equipment I would need my first weeks home. We felt prepared for the trip home and follow-up care. How lucky I felt when my nurse the last two days was the one who led the patient education classes. She got me to welcome me to Mayo Clinic and she was my nurse on the day I said goodbye. As I left 8th floor that day I had cheers and smiles from all of the staff that worked with me.
    This story may make my surgery sound like a fairytale because I had so many wonderful people around me. It wasn’t a fairytale. My surgery was hard – just like Dr. Cabanela told me it would be. I did have a lot of pain and scary times, but that is the point of story. Dr. Cabanela and the team of people at Mayo took on my difficult problem and supported me through the whole process. Once I was at home, Dr. Cabanela called to check on me. When I called with a concern or question, he called me back right away and got me in to see him if needed. He kept things light and always made time to laugh and chat with me even though we had a hard problem to solve. I’ll always have a special spot in my heart for him.
    How do I thank all of these wonderful people? All I could think to do was to write down my story and share it with others. When you have to go to through hard or scary medical situations, the Mayo Health System has highly skilled and extremely caring professionals to help you. It’s weird because when I go back to Mayo Clinic for check-ups, I feel like I’m coming home. It’s all because of the great people and I thank them from bottom of my heart! Maybe someday I’ll get to work there. That is my dream.
    Lindsey Wood

  10. M. Miller Says:

    I thank The Mayo Clinic Jacksonville . I came to Mayo and saw an old friend whom i had gone to school with since grade school. We would meet there and do our schedules together. Both in our 40’s and living full lives we both found ourselves in the spinal cord disease dept. I was there 3 years on and off my friend a year or more. Although only one of us will survive i will never forget our times at Mayo. The staff is first rate, the facilities extraordinary, their care unmatched. God Bless the healing hands at Mayo. I’m forever grateful for my time there.

  11. Eric Wein Says:

    My girlfriend has worked at the Mayo Clinic as an RN for 19 yrs. and I come down every other weekend to see her. I am a heart patient at the U of M and about 4 years ago was on a heart transplant list. Since then my physicians have been able to contol most my problems with medication and i lead a pretty normal life for a 37 yr old. I still have breathing problems when I exert myslef alot. About 3 months ago I was feeling sick while visiting her and was admitted to the Mayo for the first time at St. Mary’s. I was there for 4 days. A month ago I was exerting myself again and ended up passing out in her driveway and was taken again to St. Mary’s and was there for 3 days until I got better. I do not like hospitals at all and can be difficult to deal with when I am there. The Mayo’s Doctors, Nurses, and staff so professional and curtious it made things much easier on me being there. The Mayo has treated my Girlfriend very well as an employee and at times patient. I cannot imagine working for a better organization and being able to help the people that they have.
    The Mayo clinic and its staff are the best people in the world at what they do.

  12. Darren Rosenberg Says:

    I moved to Rochester in 1999 from Chicago for a teaching job. Prior to the move I attended college and got diagnosed with Marfans syndrome at age 18. A cardiologist followed me in Chicago and I had my records transferred up here while beginning my new life. That life came to a bump in the road when my Mayo cardiologist, Dr. Nishimura said I needed an aortic valve replacement as the valve had gotten too dialated. I got shocked as the doctors in Chicago never saw this. I underwent the valve replacement in December 1999. I am truly thankful for the care and concerns people showed me at Mayo and the community. I have been healthy ever since. I still see Dr. Nishimura every few years and am thankful for his expertise and friendly demeanor.

    I got a job at Mayo in 2007 and am proud to work for such a great facility, one that saved my life and will do the same for my family as at least one of my two kids appears to have Marfans. We will all be able to live normal lives!

  13. John Gerber Says:

    I came to Mayo Clinic In 2005. I was 35 years old and was having stroke like symptoms. After alotof tests and almost two weeks of tests my doctor found I had rare form of hashimotos called s.r.e.a.t. which stands for stroid responsive encephalopathy with autoimmune thyroiditis what a mouth full. My doctor told me everything about this disease and treatment. Which for me was hard 1000 mg.of prenasone a day for 5 days. This improved my synptoms. Istill had some trouble so they started me on methotrexate thenon to cell cept. after 3 years of trying to find the right medication I feel better. Now beingon these medications Ireceived an infection inmy I.V. port and was sick at Mayo Clinic and when I got to my doctors office Iwas running a fever of 103.9 I was so sick I laid on the doctors couch in his office, My doctor pulled out a sheet and put it over me. His name is Dr. Robert Brown M.D. When I am having trouble at home he would call me at home himself not through a nurse. I started at Mayo Clinic in a a dark tunnal and when I was told whatI had I got a flicker of light at the end it now I can see daylight. I often wonder where i would be if I had not come to Mayo Clinic. My heart can not say enough thanks to these doctors. You would think working at Mayo Clinic would go to there head not my doctors. they are so down to earth. My brain works better now I am enjoying my family. Thanks to Dr. Manik, Dr. Robert Brown, Dr. Boeve, and Dr. Pittock and the nice desk staff at the dept of neurology both sides. Thanks I have my life back. I am alive and not in a nursing home. Thank GOD for Mayo Clinic!!!

  14. Bonnie Crow Says:

    I am a kidney/pancreas transplant recipient from Mayo. I received my kidney from my brother on October 30, 1991 after losing my kidney function to uncontrolled diabetes for 20 years. It was truly an amazing experience being treated in the Mayo facilities. I received wonderful care while I was there. I returned 7 years later and on January 7, 1998 received a pancreas transplant. This surgery was somewhat more difficult and I spent almost three months there recuperating. Again, the staff and care I received were great. I did experience some bladder problems in the years ahead and in 2003 I received a enteric conversion. I developed a fistula and we ended up staying for 77 days! I did finally get to return to my home in South Dakota for a small respite and then returned to have the fistula repaired in May, 2004. That surgery was successful and I returned home to heal over the next few months. I still return every year for my annual checkup and I can say thankfully, that my kidney function and pancreas functions continue to remain fairly stable. I just celebrated my 17(kidney) and 11(pancreas) year anniversaries of my transplants! I am so grateful to my brother and to my donor and to the wonderful doctors and staff in the Mayo facilities. I look forward to returning every year! I would love to hear from other recipients about your transplant stories.

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