Archive for February, 2011

Jesse Jensen’s Deep Brain Stimulation Story

February 16, 2011

When he was just five years old, Jesse Jensen of Missoula, Mont. began having tics, or involuntary movements, and was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. The tics were so violent they caused him intense neck pain and kept him out of regular school for 10 years. Last spring, Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon Kendall Lee, M.D., and his team performed deep brain stimulation on Jesse. His tics have stopped and he was able to cut back on the majority of his medications. His family says the surgery “gave Jesse a life free of Tourettes…a life we never thought was possible.” Jesse’s family put together the video below to tell Jesse’s story.

My Adventures In ‘Minne-snow-ta’

February 7, 2011

Roy Exum recently wrote a comical editorial for the website Chattanoogan.com. Here are a few pieces from his article:

Several years ago I was an in-house guest at the famed Mayo Clinic, which is about 90 miles south of Minneapolis in the state of “Minne-snow-ta”…

It has never been lost on me that – every winter – about 15,000 Mayo Clinic employees battle the worst weather imaginable to take care of patients like me. So this week I checked on my blue-eared chums and they’ve already had 60 inches of snow this winter. Yesterday the wind chill was minus-45 degrees…

Mayo Clinic sprawls for almost ten blocks in downtown Rochester but the main buildings are connected by a web of amazing underground hallways, all brightly lit and warm and sprinkled with pleasant art so people don’t have to brave the elements and become lab specimens. But the next time you grumble about a “wintery mix” in Tennessee, I’m here to tell you it could be a whole lot worse. The Minnesota people are a hardy bunch…

It’s something to see. Every kid goes to school every day. One time I was there and the wind chills got to almost 70 below so the governor called off school in the entire state. What makes that odd was that it was only something like the tenth time they’d done it in the last 50 years…


To read the entire article, click here.

Robotic Head and Neck Surgery

February 4, 2011

Surgeons at Mayo Clinic have developed a new robotic procedure performed through the mouth (transorally) to treat cancers of the tongue base and tonsils. Mayo Clinic is one of the few medical centers in the United States offering this surgery, and Mayo physicians have extensive experience in the procedure.

In this video, Doctors Kerry Olsen, M.D. and Steven Olsen, M.D. discuss the use of robotics for head and neck surgery. A patient also shares her experience.

The Heart of a Woman

February 3, 2011

Written by heart attack survivor Susan Cardelli:

Just last week was the 10th Anniversary of my heart attack—January 25, 2001—or as the medical community would call it “A Cardiac Event”. Whenever I hear it referred to as a “cardiac event”, I always picture myself walking down the red carpet, dressed in a sequined hospital gown, pulling an IV cart, while waving at the paparazzi.

As we all know, having a heart attack, open heart surgery, or any heart procedure is anything but glamorous. It is frightening, lonely, painful, and life-altering. It is also isolating and causes most of us to suffer from depression. The media, people around us, and some medical professionals cluck their tongues and blame us, the patients, for having heart disease. We should’ve exercised more, ate more whole grain Cheerios, had less stress, lost weight, etc. What is worse is that WE blame ourselves!

For too long I beat myself up and blamed myself. This only kept me depressed, not caring about whether I lived or not, despite the fact that my cardiologist told me over and over again that the reason I had my heart attack at age 41 was due to heredity. It finally dawned on me that it was not about “fault” or “blame”, but about acceptance of what is. I had to get to a place of learning to love myself before I could take any steps towards taking care of myself.

I believe what the medical community and society in general needs to focus on is not what exercises or diets or medicines we need—but first, how we feel about what happened to us, how we feel about ourselves, and how to move forward in lives that have been forever changed.

Joining WomenHeart in 2001, just a few weeks after my heart attack, has been a major reason why I am still here. WomenHeart Co-founder Nancy Loving called me and talked with me for a long time. She made me realize that I was not alone and that there were others who had also been misdiagnosed and under treated. It was great talking with someone who totally understood. Then, in October of 2002, I attended the first ever Science and Leadership Symposium for Women with Heart Disease at the Mayo Clinic. That is when I made amazing connections, and the real healing began.

There were many tears shed throughout the symposium. These tears were of relief and joy that, yes, we were truly not alone in this. We were finally being heard and validated. We all became family instantaneously. Even though we were all from different parts of the country and different ages, lifestyles, ethnicities and beliefs—having the shared experience of heart disease brought us together.

I am still so amazed and proud of what our WomenHeart Sisters Class of 2002 have accomplished in the last 10 years! When we started going out there, no one knew that heart disease was the #1 killer of women. All they saw were pink ribbons on yogurt. Today, almost everyone has seen a red dress on some product or ad. We started that. Imagine how many lives we have all saved…

A special thanks to all my WomenHeart sisters for having the courage to go out there and educate other women and medical professionals that yes, it is not just a woman’s heart that is important; but the heart of a woman as well.

Get on the Target Field Jumbotron with your health tip!

February 2, 2011

Mayo Clinic and the Minnesota Twins are teaming up again this season to help improve the health of Twins fans. And this time, we want to know how you and your families stay healthy. Enter our video contest for a chance to win four tickets to a Twins game at Target Field to see your video on the Jumbotron. Here’s how the contest works:

  1. Make a cool video! Create a 20 second video clip about your favorite way to stay healthy, then upload it to the Video Contest tab on the Mayo Clinic Facebook page by March 1. More than 50 videos have been entered so far.
  2. Tell your friends! Ask everyone you know to go online and vote for your video. Twenty-five finalists will be selected by March 7 — if you’re one of those finalists, tell your friends to vote for your video again.
  3. Win! The thirteen entries with the most votes on Facebook by March 31 will get four tickets to a Twins game at Target Field to see their winning entry on the Jumbotron.

View the official contest rules on the “video contest” tab on Facebook.

The contest is open to anyone, but users must be 18 or older to upload a video to Facebook. We are providing the game tickets for the winners, but the families are responsible for getting to Target Field in Minneapolis and any lodging expenses.

Go vote for your favorites or upload your own health tip video today!

MaryEllen’s Journey: Hope Returns (Final Episode)

February 1, 2011

The moment finally came. 

But it was an uneasy one at first.

MaryEllen Sheppard was about to receive her last round of chemotherapy at Mayo Clinic, with friends and family by her side. But as her loved ones and her nurses cheered her on, a wave of emotion hit this mom with nerves of steel.

What will life be like after these medical appointments end?, was one of the questions MaryEllen wondered about as tears streamed down her cheeks. 

In this final installment of MaryEllen’s Journey, MaryEllen shares how she was feeling during those last chemotherapy and radiation appointments and visits with Mayo again post-treatment to share what she did to get her life back on track.

We truly thank MaryEllen for giving Mayo Clinic’s video crew open access to her  life to share her story and experiences with others going through a breast cancer diagnosis. It was a privilege getting to know her and help her share her story with you all.

Missed an episode?:

Please click on the following to see MaryEllen’s journey from the beginning:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Dr Northfelt on Mayo Clinic’s Cancer Center team

MaryEllen on why she enrolled in a clinical trial

MaryEllen reacts to genetic counseling session

Bonus: Dr Northfelt on the importance of nutrition and fitness

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