In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

December 8th, 2016

Mayo Patient Celebrates End of Radiation Treatments with Scottish Flair

By In the Loop intheloop

As his final day of radiation treatment at Mayo Clinic approached, Leonard Hislop decided he wanted to celebrate by dressing in a ‘formal kilt outfit” to pay homage to his Scottish heritage. His care team, however, took things one step farther.

Six months after having surgery to remove the cancer from his body, Leonard Hislop was told that the cancer had returned. He suddenly was facing 30 rounds of radiation. But instead of dreading those treatments, Leonard decided he was going to find a way to "make it fun." And for the first 21 days, he did that by "dressing up nicely" in a "different pair of slacks, sports coat, tie, and shirt" for each appointment.

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Tags: Dr Johnson Thistle, gastroenterology, Nancy Heinzelman, Radiation Oncology

December 8th, 2016

Nurse Who Survived 100-Foot Fall Returns to Work With a New Perspective

By In the Loop intheloop

Amber Kohnhorst was hiking alone when she fell off a 100-foot cliff in Cane Beds, Arizona. She summoned the will to climb out with a broken back and crushed pelvis and was eventually rescued. Now, she’s begun another uphill climb: returning to the job she loves.

In May, Amber Kohnhorst fell 100 feet off a cliff while hiking in Arizona. She was convinced, for a time, that she would die alone on the ledge where she'd landed. But as we reported shortly after her accident, Amber — a remarkably positive and determined person — crawled halfway back up the canyon and was eventually rescued.

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Tags: Amber Kohnhorst

December 8th, 2016

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

Maya Angelou

December 6th, 2016

Mayo Staff Carry out Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

By In the Loop intheloop

When Danielle Teal received a phone call from a friend asking if she could help him distribute 12 whole turkeys to families in need for Thanksgiving, she knew just what to do.

Two days before Thanksgiving, Danielle Teal received a phone call. A friend, in a somewhat excited tone, had called to say that he’d just bought 12 turkeys from a local grocery store and was wondering if Danielle and the Random Acts of Kindness group she heads could help him find homes for them.

When she got home that day, Danielle, a senior digital production specialist at Mayo Clinic, tells us the first thing she did was reach out to organizations in [...]

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Tags: Danielle Teal

December 6th, 2016

Hospice Holiday Program Gives Gift of Comfort to Grieving Families

By In the Loop intheloop

The Mayo Clinic Hospice Program offers an annual holiday concert for those grieving the loss of loved ones.

If you're to believe advertisers and certain enduring tunes, the holidays are "the hap-happiest season of all." But that's not the case for everyone — and especially not for those missing someone special around the table. "The holiday season can be a challenging time for families who have lost a loved one," says Dianne Axen, bereavement coordinator for Mayo Clinic Hospice.

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Tags: Mayo Clinic Hospice Program

December 6th, 2016

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."

Princess Diana

December 1st, 2016

Daughter's Empty Bowl Runneth Over

By In the Loop intheloop

Dr. Noseworthy delivered the bowl he painted for the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser after Sue McFarland’s mother purchased the bowl.

Lou Tasler wanted to give her daughter, Sue Mc Farland, a gift to celebrate a recent successful surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. Doctors spotted Sue's quarter-sized tumor about six years ago. It didn't increase in size that first year, so they decided to keep an eye on it. But when the tumor recently increased slightly in size, Sue decided it was time to go ahead with surgery to remove it.

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Tags: Dr John Noseworthy

December 1st, 2016

Doctor Offers Practical Tips for Unwrapping the Gift of Happiness Any Time of Year

By In the Loop intheloop

Dr. Amit Sood devoted himself to understanding the root of human unhappiness -- and how we can use the power of our minds to change it.

While attending medical school in India, Amit Sood, M.D., saw firsthand the effects poverty, malnutrition and disease had on his patients. He also witnessed the aftereffects of a chemical spill that claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 residents of his hometown.

When he moved to the United States to continue his medical training, Dr. Sood expected to leave that kind of human suffering behind. Instead, he "was surprised to find nearly as much suffering" as he’d witnessed in India, according a story in Minnesota Medicine. "The extent of stress made no sense to me," Dr. Sood, an internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic, writes on his website. "I had naively assumed that the entire U.S. would be nothing but Disneyland." [...]

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Tags: Dr Amit Sood

December 1st, 2016

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."

William James

November 29th, 2016

Sisters’ Heart Transplants Inspire Family to Organize Holiday Toy Drive

By In the Loop intheloop

Having firsthand experience with long-term hospitalizations has inspired the Rippy family to give back each Christmas.

Like many parents of young children, Linsey Rippy finds her thoughts turn to gift lists this time of year. There’s a list for each of her daughters. But there’s also a gift list for children she likely will never meet — boys and girls who will spend the holidays at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center on Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus. For the past six years, the Rippy family has organized a holiday toy drive to help stock the toy closets in the hospital and at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

Both are places the Rippy family knows well. Linsey’s daughters, 10-year-old Madi and 7-year-old Sydney, were diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy as toddlers, and each had a heart transplant at Mayo Clinic at age 3. Over the years, that has meant lots (and lots) of long days and nights in the hospital.

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Tags: heart transplant, Mayo Clinic Children's Center, Pediatric Heart Transplant Program

November 29th, 2016

A Gift of Life From One Friend to Another

By In the Loop intheloop

Lori Allan, left, receive a kidney from her friend Becca Spurr.

Lori Allan (left) and Becca Spurr

They say a friend in need is a friend indeed. And late last year, Lori Allan put that proverb to the test. During a longstanding weekend coffee klatch with close friend Becca Spurr, Lori divulged something she’d long known was a possibility: Her kidneys were failing and she was in need of a transplant.

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Tags: Gift of Life Transplant House, kidney transplant

November 29th, 2016

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"No one has ever become poor by giving."

Anne Frank

November 22nd, 2016

Couple Delivers 'Blessing Bags' to Show Patients They're Not Alone

By In the Loop intheloop

Anthony and Kari Lindsay donated bags with items they found most helpful during Anthony's cancer journey.

Just before Thanksgiving last year, Anthony and Kari Lindsay were wondering if they'd ever have anything to be thankful for again. Earlier that fall, Anthony had noticed a strange bump on the roof of his mouth. "I asked my dentist about it and he wasn't really sure what was going on," Anthony tells us. "He did some X-rays, but we really couldn't figure it out." [...]

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Tags: Carolyn Schultz, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, giving back

November 22nd, 2016

La Crosse Area Quilt Guild Members Stitch a Little Love Into Their Work

By In the Loop intheloop

La Crosse Area Quilt Guild has donated small comfort quilts and pillowcases to area nonprofits and to patients receiving dialysis at Mayo Clinic Health System in nearby Onalaska, Wisconsin.

Pop into a meeting of the La Crosse Area Quilt Guild and you'll see beautiful, intricate quilts and hear plenty of talk about tools and techniques. You'll also hear talk about community needs. That's because the guild is more than a sewing club. The members aren't just quilting for themselves — they're also quilting for a cause. Many causes, actually. "We'll make a quilt and donate it to any group that would like to raise money for a good cause," guild member Marcia Griffin tells us, adding that members also donate small "comfort quilts" and pillowcases to area nonprofits. "We love our community and love to give back," says Marcia (who happens to be a switchboard operator at Mayo Clinic Health System — Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse, Wisconsin).

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Tags: Mayo Clinic Health System

November 22nd, 2016

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action."

W.J. Cameron

November 17th, 2016

Grateful Patient Honors Care Team With the Gift of a Goat

By In the Loop intheloop

scrappyteam805It's the time of year we tend to think about gifts and candy, and gifts of candy. A Mayo patient had something a little different in mind when she thought about how to show her appreciation for the folks in Mayo Clinic's Division of Nephrology and Hypertension who have cared for her for years.

In early November, a longtime patient of Gary Schwartz, M.D., arrived for her appointment bearing an unorthodox gift — a stuffed toy goat. A note accompanying the goat explained the significance of the stuffed animal. "In appreciation of your concern and excellent medical care, you are now the proud owner of a goat," the patient wrote. "It causes no destruction and requires no care. I have donated the perfect gift in your honor."

That "perfect gift" was a donation to Heifer International, a nonprofit that works to end hunger and poverty one goat, pig or chicken at a time. The organization's website explains that donating an animal "is like giving someone a small business, providing wool, milk, eggs and more. Animal donations can provide families a hand up, increasing access to medicine, school, food and a sustainable livelihood." Cami McElmury, supervisor of clinical operations in the division, tells us she and her staff were "so proud that something done in their honor was helping someone else."  [...]

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Tags: Dr Gary Schwartz, Heifer International, hypertension, Nephrology

November 17th, 2016

Caring  Canines Program Is ‘Love at First Sight’ for Struggling Patients

By In the Loop intheloop

caringcanines805After a career as a physician in Minneapolis, Denise Krivach, M.D., was looking forward to spending her retirement years in the solitude of the Montana backcountry. As the Star Tribune reports, however, those plans abruptly changed when she woke up one day to find her body "non-functional." Local doctors initially diagnosed her with early onset dementia, but the Strib reports the former physician "rejected" that diagnosis and came to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion.

"After months of testing" at Mayo's Rochester campus, Denise's doubts about her diagnosis were confirmed. Doctors told her she did not have dementia but instead was suffering from autoimmune encephalitis — a diagnosis that, in short, meant "her immune system was attacking her brain," the newspaper reports.

Denise underwent surgery and found herself "lying in the hospital to face an uncertain future." That's when she met Alta, a four-year-old golden retriever that spent time with her as part of Mayo's "growing Caring Canines program," the paper reports. The response — and connection — were instant. "It was love at first sight," Denise tells the paper. "It made such a difference in my recovery … I never felt like I was quite alone."  [...]

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Tags: Caring Canines, Jessica Smidt, therapy dogs

November 17th, 2016

Quote of the Day

By In the Loop intheloop

"If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am."

Charles Yu

November 15th, 2016

Once Upon a Time, This Wedding Wouldn't Have Happened

By In the Loop intheloop

brentonwedding805Once upon a time, "happily ever after" wasn't a phrase associated with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or HLHS. For many years, parents were simply advised to make the most of their brief time with children born with the rare heart defect. That's one of the reasons the annual "Feel the Beat" event at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus is such a celebration. The event is sponsored by the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and, as KTTC-TV reports, is about "bringing together people" living with HLHS to share their experiences while learning how research and treatments continue to evolve. This year's event brought together roughly 200 people from 15 different states.

The event was especially poignant for newlywed Brenton Ball. Brenton's HLHS initially went undetected by doctors. A week after his birth, symptoms started to materialize. "He had reflux of the stomach, so he was continually vomiting," Brenton's mom, Heidi, says. "I just kept thinking something else was wrong, though, so I called our local hospital three times that night."  [...]

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November 15th, 2016

When It Comes to Recruitment, Mayo Clinic Eschews Fads for Something Bigger

By In the Loop intheloop

pediatriccare805When looking for new recruits, how do companies attract the best and brightest? According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, some of today's popular recruitment efforts include the obvious (competitive salaries), the day-dreamy (limitless vacations), and, well, three-story-high slides. (Yes, office slides are a thing.)

But there's another important element in hiring efforts: company culture. And what it may lack in Silicon Valley-style perks, Mayo Clinic more than makes up for in the culture department. "Mayo does not have a slide or air hockey table," reporter Marcia McMullen writes in her piece, "A Culture of Legacy." What Mayo does have, however, is "an elegant 7-word statement by the one of the founders … 'The needs of the patient come first.'" And that beats slides any day. (Although we may have to convince Cory.)  [...]

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