In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

January 17th, 2017

Dream of Walking Down the Aisle Now Reality for Paralyzed Athlete

By In the Loop intheloop

With the help of her Mayo Clinic care team, paralympian Mallory Weggemann was able to walk down the aisle on her wedding day.

Maggie Stolzberg Photography

In 2008, Mallory Weggemann became paralyzed from the waist down following an epidural injection gone wrong. The then 18-year-old competitive swimmer fought her way back into the water with the help of Mayo Clinic physical therapist Megan Gill. Mallory went on to win two medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games and competed in seven individual events during last year's Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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Tags: Lisa Beck, Megan Gill, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

January 17th, 2017

On the Road Again: Historic Ambulance Heads South to Arizona

By In the Loop intheloop

Mayo Clinic has long been committed to providing safe, swift medical transport to its patients. While that promise hasn’t changed over the years, the definition of swift has evolved.
Even in its early days, Mayo Clinic leaders sought the latest and greatest technology and tools to help patients. That includes the most up-to-date medical transportation. In the late 1800s, the fastest way to transport patients was, as you can imagine, quite a bit different than it is today. But at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, patients had begun arriving by the country's first civilian ambulance.

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Tags: Dr William Worrall Mayo, Matt Dacy, Mayo Clinic Heritage Hall, Sharon Erdman, Todd Brown

January 17th, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Lao Tzu

January 12th, 2017

Family Helped by Pet Therapy Gives Back by Getting Some Fur in the Game

By In the Loop intheloop

After a pet therapy team visited her daughter in the hospital several years ago, Mayo Clinic volunteer Cindi Thurston vowed to make the same kind of meaningful impact in the lives of patients one day. And now, she is … with the help of her four-legged partner, Watson.

Cindi Thurston's first encounter with a therapy dog may have come under unfortunate circumstances, but the imprint it left would change her life for the better. In a column for Wisconsin's Dunn County News, Cindi writes that first meeting took place while her then 10-year-old daughter was hospitalized with a serious medical condition. "We were hours away from home, spending nights in the hospital, and watching my daughter struggle," she writes. "We tried movies, books, crafts and anything we could think of to take our minds off her condition.

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Tags: Cindi Thurston, Mayo Clinic Health System, therapy dogs

January 12th, 2017

Doctor's Essays on Living (and Dying) Well Get New Life

By In the Loop intheloop

After Dave Eitrheim, M.D., was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he began sharing his thoughtful essays on living and dying. Readers encouraged him to turn them into a book. The result, “The Race of My Life: 50 Essays on Living With Cancer,” was chosen as this year’s selection for Menomonie Reads.

Dave Eitrheim, M.D., wouldn't let dying stop him from living. After Dr. Eitrheim, a longtime physician at Mayo Clinic Health System — Red Cedar in Menomonie, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he continued to do what he'd always done. As we wrote previously, that included running marathons and ultramarathons, which had always been an important part of his life.

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Tags: Cancer, Dr David Eitrheim, Mayo Clinic Health System

January 12th, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.

Stuart Scott

January 10th, 2017

Nurse Practitioner's Gift to Family of Dying Patient: Songs That Comfort and Heal

By In the Loop intheloop

Nurse practitioner LaSonya Fleming is a talented vocalist who believes music can heal. Sometimes she sings at her patients’ bedsides and, in one special case, at a patient’s funeral.

LaSonya Fleming (right) with Lisa Pleggenkuhle.

The right medicine isn't always a pill or an injection. Sometimes, it's a song. Just ask LaSonya Fleming. "Music can make such a difference in people's outlook and help them get through the day a little better," LaSonya, a nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic, tells us. That's why LaSonya, a dedicated singer from the time she joined her first church choir at 5 years old, has been known to sing for her patients. "Music makes a difference in body and spirit," she says. "You can just see how a song can lift someone up."

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Tags: LaSonya Fleming

January 10th, 2017

Researchers Hope the (Electronic) Nose Knows When It Comes to Cancer

By In the Loop intheloop

A research team led by gastroenterology resident Daniel Chan, M.D., is out to prove that you don't need a sixth sense to sniff out cancer, but could perhaps make better use of one of the big five.

A research team led by Mayo Clinic gastroenterology resident Daniel Chan, M.D., is out to prove that you don't need a sixth sense to sniff out cancer, but maybe just make better use of one of the big five. The team is hoping the sense of smell can be an effective tool to screen patients for a variety of cancers, including Barrett's esophagus, a common precursor to esophageal cancer. "It's fascinating that we've more or less neglected one of the five senses as a diagnostic tool," Dr. Chan tells Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News. "When was the last time a doctor smelled anybody?"

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Tags: Barrett's esophagus, Dr Daniel Chan, Esophageal cancer, gastroenterology

January 10th, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"If you pour some music on whatever’s wrong, it’ll sure help out."

Levon Helm

January 5th, 2017

Cancer Took Joshua's Leg, But Not His Smile

By In the Loop intheloop

To save little Joshua Adler’s life, doctors amputated his leg.

You can't help but be captivated by Joshua Adler's smile. "The kid smiles all the time," Joshua's dad, Dave Adler, tells us. "He's a pretty inspirational little boy." After hearing Joshua's story, we can't help but agree.

That story began early last year, when Joshua began experiencing pain in his right leg. The pain was sometimes so severe that he'd wake up at night "screaming in agony," reports WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Doctors told Dave and his wife, Pat, that their son, just 4 years old at the time, was likely experiencing normal growing pains.

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Tags: Cancer, Dr Carola Arndt, Dr Peter Rose, Dr Vilmarie Rodriguez

January 5th, 2017

Daughter Helps Brighten the Holidays for Mother by Giving Her a Kidney

By In the Loop intheloop

When Dease Charais’s 40-year battle with lupus led to early stage kidney failure last year, her daughter Cathy Carchedi didn’t hesitate in offering to donate one of her kidneys to her mother.

We don't want to be presumptuous, but we'd guess 2016's award for "Best Christmas Gift Given to a Mother" (if there were such a thing) would go to Cathy Carchedi of North Branch, Minnesota. That's because just before this past holiday season kicked into full swing, Cathy offered to give her mom, Dease Charais, the gift of a kidney. Without it, Dease was facing dialysis as the result of early stage kidney failure brought on by a long battle with lupus. And as Dease's hometown newspaper, Forest Lake Times reports, it wasn't the first time Cathy had made her mom that offer.

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Tags: kidney transplant, Lupus

January 5th, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

Mother Teresa

January 3rd, 2017

New Way Home Turns Into Unique Care Opportunity for Mayo Nurse

By In the Loop intheloop

Kelsey Halopka put Mayo Clinic’s primary value into action when she assisted a woman who had fallen outside of the Francis Building.

It's one of the coldest days of the Minnesota winter. Kelsey Halopka is heading home from her job as a nurse at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus when she sees a woman who appears to have fallen on the steps outside an entrance to the Francis Building at the Saint Marys campus of Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester. As the woman struggles to get up, Kelsey's nursing instincts kick in. "I just thought, 'I'm going to go see what's going on to make sure everything's OK,'" she tells us. Kelsey says she checked on the woman and "started asking her questions about what had happened, whether she was OK, whether she was short of breath."

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Tags: Bou Gazley, Kelsey Halopka

January 3rd, 2017

'Cancer Care Kits' Are a Gift of Caring From One Who's Been There

By In the Loop intheloop

After the death of her father, Carli Grau wanted to do something to help other cancer patients. To date, she has put together 150 Carli’s Cancer Care Kits for patients.Soon after Gordon Grau began treatment for colon cancer, his family received a gift bag from a friend. It was filled with "things we could use at the hospital, things you don't think about packing," says Shannon Grau-Quail, Gordon's widow. "It really brightened our day."

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Tags: Janine Kokal, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

January 3rd, 2017

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives."

Tracy Chapman

December 29th, 2016

Anonymous Gifts Make Holiday in the Hospital a Little Merrier

By In the Loop intheloop

Mayo Clinic staff experience the joy of giving, of closets full of gifts for young patients.

Here at In the Loop, we love to tell stories of giving, particularly around the holidays. Stories of Mayo Clinic staff going the extra mile for patients, of work units banding together for a cause, of former patients doing what they can to help others facing what they've been through before. We're heartened by pictures that show people experiencing the joy of giving, of closets full of gifts for young patients.

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Tags: Mayo Clinic Children's Center

December 29th, 2016

After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, History Teacher Finds New Hope

By In the Loop intheloop

After being diagnosed with melanoma and breast cancer, Arizona history teacher Sandy Morse decided to not hide her treatment journey from her students. Now the 2016 Arizona History Teacher of the Year is living cancer-free.

Last year, while being treated for a recurrence of the melanoma she was first diagnosed with in 2003, Sandy Morse felt a small lump in one of her breasts. She mentioned the lump to her surgeon during an appointment, and a biopsy confirmed what the 52-year-old history teacher at Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, says she already knew: She would now have to deal with breast cancer.

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Dr Donald Northfelt, Melanoma

December 29th, 2016

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags! Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more."

The Grinch in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"

December 27th, 2016

Sixteen Favorite Stories of 2016

By In the Loop intheloop

Favorite stories of 2016

Each year, In the Loop, like many of the world’s great news organizations, looks back and shares some favorite stories of the year gone by. It’s an edifying exercise, and it gives us a story to publish around the holidays that doesn’t feel like real work. (Especially when we use the same clever packaging year after year.)

Since we’re not a particularly scientific lot, we simply pick our own favorites of the past year. Then we whittle our list down to a reasonable number that happens to line up with the year in question. [...]

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Tags: 2016, Patient Stories, Staff Stories, Top Stories

December 27th, 2016

Quote of the Day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind."

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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