In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

July 21st, 2016 · Leave a Comment

'You Saved My Life,' Patient Tells Surgeon as They Reunite 31 Years Later

By In the Loop intheloop

Dr. Roger Dozois with Tracy Muske.

Thirty-one years ago, Tracy Muske was in a terrible accident that, surprising as it may sound, ended up saving her life — though it also cost her dearly. She and a friend were riding their bicycles on a sidewalk in St. Cloud, Minnesota, when a young man had a seizure while driving and crashed into them, she tells us. "My friend was killed, and I broke my back and one arm," Tracy says. She also found out she had cancer.

Tracy tells us that shocking discovery came as an emergency room physician performed a routine rectal exam to make sure bone chips hadn't perforated her bowel. "He felt the mass immediately," she says. Because of Tracy's young age — just 23 years old — she says her doctors in St. Cloud were unsure of how to proceed. "They really didn't know what to do with me," she says.

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Tags: Colon and Rectal Surgery, Dr Eric Dozois, Dr Roger Dozois

July 21st, 2016 · 1 Comment

That's An Order! Care Team Helps Retired Brigadier General Reach His 100th Birthday

By In the Loop intheloop

Dr. Vivek and Tammy McGarry with Brig. Gen Henry Newcomer.The first time retired United States Air Force Brig. Gen. Henry Newcomer met Mayo Clinic hematologist-oncologist Vivek Roy, M.D., he gave the doctor an order. The general was about to begin treatment for multiple myeloma and was quite specific about his expectations for the mission. "He was 92 when he first came to see us," nurse Tammy McGarry tells us. "And during that appointment, he told Dr. Roy that it was up to him to help him make it to 100 years old." While some may have been taken aback by the demand, McGarry and Dr. Roy took it in stride. "We said, 'OK, that's why we're here. We'll do everything we can,'" she says.

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Tags: Dr Vivek Roy, Hematology, Tammy McGarry

July 21st, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old."

George Burns

July 19th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Birthday Heart: Young Transplant Patient Receives Birthday Gift of a Lifetime

By In the Loop intheloop

Joseph Gonzalez-Salas's was received a new heart for his 11th birthday.Ask a 10-year-old boy what he wants for his birthday, and you're likely to get an answer like: games, toys, a new bike, or maybe just straight cash. Joseph Gonzalez-Salas's wish list for his 11th birthday was a little different. After nearly three years of living with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that negatively affects the way the heart pumps blood, all Joseph wanted was a new heart.

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Tags: Dr Jonathan Johnson, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Heart Transplant Program

July 19th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It's all about the memories."

Buddy Valastro

July 14th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

A River Runs Through Him – A Hospice Patient's Sentimental Return to the Water's Edge

By In the Loop intheloop

LeeGraham805The Mississippi River runs through Lee Graham's memories. He and his wife, Shirley, owned a cabin on the river for decades. It's where his kids learned to waterski, and where he spent many sunny days boating and fishing with family and friends. And for years, it was the first place he'd head after clocking out as assistant chief of the Rochester Police Department. "When I'd get through work … I'd race down to the river to get there and have as much river enjoyment as possible," he tells us. It didn't matter if he touched the water. "Just to be in the surroundings" was enough. "It's kind of hard to explain," he says. "I just enjoyed being there." (We understand.)

Lee recently spent another memorable day on the river, thanks to a program called Sentimental Journeys. The program, a partnership between Mayo Clinic Hospice and Gold Cross Ambulance, helps hospice patients take a special trip or attend an event, like a wedding or graduation, that might not be possible without assistance. When hospice staff told the Grahams about the program, they knew exactly where they wanted to go. [...]

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Tags: Gold Cross, hospice, Sentimental Journeys

July 14th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

New App Takes the Itch Out of Buying Skin Care Products

By In the Loop intheloop

Itchy805Christina Boland is not a paid spokesperson for SkinSafe but she certainly sounds like one. "It's been a godsend for me," Christina says of the online skin care database and iOS mobile app created by Mayo Clinic dermatologist James Yiannias, M.D. SkinSafe matches consumers with skin care products they can use without risk of an allergic reaction, and Christina is a big fan. "I actually bought an iPhone just so I could use the mobile app."

That's dedication, and we're guessing a worthwhile investment if it means never returning to the way things used to be. "It was miserable," Christina says of life before SkinSafe. "I spent 10 years itching nonstop all over my body. It felt like chickenpox on top of fire ants on top of poison ivy. Nothing helped."  [...]

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Tags: apps, Mayo Clinic Ventures, Skin Allergies

July 14th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the Day

By In the Loop intheloop

"I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch."

Gilda Radner

July 12th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Running 'To Prove I'm Stronger Than My Leukemia'

By In the Loop intheloop

Running is helping Dr. Steven Altchuler cope with cancer. He runs so many races that he’s earned the Phidippides Award from USA Track & Field.For most of his life, Steven Altchuler, M.D., Ph.D., didn’t think of himself as a runner. Quite the opposite, in fact. “I never enjoyed running, not even as a kid,” he says. But that all changed six years ago, after he was diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Treatment included orders to exercise, and Dr. Altchuler, a psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, was surprised to find he actually enjoyed regularly hitting the pavement. Now, he’s crediting that discovery with helping him confront a new diagnosis: stage IV leukemia. It’s a story he loves to tell. And one he’s hoping to share in the pages of Runner's World magazine. (More on that later.)

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Tags: Dr Steven Altchuler, Leukemia

July 12th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Transplant Patient Using Second Chance to Help Others

By In the Loop intheloop

Brian McIntyre is making the most of his second chance at life by doing what he can to make an impact on the lives of others.Brian McIntyre doesn’t shy away from talking about the situation he’s in and how he got here. After living “a hard life of liquor and drugs for many years,” as chronicled in the Ottawa (Illinois) Times, he tells us he showed up at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus one day in 2009 out of desperation. “I had hepatitis C and was in stage four liver disease,” he says.

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Tags: Dr Charles Rosen, Dr Kymberly Watt, Hepatitis, liver transplant

July 12th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"Why aren't you signed up for the 401K?"
"I'd never be able to run that far."

Scott Adams, Dilbert

July 7th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Running Guru Hal Higdon is Back on the Move After His "Big Fat Mayo Weekend"

By In the Loop intheloop

Hal Higdon believes his decades-long commitment to healthy habits has aided his recovery following surgery for an osteoma.Hal Higdon wrote the book on running. (Quite a few of them, actually.) His popular training plans, covering distances from a 5K to a full marathon, have helped countless runners cross the finish line. The 85-year-old Higdon, who ran eight times in the Olympic trials, won four World Masters championships, and has a marathon personal record of 2:21:55, also has a lively presence on Twitter and Facebook. Which is where we read about his recent unplanned break from training, chronicled in a four-part series Higdon dubbed "My Big Fat Mayo Weekend."

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Tags: Dr Osarenoma Olomu

July 7th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Good Samaritan Donor Kicks Off a Kidney Donation 'Chain Reaction'

By In the Loop intheloop

An organ donation chain started with living donor, Jennifer Tamol. Jennifer Tamol is part of a trend. A trend Martin Mai, M.D., a nephrologist at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus and chair of Mayo's Division of Transplant Medicine, would very much like to see grow. Four years ago, Jennifer decided she wanted to donate one of her kidneys. What makes her decision so unique, the Florida-Times Union reports, is that she didn't actually know anyone who needed a kidney. That made her a "non-directed altruistic donor," which, according to Jennifer, initially confused those around her. "Half the people think I'm completely crazy," she tells the paper. "They may be right."

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Tags: Dr Martin Mai, kidney transplant

July 7th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But ... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'"

Martin Luther King Jr.

July 5th, 2016 · 1 Comment

This Is Not a Drill: Mayo's 'Fire Guy' Leaves Important Lessons Behind

By In the Loop intheloop

Mark Bilderback of Emergency Management is an enthusiastic organizer of fire drills.Mark Bilderback likes to tell stories. And if you've come into contact with him over the past 20 years, you've likely heard one story in particular. One day he and his son, who was 5 years old at the time, came across a small car fire. Mark sees the situation as a learning opportunity for his son. "I'm thinking, 'Here's a chance to show him that I know how to put this fire out,'" he says. "So I stop our car and tell him in my best Super Dad voice, 'Son, stay here.'"

Mark exits his car, hurries to the trunk, grabs his fire [...]

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Tags: Mark Bilderback, Meredie Sexton

July 5th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop intheloop

"How is it that one match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box of matches to start a campfire?"

Christy Whitehead

June 30th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Going the Extra 2,027 Miles for Her Patient

By In the Loop intheloop

MicheleMaharaj805It's not uncommon for Mayo Clinic staff to go the extra mile for their patients. Michele Maharaj, however, went an extra 2,027 miles last month when she traveled from Mayo's Florida campus to the Grand Canyon for an "adventure hike" to raise money and awareness for multiple myeloma research. At her patient's request.

Bob McKenna sent an email last December about joining him on a fundraising hike he'd found on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website, Michele, a nurse at Mayo's Florida campus, tells us. He wanted to raise money and awareness for the cause, as a multiple myeloma patient himself. "The first one (he suggested) was to Mount Kilimanjaro, but I said, 'No, I can't do that one,'" Michele says. The second hike on Bob's list (the Grand Canyon) seemed more doable. "I said, 'I'd love to do that one, but let me think about it.'"

While Michele was contemplating, however, Bob's health deteriorated to the point where he was no longer able to do the hike. That settled it for Michele. "I told him, 'If this hike means that much to you, I'll do it,'" she says.   [...]

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June 30th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Camp Oz Lets Grieving Kids Feel Understood, Not Alone

By In the Loop intheloop

CampOz805Around the time Eunhye Choi graduated from high school, a close family member was diagnosed with cancer. Eunhye held out hope that she would survive the diagnosis. "I believed miracles would happen," says Eunhye, who cared for her family member throughout the illness. When no miracle was forthcoming, Eunhye says she "didn't know how to cope with the grief. My life was stuck in the past for a long time."

Eventually, she moved forward. And now, Eunhye is using her experiences with grief to help other young people who have lost loved ones. As a graduate student in psychology at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Eunhye completed a practicum with Mayo Clinic Health System's Hospice Program. She worked primarily with Camp Oz, a grief camp for kids. (You can read more about the camp in a story we published last year.)

"I decided to help grieving children," says Eunhye, who is from Korea. "In my county, there is not much help provided for grieving individuals. I want to provide more opportunities to help others out." She realized her ability to "genuinely understand the grief of other people" could be an asset to others — and to herself. "Understanding others' pain can be healing, too," she says.  [...]

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June 30th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the Day

By In the Loop intheloop

"It's like trying to describe what you feel when you're standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon or remembering your first love or the birth of your child. You have to be there to really know what it's like."

Jack Schmitt

June 28th, 2016 · Leave a Comment

Minneapolis Composer Going ’50 Across Iceland’ to Raise Money for Cancer Research at Mayo Clinic

By In the Loop intheloop

In 2016, George Maurer will journey by bike across Iceland to raise money for cancer research in honor of Carolyn A. Held. Raising money for cancer research might seem a daunting, even intimidating, prospect. But for Minneapolis pianist and composer George Maurer, it’s as easy as riding a bike. With one small catch: Maurer’s not just riding around the block. His annual Carolyn A. Held Memorial Bike rides have taken him across the country and to the top of Pike’s Peak. This year's ride will take him all the way to Iceland. Along the way he’s raised more than $30,000 for cancer research in honor of his friend who passed away from the disease in 2012.

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Tags: Mayo Clinic Square

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