In The Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

October 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

From Caregiver to Patient: Tracey's Survivor Story

By In the Loop

Tracey Samuelson

In 2012, Tracey Samuelson noticed that her left breast looked different than the right. She chalked it up to the rigors of childbirth and breastfeeding. Besides, she told herself, there wasn't a lump. Still, when she went for a routine physical exam at the beginning of 2013, the change in her breast was still in the back of her mind. So she mentioned it to her primary care provider, Joanna Setla, M.D., who suggested Tracey have a mammogram … just in case.

Expecting to go back home immediately afterward, Tracey, a triage nurse in Orthopedics at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was surprised when Dr. Setla asked her to stick around. Her surprise turned to concern when a second mammogram was ordered, followed by an ultrasound. Then Dr. Setla sat Tracey down and told her they needed to call a surgeon. David Ciresi, M.D., confirmed what Tracey feared: she had breast cancer.

"I sat there and listened and tried to remember all the important information I had learned about breast cancer so I could prepare myself better," she tells the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. "Nothing prepared me for the moment when my doctor said I would lose my hair. I broke down and finally realized this was happening to me." [...]

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Dr David Ciresi, Dr Joanna Setla

October 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

From Heart Surgery to the Volleyball Court — in Eight Days

By In the Loop

Volleyball players on court at net

On Friday, Oct. 10, Tess Thomas found herself on familiar ground: the volleyball court. It's a place the Gardiner (Montana) High School senior has logged a lot of hours. But in late September, it was a place she tells the Billings Gazette she thought she might never be again. Tess was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a "fairly rare" condition that (according to mayoclinic.org) affects about four of every 100,000 people. Those with the syndrome have an extra electrical pathway between the upper and lower chambers of the heart, which causes a rapid heartbeat.

The first sign there was a problem came during a semifinal volleyball match, Tess tells the newspaper. "My heart was racing, my chest was feeling heavy, and I got light-headed," she says. The "episodes" continued during practice and the school day. "It became more intense," she says. And more consistent. That's when her mother, Wendy, scheduled an appointment with a doctor in Bozeman. After an EKG, Tess was "shocked" to receive the diagnosis. For many people, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is harmless. But for others, it can lead to fainting spells, a rapid heartbeat, and even sudden death. Because symptoms are often brought on by exercise, Tess tells the newspaper, "I didn't know if I would play again."  [...]

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Tags: Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

October 23rd, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the day

By In the Loop

"Those whom we support hold us up in life."

Marie Ebner von Eschenbach

October 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Minnesota's Oldest Resident Fudges Age to Make Friends — on Facebook

By In the Loop

Anna Stoehr learns Facebook and FaceTime to keep up acquaintances. You may recall reading about Anna Stoehr a couple years back when we shared some of the "Oldest Living Minnesotan's" reflections on how health care has changed during her lifetime. A regular at Mayo Clinic Health System in Plainview, she told the Red Wing Republican Eagle about delivering her five children at home, which was the only place you'd see your provider: "The doctors only made house calls back then."

Now Anna is in the news again — in a big way. Just shy of her 114th birthday on Oct. 15, she decided to join Facebook. There was just one problem: Facebook's options for choosing a birth year only go back to 1905, and Anna was born in 1900. So she did what many have done before: she shaved a few years off her age. Then, she got busy making friends.

"Mother has always embraced technology," Anna's son Harlan tells KTTC-TV in Rochester. While his father was "leery" of technology, Harlan Stoehr says his mother appreciated what technology could do. "'How does it work?' That is one of her favorite questions," he says. [...]

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Tags: Anna Stoehr, Centenarian, facebook

October 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Helping Javrie

By In the Loop

The Burdell's found a name for Javrie's condition at Mayo Clinic. All they wanted was a name. Something -- anything -- to call the mystery condition that plagued their young son. But appointment after appointment with local care providers had given Renata and Josiah Burdell little insight into what was happening with their son. Javrie, just 6 years old, was battling epilepsy, developmental delays, a weakened musculoskeletal system, and more -- all of which left his parents fearing not only for the quality of his young life, but also its length.

At the height of their worry and search for answers, the Burdells found their way to the Individualized Medicine Clinic at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus. And it was there that a team of specialists seemingly did the impossible by zeroing in on the one gene that was responsible for Javries medical problems. More importantly for Renata and Josiah, however, doctors were finally able to tell the family exactly what it was they were dealing with, diagnosing Javrie with a rare genetic mutation known as de novo mutation.

"It has made such a huge difference," Renata says in a story posted on the You Are … The Campaign For Mayo Clinic website. "We don't have to keep wondering and going from one specialist to another looking for a reason for Javrie's symptoms." [...]

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Tags: Campaign for Mayo Clinic, genetic testing, Individualized Medicine

October 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Quote of the Day

By In the Loop

"It takes a long time to become young."

Pablo Picasso

 

October 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

"Walking Miracle" is Back in the Classroom

By In the Loop

classroom with teacherScott Gefroh, probably more than most teachers, was keen to get back to the classroom this fall and back to teaching social studies to the young minds of Horizon Middle school in Bismarck, North Dakota. "I really don't like being out of my classroom," Scott recently told the Bismarck Tribune. A heart condition had sidelined him for much of the past year. It was the latest in a series of heart problems that began in 2003 and led him to Mayo Clinic.

As Scott tells the Tribune, his medical rollercoaster ride began when doctors diagnosed him with a bad heart valve in 2003 – an issue that had likely been with him since birth. That valve was replaced, but after nine years, it, too, needed replacement. This time, the paper reports, Scott's health "continued to deteriorate." Near the end of August 2013, doctors discovered that Scott had acquired an infection around the surgical site. The infection led to an aortic aneurysm. Just two weeks after surgery in November 2013 to repair the aneurysm, Scott had a second one.

At that point, the Tribune reports that Scott's surgeon at Mayo Clinic, Rakesh Suri, M.D., gave him two options: another open heart surgery or going home to spend his last days with his family. Despite the risks, Scott tells the Tribune he knew what he had to do. "My chances, after the previous three (surgeries) and severity of the situation due to another aneurysm on the aorta, were extremely slim," he says. "I knew right away that I would have the surgery, because at least I had a chance at survival." [...]

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Tags: Dr Rakesh Suri, heart transplant

October 16th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

The Doctor Is In (the Kiosk)

By In the Loop

KioskAlthough teleporting yourself to a doctor's office far, far away may still be in the distant future (or a medically themed sci-fi movie), the next best thing is much closer to home than you might think. Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, Minnesota, is piloting a program called Mayo Clinic Health Connection, where health care providers can see patients remotely -- beaming up their images, if you will.

As KAAL-TV tells it, the program uses a kiosk called the HealthSpot -- "about the size of a walk-in closet" -- which is a "self-contained unit" where patients can access medical care for common conditions. Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea/Austin CEO Mark Ciota, M.D., tells KAAL, "The patient will walk in and have a very high-quality interaction with the provider" even though "the provider can be anywhere else in the world." A patient in Austin, for example, could see a provider in Albert Lea.

Melissa Barr, clinic operations manager, and Scot Ramsey, operations administrator, demonstrated how the kiosk works for the folks at the Albert Lea Tribune. Barr sat inside the kiosk on the second floor of the health system building in Austin while Ramsey sat several rooms away. Ramsey was able to converse with and listen to Barr's heartbeat through an electronic stethoscope that she held to her heart. [...]

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Tags: Albert Lea, Austin, Dr Mark Ciota, Mayo Clinic Health System, Melissa Barr, Scot Ramsey, telemedicine

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