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Hildred "Peggy" Lyons' first signs of liver problems occurred back in 1968, around the time of her son's birth, when her physician noticed she had elevated liver enzymes. An otherwise healthy woman who worked and also volunteered as a fitness instructor at her church teaching several classes a day to both adults and children, Lyons dismissed it as pregnancy-related and didn’t gave it much thought for the next 30 years. Unfortunately, her liver problems resurfaced right around the time she retired from her job at Proctor and Gamble in 1998. Lyons was told by her physician in her hometown of Albany, Ga., that her liver enzymes were more seriously elevated and that she should see a specialist for a diagnosis. He also told her to cut back teaching her exercise classes, something she was reluctant to do. After going to a medical center in Atlanta for an evaluation of her condition, she was left wondering what her next steps were as she grew progressively ill without any answers. Lyons turned to her church for support, where her pastor and fellow members prayed and fasted, hoping for an answer. On the last day of a 30-day fast, her pastor received a call from "a total stranger" in her community who said, "The answer is in Jacksonville, Fla., at the Mayo Clinic."
Written by Elaine Ginn, transplant patient at Mayo Clinic in Florida As I sit here at the Mayo Clinic lab on the Florida campus waiting to be called for a lab draw of a dozen or so tubes of my blood, my mind returns four years to the time before my liver and kidney transplant surgery. I can't say I had given up, as that just isn't in my nature, but I had become so ill that I could imagine myself slipping into oblivion and perhaps not minding. It was December, about five months before the transplant, and my two local grandchildren had come over to spend the night and help me decorate the Christmas tree. Isabel, who had just turned four, would carefully take each ornament from its storage box and exclaim, "Gramma, isn't this the most beautiful 'ordament' you have ever seen?" Then she would carefully place it on my condo-sized fir, about as tall as Isabel herself. She would admire her work and ask Javier, her charming 8-year-old brother, if he didn't also think it was beautiful. He would nod his head briefly, preferring to focus on the TV, where "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" was commanding his attention. After she had loaded the tiny tree with more beautiful 'ordaments' than it should have held, I finally tucked the two of them into their makeshift beds, with the proverbial "visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads." I made my way to kitchen to clean up the cocoa mugs and the dishes from dinner. While standing at the sink with my hands in dishwater, my little curly headed princess walked out to the kitchen and hugged my legs, murmuring something I could not make out over the running water. I turned off the faucet, dried my hands, knelt down to her level and asked her to repeat what she had said. My heart melted as her soft little voice repeated, "You are my most love, Gramma. You are my most love." If ever there was a reason to live, this was it. If 2009 was to be my last Christmas, it would be enjoyed with a very full heart.
I have been going to Mayo Clinic since 1985. When I was 6 years old, a doctor gave me an injection into left buttocks of Terramycin, ...
Written by Barry M. Bloom When I arrived at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., that September day almost five years ago, my care for colon cancer was fractured and really a mess. I had suffered through a second bout of the disease, when the cancer jumped from the colon to the lung. After surgery to bisect the upper lobe of the left lung, I had just embarked on a six-month program of chemotherapy. A local hospital had bungled the pathology from the original colon surgery in February 2008, discovered only when I went to a facility in Texas for a second opinion. As it turned out, at the time of the original colon resection, a trace of cancer was evident in a lymph node, doctors there discovered. Had my oncologist at the time possessed that information, he would have immediately placed me on a course of chemo. He didn't, and suddenly I had become a Stage IV cancer patient for the worst of reasons: medical error. Just as bad, the surgeon who performed the original colon surgery did such a poor job sewing up my abdomen that it created an incision hernia. When she fixed the hernia, she told me she had inserted some mesh to pull the area together. That turned out to be false. The hernia surgery had to performed again. This time she demurred and sent me to another surgeon, who did the job properly. No apology from the doctor or the local hospital has ever been forthcoming. In the late summer of 2009, the second opinion confirming the spot on my lung, the biopsy, the surgery itself, and my first chemo sessions were reminded me of the times I was given flu shots in the pharmacy of a Safeway. My anxiety was at an untenable level, and as now the CEO of my own health care, I had learned an important lesson: the more doctors, clinics and hospitals involved without access to the same computer records, the greater chance for something to go wrong. That's when Mayo Clinic became involved.
For many years, those lucky enough to share a work space with Ruth Tibesar, a lab technician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, had come to expect to hear at least one thing when they came to work every day: Laughter. Because that's just the kind of person Ruth Tibesar is -- she enjoys making those around her smile. But a little more than two years ago, that laughter disappeared soon after Ruth's mother passed away. Soon after that, Ruth suffered a mild stroke while at work, and it was while she was in the hospital recovering that she says she began to feel herself change into a person she and those around her no longer knew. "I was angry," Ruth says. "I wasn't talking to anyone. Something had changed. But then I just went on like nothing was wrong." Once she left the hospital, however, Ruth began to realize something was, in fact, very wrong. "I started to withdraw from things and stopped talking altogether, which is odd for me," she says. "I began to isolate myself. That was a real trigger that something wasn't right." As were the sleepless nights. "Insomnia was another huge trigger for me," she says. "It gave me too much time to think." Still, she didn't feel like she needed help. Instead, Ruth says she went on living this way until she reached a point where she eventually just "went numb" inside. "I got to a point where I felt nothing," she says. "I had no emotions. I just stopped caring. I felt like a piece of mud -- like nothing. There was no spunk. No drive for the next day."