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As a recent graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in public relations, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to become an intern in the Public Affairs department at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. Given its reputation for providing first-class patient care while pioneering research and education, I was excited to volunteer with such a renowned organization while furthering my skills as communicator. While I was not sure that healthcare would be my calling, interestingly, fate has a way of making things even more relevant.
Between the time I was offered the internship and my first day on the job, I found out that one of my uncles had a stroke. My family was shaken. No one in our family had ever had a stroke before, so our knowledge of the condition was limited. To say the least, we felt helpless and unsure of what to do.
Immediately I went online to learn more about stroke. I also was introduced to Lesia Mooney, R.N., who is part of Mayo Clinic’s Stroke Center. Mooney patiently took time to answer all of my questions and I appreciated her honesty.
One of the things she shared with me was that once a person suffers a stroke, their chance for recurrence increases. I asked about how to reduce one’s risk for recurrence and was surprised to learn that simple lifestyle changes are key – taking prescribed medications appropriately, exercising, limiting stress and monitoring his cholesterol and blood pressure.
I also learned that eating healthy is important too since trans fats can also increase my risk. I found this information from one of Mayo’s nutritionist helpful as I made a commitment to try more fruits and vegetables.
-- Kristen Lacoste, former public affairs intern