Cardiovascular patient stories

  1. From Patient to Advocate to Caregiver: Taking Charge of My Heart Health

    A heart attack at age 39 shocked Sandy Driggers into action. After surgery, Sandy lost weight, began exercising and went back to school to become a nurse. Now she helps others facing heart health challenges. Written by Sandy Driggers I struggled with my weight for the majority of my life. I never really gave a [...]

  2. Heart Transplant Puts an Active Athlete Back in Action

    Kraig Gresham was 47 years old when he received his heart transplant, but his journey to that life-changing surgery began years earlier. Kraig was born with aortic stenosis ? a birth defect that causes heart valves to narrow and obstruct blood flow. As a child he had heart problems as a result of his condition. [...]

  3. Daughter's Persistence Leads to Discovery of a Life-Threatening Aortic Aneurysm

    Morgan Burke spent years urging her father, Tony Burke, to make a doctor's appointment. When Tony was 12 years old, he had open-heart surgery at Mayo Clinic to repair aortic stenosis. But as an adult, the 48-year-old avoided most medical care. "I'm just that type. I don't go to the doctor ever ? unless I'm [...]

  4. Battling an Autoimmune Disorder Changes James Boddie?s Retirement Plans

    In April 2005, nine months after retiring from his job as assistant superintendent of Osseo School District in Maple Grove, Minnesota, James Boddie had a heart attack while riding his bike in Florida. When he arrived by helicopter at a local hospital in Bonita Springs, he was told he had 100 percent blockage in his [...]

  5. Mitral Clip Gets a Fisherman Back on the Water

    Fishing has been a big part of 83-year-old Bob Hamme's life since he was a child. "I just enjoy being out on the water or near water and fishing, just being with nature," he says. After being diagnosed with congestive heart failure due a leaky mitral valve, Bob was not only unable to enjoy fishing, [...]

  6. Local Politician Doesn't Skip a Beat With Mechanical Heart Pump

    While Walter "Junior" Boatright was running for a second term as Nassau county commissioner in northeast Florida in November 2012, he started to feel winded. At first, he chalked it up to getting older and just not having the same energy he used to, while campaigning 15 hours a day. But after the campaign was [...]

  7. Why I Walk: Alexandra Abreu-Figueroa

    Editor’s note: In this article, Alexandra Abreu-Figueroa, an intern in Public Affairs at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus, shares her story and discusses why she participates in the First Coast Heart Walk, an annual event sponsored by Mayo Clinic. Growing up, I was always overweight. During my teenage years, in particular, I struggled — losing and gaining [...]

  8. Celebrating 40 Twice as Nice After Recovery From Surprising Stroke

    It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and despite having house guests, Sherry Pinkstaff, Ph.D., awoke at 6 a.m., just as she did every day, and began planning her morning run. Sherry, then 39, ran daily. Exercise was important to her. After all, she’d made it her career. She was a professor of physical therapy at [...]

  9. Following Her Father's Last Words, Vivian Finds New Life Because of Mayo Clinic

    Vivian Tsai remembers the last words her father said to her: "See a doctor." He recognized her symptoms. For years, puzzling symptoms and a troubling medical condition had stalked their family. Growing up in Taiwan, Vivian was athletic and seemed to be healthy. However, she began to lose strength in her early 30s and went [...]

  10. Mom of 6-Year-Old Counts Reasons to Take Heart Health Seriously

    Marla Burkhart's story dates back to 2009, when she underwent an emergency cesarean section at Mayo Clinic eight weeks before her due date. Before the surgery took place, doctors discovered that Marla had a condition called peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare pregnancy-related heart condition that occurs in about 1 in 3,000 deliveries and causes inefficient blood [...]

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