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Patient Stories

  • Mike Schofield

    Two-Time Transplant Recipient Meets Donor's Family

    Michael Schofield
    After Michael Schofield had his first islet cell transplant in April 2012, he wrote a letter thanking the family of his donor. It was over a year before he heard back from the donor’s mother. That's when he learned they had more in common than the young man whose cells Michael was carrying. He was en route to meet the mother last June, when he got another exciting piece of news: UCSF had a donor for the second islet transplant that he needed. In the space of a week he connected with one donor's family and started a new connection with another.[...]
    Story Tags: Type 1 Diabetes
  • Herbert E. Barker Jr.

    "Exceptional" Care at UCSF Center for Colorectal Surgery for Rectal Cancer Survivor

    I too am a rectal cancer survivor. My relationships with the hospital at UCSF and with Dr. Varma’s team was like yours: exceptional. I am now nearly four years out from “D Day” (April 17, 2009) and thus far, no recurrence. We are truly fortunate and blessed to have been exposed to this disease when we were. There is now so much that can be done with the number of treatments available. Hope you are now and remain ok. I continue to support the UCSF Center for Colorectal Surgery as I participate in the research project. And, I too got back to a gym routine and feel great. Good luck! -Herbert[...]
    Story Tags: Rectal Cancer
  • Dan Martin

    Minimally Invasive Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) Rules Out Cancer

    Earlier today Dr. Hueylan Chern called me to let me know that I don’t have cancer and that the transanal endoscopic microsurgical (TEM) excision procedure was a success. I really don’t know how to say ‘Thank You’ in a way that relays my true emotions. Obviously, I’m ecstatic and my family is also. You were my first contact at UCSF, you made the recommendation to use this procedure and it will forever positively impact my life. I am also especially happy that we went with the TEM over the more invasive procedure. Along the way you helped reassure me that you thought this was the right[...]
    Story Tags: Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM)
  • Tom Bassett

    Hitting Cancer "Hard and Heavy"

    I found out I had colorectal cancer at 47. As an otherwise active and healthy person, when I saw traces of blood where they shouldn’t be, I chalked it up to my bike riding. Yet because of a family history of colon cancer and a father-in-law in the medical field, I thought I would preemptively get a colonoscopy, which turned out to be a wise decision.  Results for patients who discover colorectal cancer early are generally good, and the majority of patients with early stage disease are cured. However, despite my luck at finding the cancer early on, it was staged as III. I would require[...]
    Story Tags: Colon Cancer
  • Courtney Annotti

    Life After Ulcerative Colitis Surgery Feels Amazing

    Colorectal Photo Courntey Annotti
    My name is Courtney Annotti. I’m 22 years old and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) eight years ago. UC is a chronic condition that causes long-lasting inflammation in the large intestine. For years I experienced pain that would come and go, and the anxiety of always having to know where a bathroom was. I tried several medications to control my symptoms, but to no avail. Concerned that my condition was worsening day by day, my gastroenterologist referred me to UCSF to meet with Dr. Madhulika Varma, Chief of Colorectal Surgery at UCSF.  When I met with Dr. Varma, I immediately felt[...]
    Story Tags: ColectomyOstomy Surgery: Ileostomy & ColostomyUlcerative Colitis
  • Mark Carpenter

    Preparing for a Triathlon after Outrunning Espophageal Cancer

    Mark Carpenter After Running NYC Marathon
    My name is Mark Carpenter, and I owe my life to the doctors and nurses at UCSF.  My story began in January 2010, when it became difficult to swallow. A few weeks later my general practitioner delivered the news that changed my life forever: I had esophageal cancer.  I went first to a surgeon in my local community who was unwilling to operate given the advanced stage of the tumor. Along with my wife, I decided to search for a second opinion. We were referred to UCSF where we met with Dr. David Jablons, chief of Thoracic Surgery and program leader of the Thoracic Oncology Program, who[...]
    Story Tags: Esophageal CancerEsophagectomy
  • Fran Cruse

    Surgery Gives Grandmother "A Cherished Gift Every Day"

    Fran Cruse With Her Grandchildren
    In 2002, my mother, Fran Cruse, was diagnosed with Stage II lung cancer. In the following months, my three siblings and I took her to surgeons and oncologists near her home in Carson City, Nevada. Because the tumor was extremely large and pressing against her aorta, the doctors told us there was nothing they could do – that she should just enjoy the time she had left with her family.  We were devastated. At the time, my mother was a vigorous 60-year-old woman with eight grandchildren. Although she had a serious illness, she wanted to do all she could to fight the cancer. We scoured the[...]
    Story Tags: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Alyssa Welch

    A Story of Hope and Survival

    Amanda, Kim, Alyssa.jpg
     Alyssa flanked by mother Kim and older sister My name is Kim Welch, and my daughter Alyssa’s story is one of hope and survival. She was born 15 years ago with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). ARPKD causes severe damage to both your kidney and liver. Alyssa was two and a half years old when she had her first kidney transplant. Ten days after her successful kidney transplant, unrelated to her congenital disease, Alyssa was diagnosed with eye cancer. Her left eye was surgically removed and replaced with an artificial one. Time marched on and so did Alyssa’s[...]
    Story Tags: Kidney TransplantPolycystic Kidney Disease
  • Dwayne Teach

    I Feel Incredibly Lucky to Be Alive

    Dwayne Teach Pic2.jpg
    My name is Dwayne Teach and I feel incredibly lucky to be alive to share my story with you today. I had a massive pulmonary embolism in 2007 followed by a gastric bypass in 2009.  Three years ago I received a new heart and could not be more grateful for the care delivered by the University of California, San Francisco. In the matter of a week, my entire life changed. It all began with flu-like symptoms on a Monday. I was feeling much worse by Thursday so I decided to go to the hospital. After checking in at my local hospital in Fortuna I was transferred to a larger institution in Eureka. On[...]
    Story Tags: Heart Transplant
  • Sheila FitzPatrick

    Due Diligence Pays Off

    Sheila Fitzpatrick.jpg
    An international attorney specializing in data privacy and employment law, Sheila FitzPatrick spent three weeks of every month hopscotching the globe. Curious and passionate, she nurtured a worldwide network of friends who became her second family. A self-described "super-active" person, she loved heart-pounding 2-mile swims in the morning and long, leisurely walks around the great cities of Europe. She approached staying healthy with the same drive. Regular checkups never revealed the slightest hint of kidney disease. But in 2008, her[...]
    Story Tags: DialysisEnd-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)Kidney Transplant
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