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Patient Stories

  • 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
  • Susie Rember

    Insulin-Free Patient Grateful for Islet Transplant

    Susie Rember
    Susan Rember was eight years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1957. At the time, diabetics used glass syringes, tested their urine for sugar levels and were told they could never live a normal life. But Rember was mostly free from major complications for 50 years, until she suffered a heart attack in 2005. She had a quintuple by-pass, but when three of the grafted vessels immediately failed, the Denver-based artist began exploring the possibility of an islet transplant. In 2007, she got new islets through a clinical study[...]
    Story Tags: Type 1 Diabetes
  • Sandy Raffi-Rashed

    Surgery Ends Decades of Obesity, New Life Begins

    Sandy Raffi-Rashed after losing 185 pounds
    Sandy Raffi-Rashed after losing 185 poundsWhen Sandy Raffi-Rashed, a 60-year-old mother of two, went to the airport to pick up her youngest son visiting from Manhatten, he didn't recognize her. "I was waving to him from the car and he thought, 'Who is that strange woman waving at me?" says Raffi-Rashed, of Novato, Calif. "Then, when he saw me, he said, 'Oh my God!'" His mother had undergone a transformation after weight-loss surgery. In July of 2011, Raffi-Rashed had gastric bypass surgery at the Bariatric Surgery Center at UCSF Medical[...]
    Story Tags: Laparoscopic Gastric BypassObesityPost-Bariatric Body Contouring
  • Suitulaga "Sugi" Hunkin

    Heart Failure Patient Loses 100 Pounds Before Transplant Surgery

    UCSF News reports on the use of a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) as a bridge to a heart transplant allowing a patient to lose the weight needed to undergo the procedure: Suitulaga "Sugi" Hunkin has been overweight most of his life. He attributes that to his love of food and his Samoan ancestry.  Because of his size, he also had trouble breathing and experienced irregular heartbeat - symptoms his doctors diagnosed as heart disease called cardiomyopathy, which usually leads to heart failure... He needed heart transplantation surgery to replace his failing heart, but before that could[...]
    Story Tags: Heart FailureVentricular Assist Device (VAD)
  • Sloane Rilliet

    After Specialized Prenatal and Newborn Care, a Healthy Girl

    Sloane Rilliet
    Halfway through her pregnancy, Elizabeth Gedney learned her baby had congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or CDH, a potentially life-threatening defect in which the diaphragm doesn't form properly in utero. Gedney's case was relatively mild, but she required close monitoring throughout her pregnancy. Her daughter, Sloane, received intensive care after birth, followed by several surgeries to repair her diaphragm. Gedney speaks about the diagnosis and Sloane's treatment at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. How did you find out Sloane had congenital[...]
    Story Tags: Congenital Diaphragmatic HerniaFetal Surgery
  • Kim Mendes

    Insulin Free for the First Time in 40 Years

    Kim Mendes
    Bay Area native Kim Mendes has lived most of her life with Type 1 diabetes and the disease has taken a heavy toll on her body, causing a host of medical problems including peripheral neuropathy, heart disease, kidney disease and a compromised immune system. She got an islet transplant in 2010 and has been insulin free ever since. How long have you had diabetes? This is my 40th year as a Type 1 diabetic. I was seven years old when I was diagnosed. I had fallen into a diabetic coma and insulin brought me out. From that moment on I was[...]
    Story Tags: Type 1 Diabetes
  • Lindsey Friedberg

    Young Woman Reinvents Herself After Weight-loss Surgery

    "My personality was being swallowed by the fat just like the rest of me," says Lindsey Friedberg, a 23-year-old graduate student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Friedberg, who grew up in Ocean City, N.J., surrounded by "slender and tan" girls, has battled her weight all of her life. Her high school years were spent counting calories, eating raw food, drinking 12 bottles of water a day and writing down everything she ate, including the gum she chewed and number of mints. But nothing worked. When Friedberg's mother, who[...]
    Story Tags: Obesity
  • Jeff Grubbs

    "Ticking Time Bomb" Regains Health After Bariatric Surgery

    Jeff Grubbs, of Galt, Calif., describes his old self as a "ticking time bomb." At his heaviest, the 48-year-old — who is 5 feet, 7.5 inches tall — weighed 311 pounds. He had a body mass index (BMI) of 47, qualifying him as morbidly obese. The extra weight took a dramatic toll on his health. Grubbs suffered from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems and back pain, requiring him to take up to 15 pills a day. In December of 2010, Grubbs made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery at UCSF's Bariatric Surgery Center,[...]
    Story Tags: Laparoscopic Gastric BypassObesityType 2 Diabetes
  • Amy Baghdadi

    The Gift of a Lifetime

    Amy Baghdadi
    Amy Baghdadi was living a perfectly normal life — working as a lawyer and raising two young kids with her husband in San Francisco. While training for a half marathon her side would ache after long runs. She figured it was just pulled a muscle. Then one evening the pain was so excruciating that her husband made her go to the emergency room. An ultrasound revealed that her liver was full of tumors, which were quickly diagnosed as cancer. After an aggressive chemotherapy regimen failed, Baghdadi's treatment options were running out. Liver[...]
    Story Tags: Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma)Liver TransplantLiving Donor Liver Transplant
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