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Patient Stories

  • Alison Wesley

    After Islet Transplant, Glucose Control is "Amazing"

    Islet Cell
    UCSF News reports on the experience of Alison Wesley who had "brittle" Type 1 diabetes and received an islet transplant, infusions of pancreatic islets, also called islets of Langerhans, enabling her to effectively control her glucose level. Frontiers of Clinical Research: Islet Transplantation Alison Wesley received her diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes when she was just 11 years old, after she developed the classic symptoms of the disease – severe weight loss, excessive thirst, sugar cravings, frequent urination, and feeling lethargic. To treat the diabetes, doctors put her on the first[...]
    Story Tags: Type 1 Diabetes
  • Clare Dowling

    Back in the Saddle

    Clare Dowling and Smokey
    Clare Dowling and Smokey, one year after her transplant. Just before her 19th birthday, Clare Dowling got a terrifying surprise. The college freshman and competitive equestrian learned she had an extremely rare, dangerous and poorly understood lung condition, called pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD). Characterized by high blood pressure in the lung area, PVOD has no treatment other than a lung transplant. Dowling's PVOD progressed quickly. Three months after the diagnosis, she was living in the hospital,[...]
    Story Tags: Lung Transplant
  • Alfonso Garcia

    A Young Man Saves Teen's Life

    Alfonso Garcia was just like any other typical healthy and active 16-year-old. He dreamed of attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, boxing, and serving in the military like his two other brothers. Then, in January 2010, he suddenly started feeling sick. He became feverish, anemic, fatigued and jaundiced. Alfonso found out that he had Wilson's disease, a rare genetic disorder in which copper in the body isn't properly eliminated and instead accumulates, damaging the liver and nervous system. Alfonso and his family received a grave[...]
    Story Tags: Liver TransplantWilson Disease
  • Jim Hom

    Wanderlust Continues After Kidney Transplant

    Jim Hom is an avid traveler, who would rather be exploring remote parts of the world than sitting on a couch. So, when Hom learned that he had diabetes in his early 40s, he knew he had to make some immediate life changes. He started exercising more and watching his blood sugar by limiting his carbohydrate intake. While vacationing with his family in Maui in 2001, Hom broke out in a rash. He felt tired and weak. A local doctor diagnosed him with shingles and suspected that his kidneys weren't functioning properly. When Hom returned to[...]
    Story Tags: DialysisKidney Transplant
  • Douglas Weil

    Neck-Lift Success Story Highlighted in NY Times

    The New York Times reports on the use of neck-lifts, a plastic surgery procedure to improve sagging necks and double chins. The Times interviewed William Y. Hoffman, M.D. (pictured right), Professor and Chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UCSF for the story.   NECKS don't lie. Sagging there betrays age like the rings on a tree, and now-common Botox and fillers in the face make neck imperfections stand out in stark relief. In her 2006 best-seller, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," Nora Ephron, by then 65 and a resolved turtleneck wearer, raged against the injustice of[...]
    Story Tags: Cosmetic Surgery
  • Bicknell Ramsay

    Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Treatment Saves Limb

    Bicknell Ramsay — a 74-year-old retired engineer who lives a fully active life — was concerned that a wound on his foot would not heal. Having volunteered for a clinical study on peripheral artery disease (PAD), he described the wound to the principal investigator, UCSF nurse practitioner Roberta Oka, R.N., DNSc. She referred Ramsay to Michael S. Conte, M.D., (pictured at right on left), Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at UCSF Medical Center. By then, the wound exceeded two centimeters and was enlarging. After an ankle-brachial index test found only 30 percent of normal[...]
    Story Tags: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)Coronary Artery DiseaseCritical Limb IschemiaLower Extremity Bypass SurgeryPeripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
  • Dipti Anderson

    Once a Patient, She Now Guides Others through Treatment

    If you're a new breast cancer patient at UCSF, Dipti Anderson is one of the first people you're likely to meet. As a patient liaison, Anderson helps women navigate the often overwhelming new world of treatments, tests and appointments, alerting them to the many support services available at UCSF and answering their questions. Equally important, she's a sympathetic ear and a reassuring voice. "I always ease their worries by telling them they've come to the right place," she says. Sometimes she also shares where her deep confidence in UCSF[...]
    Story Tags: Breast CancerBreast Reconstruction
  • Jessica Galloway

    Breast Cancer Turns San Francisco Mom into Advocate

    Jessica Galloway hates to be called a 'cancer survivor.' It's been four years since she began her battle with breast cancer, and she feels healthy and strong, but the thought that her cancer might return is never far from her mind, and she resists the label of conquering hero. "I don't know that I will survive breast cancer," she says. But you could certainly call her a fighter. Once diagnosed, the former competitive ski racer attacked her disease like she might have tackled a ski course: with all the effort she could muster. In addition to[...]
    Story Tags: Breast Cancer
  • Garrett La Fever

    Man Replaces Severed Thumb With Toe

    The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UCSF provides service to patients from literally head to toe. Surgeons have the technical expertise to perform a wide array of cosmetic procedures and also provide highly specialized surgical procedures for a host of other problems including craniofacial and cleft lip surgery, microvascular reconstruction, and treatment of complex wounds. For patients like Garrett La Fever, who lost his thumb in a woodworking accident, this expertise can mean all the difference. Using a novel technique, Dr. Scott Hansen collaborated with Dr. Charles Lee[...]
    Story Tags: Microvascular Surgery
  • Garrett Lafever

    Toe to Thumb Surgery Heals Beautifully

    ABC7News.com in San Francisco reports in on a follow up on a story in which a patient underwent a  toe-to-thumb transplant, a complex microsurgery, to restore function in his hand. The team peforming the surgery included Scott L. Hansen, M.D. (pictured right), Chief of Hand and Microvascular Surgery at UCSF and Charles Lee, M.D, St. Mary's Microsurgery Director: A follow up on a story we first brought you a year ago. Garret Lafever lost his thumb in a woodworking accident. It was a devastating loss since the thumb is responsible for 40 percent of function of the hand. But a team of doctors[...]
    Story Tags: Microvascular Surgery
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