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Patient Stories

  • 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
  • Lori MacKenzie

    Innovative DIEP Flap Microsurgery an Alternative to Breast Implants

    SFGate.com reports on "free DIEP Flap", an innovative reconstructive  microsurgery performed by breast reconstructive surgeons in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at UCSF. The team, led by Hani Sbitany, M.D., Co-Director of the UCSF Center for Reconstructive Microsurgery and Director of the Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction Program, performs the surgery as an alternative to implants during post-mastectomy reconstruction. UCSF is one of the high volume centers for this procedure in the country. Dr. Sbitany's patient, Lori MacKenzie, underwent the procedure after an[...]
    Story Tags: Breast CancerBreast ReconstructionMicrovascular Surgery
  • Sarah Morse

    Overcoming a Frightening Family History and Her Own Doubts

    sarah morse
    Sarah Morse Sarah Morse, 72, lives in San Francisco's Fillmore District. She and her husband have three grown children and six grandchildren, and enjoy visiting their renovated 1956 Airstream, parked on the hillside of a friend's Sonoma County vineyard. Morse is also a breast cancer survivor. Diagnosed at 59, she was certain she didn't have a chance of surving but swore that if she did, she would find a way to help others. Today, Morse is cancer-free — and living up to her promise. You can watch a[...]
    Story Tags: Breast Cancer
  • 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
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