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Patient Stories

  • Richard Wodrich

    Chico Resident Richard Wodrich Receives Lung Transplant at UCSF Medical Center

    Richard Wodrich LTX Patient
    The Chico News and Review reports on the journey of Richard Wodrich to the double lung transplant he received at UCSF Medical Center for treatment of irreversible and incurable chronic lung disease. The transplant was performed by Dr. Jasleen Kukreja, Surgical Director of the UCSF Lung Transplant Program.  Longtime local bluegrass musician Richard Wodrich loves to sing and play guitar, but that became progressively more difficult over the last decade or so, to the point where he had trouble just breathing—let alone playing music. About four years ago, he was formally diagnosed with[...]
    Story Tags: Lung Transplant
  • Marla Levy

    "Miracle Patient" Receives the Gift Of Life

    ADCT Photo Marla Levy With Dr Merrick
    My name is Marla Levy and I owe my life to Dr. Scot Merrick, Chief of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery at UCSF. My story begins in Southern California when I was 21 and diagnosed with a congenital heart defect: supravalvular aortic stenosis or SVAS. SVAS develops before birth and causes narrowing of the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. At age 27, I had my first open heart surgery. My aorta was replaced with a human valve, and when doctors couldn’t get my heart to start after the procedure, I received an emergency right coronary bypass.[...]
    Story Tags: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)Heart Valve DiseaseSupravalvular Aortic Stenosis
  • Ken Byk

    An Unexpected Journey After Crossing the Finish Line

    Ken Byk.jpg
    I had just crossed the finish line at Bay to Breakers, a 12 kilometer footrace that takes place in San Francisco each spring, when I suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed on the ground. Luckily for me, of the 10,000 race participants, the one that rushed to my aid was an anesthesiologist who performed CPR for 20 minutes before restoring my pulse. I was taken by ambulance to the University of California, San Francisco, where I had a second cardiac arrest and was again resuscitated. I later learned that I had severe coronary artery disease. There were two 90% blockages in my arteries,[...]
    Story Tags: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Bonnie Adario

    Former Executive Employs Skills To Fight Lung Cancer

    SFGate (San Francisco Chronicle Online) reports on lung cancer survivor Bonnie J. Addario and her inspiration to start an organization, The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, to make  strides in the fight against lung cancer.  Addario received the Jefferson Award for her work. Bonnie J. Addario broke barriers by becoming one of the country's top female oil company executives. Now, she is parlaying her professional prowess into running one of the country's largest lung-cancer foundations Twenty-two years ago, with just a high school education, Addario started out as a secretary and[...]
    Story Tags: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Karen Peterson

    Brothers in Arms - Working Nights at UCSF to Cure Mesothelioma, Spurred by a Widower's Grief and Hard-Raised Cash

    SFGate.com reports on the collaboration of David M. Jablons, M.D. and Jeff Peterson whose wife Karen and died from mesothelioma, a devastating disease. Dr. David Jablons couldn't save Karen Peterson's life or even extend it. But he could give quality to whatever life she had left. That turned out to be about nine months, long enough for her twin boys to see her waterskiing on Lake Tahoe and boogie-boarding in Oceanside and laughing more than coughing.  Jablons, chief cardiothoracic surgeon at UCSF, was the last in a line of specialists Peterson had sought out coast to coast in a 22-month[...]
    Story Tags: Malignant Mesothelioma
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