Patient Stories

A tall, rugged twenty-year old at Rutgers University, Joe Deen spent a lot of time outdoors, hiking, backpacking and working at a Boy Scout camp. In 2006, he developed brachycardia, an unusually slow heartbeat, that doctors linked to Lyme disease. But when the tests for Lyme were inconclusive and the problem persisted, Joe received a pacemaker. One year later, he was diagnosed with heart block and learned that he was in the early stages of congestive heart failure. In 2009, just months after his graduation, Joe's heart wasn't pumping enough blood so Dr. Yoshifumi Naka performed an emergency LVAD surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia.
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For Lucien Zito, the process of finding appropriate treatment for his pancreatic cancer was a strenuous and protracted ordeal, adding to the stress of the diagnosis. Fortunately for this energetic 65-year-old former real estate developer, he was able to draw upon a loving and supportive family and substantial inner resources for support.
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Betsy Hilfiger, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger's sister, never had reason to believe she was at risk for pancreatic cancer. Trained as a nurse, she was well aware of the illness and its known risk factors--smoking and heredity among others. The Hilfigers had some cancer in their family, but none of the cancer syndromes associated with pancreatic cancer or pancreatic cancer itself. But a routine battery of bloodwork showing abnormalities in her liver enzymes led Betsy to discover she pancreatic mucus cell cysts. While initially benign, if left alone they almost always become malignant.
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Alia suffered from a a sensitive digestive system that was originally treated as acid reflux. In 2009, as a 19-year-old college freshman, she was diagnosed with a benign tumor in the head of her pancreas. She underwent a Whipple procedure at the Pancreas Center, and part of her pancreas was removed.
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Minimally invasive test solves JM’s medical mystery, guiding his doctors to correctly diagnose and treat a deceptive adrenal condition.
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Liesbeth Stoeffler was an active woman in her 30s when she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that, over time, leads to recurrent pneumonia, lung destruction, and ultimately death. By the time Liesbeth was in her 50s, her disease had progressed to the point that she needed lung transplantation – the only life-saving therapy for patients with cystic fibrosis.
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