Martha Floberg 2016-11-16 15:14:05
NorthShore and Mayo Clinic Experts Collaborate to Attack Rare Cancer It was a frustrating odyssey for Dennis Soohey. The 63-year-old spent six years visiting specialists across the country to find the origin of his daily bouts of head pressure and the once-a-year episodes where he had difficulty speaking. “One doctor after another couldn’t find anything wrong with me,” said Soohey. “They either misdiagnosed me or gave me treatments that didn’t work.” At one point, the retired operating engineer, who lives in Valparaiso, Indiana, was misdiagnosed with a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a ministroke caused by a temporary loss of blood flow to the brain. CONNECTED TO EXPERT CARE Desperately searching the internet for information about her dad’s medical issues, Soohey’s daughter Jill discovered NorthShore’s multidisciplinary stroke team and connected with one of several fellowship-trained experts, Dan Homer, MD. “He was the first doctor who put the pieces together,” said Jackie, Soohey’s wife, “and we knew we were in the right place.” “I read through Dennis’ medical records, and his most recent diagnosis of TIA didn’t add up,” said Dr. Homer. He partnered with Kellogg Cancer Center Neuro-Oncologist Ryan Merrell, MD, to zero in on the real issue. The two physicians, who hold academic appointments at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, initially suspected cancer or infection of the central nervous system. Eventually, they determined through a brain MRI and spinal fluid testing that the source was a rare brain cancer: marginal zone lymphoma. COLLABORATION WITH MAYO CLINIC Soohey’s care team then tapped into NorthShore’s ongoing relationship with the Mayo Clinic Care Network. A consultation with Mayo Clinic Hematologist Grzegorz Nowakowski, MD, confirmed the lymphoma diagnosis. Then, the collaborative team pinpointed the right treatment plan to attack it. “This is a good example of our shared efforts to help patients with complex conditions,” explained Dr. Nowakowski. “Through our combined expertise, Mr. Soohey was able to receive care locally while benefiting from the review of his case at both Mayo Clinic and NorthShore.” Dr. Merrell initially started Soohey on a chemotherapy regimen close to his home in Valparaiso, 50 miles from his NorthShore team. Later, he determined Soohey needed a more potent regimen of chemo, administered during a hospital stay. “NorthShore has a strong team in place for these patients, including specially trained nurses who can administer the drug and monitor patients for toxic side effects,” said Dr. Merrell. “While Dennis is still undergoing treatment, his prognosis is favorable.” “NorthShore’s relationship with Mayo Clinic speaks volumes about its commitment to patients,” noted Soohey. “They’re not afraid to ask other physicians their opinion, and together, they do what’s best. That’s all we can ask for.”
Published by Staywell/NorthShore University. View All Articles.
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