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El Camino Hospital and Me

A Special Thank You to El Camino Hospital Los Gatos: Maria’s Story

Every day, hospitals around the country receive thank you notes for helping a loved one through a disease or injury and nursing them back to health. And each year countless moms and dads send thank you cards to hospitals for helping deliver their little bundles of joy, whose smiling photos often adorn the notes. But the thank you sent by Maria in the summer of 2013 was of a very different nature. It came to El Camino Hospital shortly after the passing of her beloved father...

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Brachytherapy and External Radiation Used Together to Fight Prostate Cancer: Henry’s Story

Henry is one of those men. After a routine physical exam at age 71, Henry learned he had prostate cancer. He was referred to Scott Angell, M.D., a urologist with Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Dr. Angell discussed the options with Henry, and they decided to combine hormone therapy...

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Mammogram Fear Eased Thanks to Caring Staff at Breast Health Center

“The first time I had to schedule my mammogram, I was petrified," recalls Melissa, a patient of the Breast Health Center at El Camino Hospital’s Mountain View campus. “But I knew I had to have one since I had already turned 40 and I have a family history of cancer.”

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Akila’s Story: Educating South Asians about Heart Disease

Did you know South Asians have a higher risk of heart disease than other ethnic groups? Studies have shown that coronary artery disease strikes South Asians at a four-fold rate compared to the general population. Ongoing research also indicates that South Asians in the United States and in urban India suffer heart attacks at an earlier age, often without prior symptoms or warning.

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After A Long Struggle With Sleep Apnea, Michael Finds the Right Care at the Sleep Disorders Program in Los Gatos

For millions of Americans, sleep disorders are all too common. While some of us have trouble with the process of getting to sleep, still others wake up in the night and can’t seem to fall back to sleep, no matter how many sheep they might count.

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Doctors Mend a Broken Heart on Valentine’s Day 2012: Ruth’s Story

Shortly before her 51st birthday, Ruth, a software engineer from Sunnyvale, began to notice some unusual cardiac symptoms. Ruth says she was excessively tired and felt like her heart was "working overtime" when she rode her bike or worked out at the gym.

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Bay Area Family Finds Their Medical "Home" at the Senior Health Center: Marie's Story

For more than 70 years, Marie lived in her favorite city, San Francisco, enjoying life in a neighborhood surrounded by beautiful hills and vistas. But as she grew older, living alone in a big city became more challenging, especially after she broke her hip.

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High PSA Leads to Diagnosis of Enlarged Prostate: Charlie's Story

During a routine medical visit, Charlie, 65, had his PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level tested to check for prostate cancer or other prostate problems. "My PSA was high--I scored a 9.0--so they referred me to a urologist," says Charlie, who went to see Edward Karpman, M.D., a urologist with the Men's Health Program at El Camino Hospital Los Gatos.

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VTA Driver Helps Get the Word Out on Prostate Cancer: Randy's Story

In 2009, Randy had his first blood test measuring his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland. Although doctors disagree somewhat on what is considered "normal" for PSA levels, according to the National Cancer Institute, when PSA numbers begin to rise in a patient, it can indicate a prostate problem (prostate cancer or a non-cancerous prostate condition).

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Highway Patrolman Shares Tales of Road Crashes and Other Injuries: Mike's Story

"I had just parked my motorcycle on the side of the road when a car crashed into me and sent me flying," recalls Mike, explaining the reason for one of his many orthopedic surgeries. How many surgeries has Mike had in the 28 years he spent as a California Highway Patrolman (now retired)? Almost a dozen (his 12th will occur later this year).

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All in the Family: Rick and Father-In-Law, Poppy, Have Hips Replaced at El Camino Hospital

"A few years ago, I started having problems with my hips and my knees," recalls Rick, a high school teacher from Mountain View, California. "Unfortunately my job required a fair amount of walking and climbing up stairs to get to my classes, so I was often in pain." Rick especially hated fire-drill days at school because they involved a quarter-mile walk, and Rick could barely manage that.

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Enjoying Life at 97 Thanks to Care Provided by Senior Health Center: Louise's Story

At 97, Louise is fortunate to be in relatively good health. She attends regular exercise classes at the YMCA, walks in her yard, and gets around on her own with the help of a walker that she calls "Red Rider."

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Angela's Story: Raising Awareness of Ovarian Cancer

"My mom died from ovarian cancer when I was 18," says Angela Moran, a 42-year-old technology professional and mother of two. "She was only 49." Even though Angela's mother was a nurse at the time, she didn't recognize the symptoms of ovarian cancer until it was too late.

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Overcoming Clinical Depression: Helen's Story

"I've battled depression most of my life," says Helen, 81, a patient-turned-volunteer with the Older Adult Transition Services (OATS) program at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. Although Helen doesn't know exactly what triggered her depression, family history and a cancer diagnosis played a role.

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Finding Relief from the Pain of Interstitial Cystitis: Barbara’s Story

Five years ago, Barbara went to a urologist for what she initially assumed to be a recurring bladder infection. "The pain was burning, and it was constant," recalls Barbara. "It was like a scalpel cutting into me, slice after slice. It was just horrible." Barbara also found that she was running to the bathroom several times an hour to urinate, and she could barely get any sleep at night.

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Anna’s Story: Pelvic Pain Cured Through Pelvic Physical Therapy--New Field in Women’s Health

Lots of women have had gynecological surgery, but Anna has had more surgeries than most. In the past two decades, she has had surgery for a birth defect, three C-sections, surgery for fibroids and a hysterectomy. Four years ago, Anna had an additional operation for urinary incontinence. The surgery succeeded, and Anna was no longer leaking urine, but unfortunately it led to another problem--chronic pelvic pain.

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Watchful Waiting Followed by Robotic Surgery: Wayne's Prostate Cancer Story

In 2003, Wayne* learned he had prostate cancer. Although a cancer diagnosis is never good, Wayne was happy to hear it was still early-stage, meaning it had not grown significantly or spread outside of the prostate. If prostate cancer is caught early, many men choose "active surveillance" instead of immediate treatment; active surveillance involves monitoring the cancer and looking for changes over time. Wayne decided this was the best option for him.

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Prostate Cancer Treated Through Robotic Surgery: Jim's Story

During a routine physical in 2010, Jim's doctor detected a possible prostate abnormality, and referred Jim to a urologist for further examination. A biopsy revealed Jim had early-stage prostate cancer. Since Jim was only in his 50s, he wanted the cancer treated as soon as possible, so he could return to work and put the worries of a cancer diagnosis behind him.

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Tumor Board Key to Successful Cancer Treatment: Jean's Story

Although Jean has a family history of cancer, like most people, she never wanted to think about the fact that it could possibly happen to her, too. So when she started feeling some unusual symptoms in early 2011, she blamed it on eating too much over the holidays and tried to ignore it.

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Mikio's Story: GreenLight Laser/TURP

In 2009, Mikio was diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate gland, which is a condition affecting more than half of men 60 years of age or older. Although BPH is not a cancerous condition, the excess tissue can cause problems when it grows so much that it interferes with urinary flow.

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Getting "Men of a Certain Age" to Talk About Sensitive Health Issues: Allan's Story

So who knew I would become a member of the "men of a certain age" group. It actually sneaks up on you--age, that is. I remember being in my 20s, then the next thing I remember is realizing I'm entering my 50s and wondering "what happened?" Us guys--"men of a certain age"--understand about waking up in the morning with all those mysterious aches and pains our dads would tell us about and maybe not having that "loving feeling" in the mornings, too.

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Strong Physician-Patient Relationship Keeps Heart Disease in Check: Narayana’s Story

When Narayana was in his mid-50s, he began having chest pain. He thought it was just heartburn, and went to see his regular physician for treatment. After medication didn't seem to help ease his discomfort, he went back to his doctor, who decided to do a cardiac workup. The EKG indicated that something was wrong with his heart.

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Men's Health Program Helps Patient With Low Testosterone: Ken's Story

After being diagnosed with low testosterone, Ken, age 70, decided to attend a lecture at El Camino Hospital Los Gatos featuring Edward Karpman, M.D. to hear more about the topic. Dr. Karpman is a urologist and a co-director of the hospital's Men's Health Program.

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Joann's Story: Overnight Sleep Study Reveals Sleep Apnea Condition

For years, Joann had been told by friends when they traveled together that she snored and moved around a lot at night, suggesting she might not be getting a good night' s sleep. But Joann never sought help for her condition until the Sleep Disorders Program at El Camino Hospital Los Gatos opened.

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Ken's Story: First ECH Patient To Have Robotic Surgery Twice

Diagnosed with coronary artery disease in his late 40s, Ken, now 54, began seeing his cardiologist every year for checkups. In October 2011, Ken told his doctor he was having pain in his rib cage and in both arms--classic symptoms of heart trouble. Ken was taken to El Camino Hospital immediately, and tests revealed a blockage in one of his arteries.

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The Bionic Couple: Harvey and Stella's Story

Known as the "bionic couple" to their friends, Harvey, 76, and Stella, 74, of Morgan Hill have seen more than their share of surgeries in the past few years. In 2009 and 2010, they both underwent joint replacement surgery with Rodney Wong, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon on the El Camino Hospital medical staff.

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New Hip, No Pain: Ron's Story

After years of suffering from hip pain, Ron decided he couldn't live with it any longer. His pain was getting worse every day and he could no longer bend over or walk for any distance. At age 63, Ron still had a lot of living to do, and was especially looking forward to visiting friends and relatives in his homeland of Scotland--but didn't want to travel feeling the way he did.

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Dedicated Couple Dedicated to Weight-Loss Surgery Together

Like many Americans, Diana, a 52-year-old software professional from Silicon Valley, had struggled with her weight for years. "I tried every diet--Atkins, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers--anything you can think of. I just couldn't keep the weight off. I was at the end of my rope," recalls Diana. So, in April 2010, she decided to have weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery.

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Caring Doc Helps Fly Soldier Home for Wife’s Surgery: Tammy's Story

As the wife of a U.S. Marine, Tammy has had to move around quite a bit. In 2010, she relocated to Moffett Field military housing with her husband and two kids, and shortly after, her husband was deployed to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. Having a husband so far away is tough for any mom, but for Tammy, life became more difficult when the bleeding began.

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Ann's Story: Successful Surgery for Uterine Cancer Despite Heart Condition

After working for many years in the medical field, Ann* was well aware of the signs of a gynecological problem. So when she began spotting blood unexpectedly, she immediately went to her physician for an examination. An ultrasound and biopsy revealed that Ann had cancerous growths in her uterus.

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A Hysterectomy with One Incision and Almost No Pain? Lily's Story

What if you were told your uterus would need to be removed--before you had even had a chance to have children? That's what happened to Lily. Fortunately, Lily found a wonderful physician who worked with her so that she could first have a child, then have a hysterectomy that would allow her to recover quickly so she could be back home taking care of her baby. Here's her story.

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Robotic Surgery for Hysterectomy Due to Uterine Fibroids: Leeanne's Story

For several years, I had experienced intermittent vaginal bleeding, cramping and gastrointestinal symptoms. Scans had revealed fibroids and an unidentified growth in my uterus. A year earlier, I had been treated for breast cancer, so this unknown growth was very alarming to me.

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Rare "Double Uterus" Corrected Through Surgery: Wendy's Story

When Wendy began having periods in her teen years, she was in so much pain during her monthly cycle that she would be in bed for days. Although she was born with just one kidney instead of two, her parents didn't realize that Wendy had other anatomical differences as well.

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Geeta's Story: Diagnosed With Cancer--While Pregnant

When Geeta was six months pregnant, she found a suspicious lump in her breast--an expectant mom's worst nightmare. "I was very scared," recalls Geeta, who called her mother in India to ask for her advice. They decided it was too serious to wait, so she immediately went to see Prasanna Menon, M.D., who performed a breast biopsy.

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Karen and Roger's Story: Married Couple Overcomes Three Cancers

A single diagnosis of cancer can send a family reeling, but three bouts in five years is more than most can bear. That's why Karen and Roger are so grateful for the care they got from their extended "family" at the Cancer Center at El Camino Hospital.

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Double Cancer Survivor Never Gives Up Hope

Heidi was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. After a double mastectomy at El Camino Hospital, she recovered and began to move on with life. But, in 2010, she was diagnosed with skin cancer, which also needed surgery, and then an ovarian tumor. In all, Heidi has had 10 surgeries, but she has never given up hope.

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Robynne's Story: Choosing a Double Mastectomy

Many women around the world fear a breast cancer diagnosis more than just about any disease--regardless of whether or not they have a family history of it. But for Robynne, whose older sister was indeed diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer at age 34, developing breast cancer at some point in her lifetime was a real possibility.

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Jim's Story: An Unexpected Aneurysm and a Life-Saving Team

On August 6, 2010, I was home in my upstairs office when I experienced a sudden and dramatic fainting spell. I had no other symptoms of any kind--no abdominal pain, no indication of anything seriously wrong.

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Devoted Daughter Shares Her Mother's Story of Late-Stage Kidney Cancer

Many of us, while aging ourselves, are also caring for aging parents. And, as we watch them age, we hope and pray that they will make it through their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond in relatively good health, with maybe a few aches and pains here and there but nothing more than that.

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From Cancer to Erectile Dysfunction--Bill's Successful Treatment Story

One of the wonderful things about medical treatment today is that we can survive many, many illnesses that, decades ago, would have killed us. Cancer is one of those illnesses. Just ask Bill: He was diagnosed with both bladder and prostate cancer in his 70s, and although he survived the treatment, he was left with numerous other problems, from urinary incontinence to erectile dysfunction.

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World-Traveling Executive Chooses El Camino Hospital For Helpful Cancer Treatment

What if you were told that a tumor was growing in your bile duct and liver, and the chance of surviving five years or more was only 7 percent? Would you give up hope? Tom didn’t, and today, more than four years after his diagnosis, he is back to work, running global operations for a public company. Here’s his story.

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Tom, Living Cancer-Free After Multiple Treatments for Late-Stage Melanoma

Some say "attitude is everything" when it comes to cancer treatment. In Tom's case, this certainly seems to be true. Although he was diagnosed with advanced (stage IV) melanoma in 2011, he remained confident that the physicians at El Camino Hospital's Cancer Center would take excellent care of him.

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Boarding Option Allows Mom to Bond with Baby

Los Gatos mom Rebecca Geshuri had always planned to have her third baby at El Camino Hospital Los Gatos. After all, she had given birth to her first two children there, and she'd had a good experience with both deliveries. But what Rebecca didn't expect was to have her baby come six weeks early.

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Mara's Story: "I Credit the Incredible NICU Staff"

In November 2006, my son was born at El Camino Hospital at 28 weeks gestational age. My son went to the NICU immediately and I went to the ICU. My husband, still recovering from ligament surgery, was wheeled between the two of us.

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Katherine's Battle with Endometriosis

Katherine, a patient from Portland, Oregon, recently had her first child--an event made even more special by the fact that her doctors had once told her getting pregnant was an impossibility. Katherine suffers from Endometriosis, a condition affecting millions of women in which the lining of the uterus grows in other areas of the body and often leads to infertility, as in Katherine’s case.

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Asthma Treatment: Sankaran's Story

A few years ago, Sankaran noticed that she was having more trouble breathing than normal. For this active mother of three, yoga practitioner and self-described "hyper-active" individual, being slowed down by asthma was not an option.

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A Strong Spirit and Cardio Rehab Keep Tall Chief Healthy and Happy

He is 70 years old and stands at nearly 5'3", but his name seems fitting for such a dynamic human being. Tall Chief, a Native American and member of the Osage nation, leads an adventurous life. But, 13 years ago, Tall Chief experienced some odd symptoms while hang gliding one day that sent him to El Camino Hospital and cardiologist, Dr. Brandon Wong.

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Sara, Who Suffered a Stroke During Pregnancy

In 2007, Sara, age 36, suffered a rare stroke (cerebral venous thrombosis) during her first trimester of pregnancy. Although she was having classic stroke symptoms, Sara and her family didn't realize it was actually a stroke until one side of her face collapsed.

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Jane, Breast Cancer Survivor: Her Story

Jane was diagnosed with stage-3.5 breast cancer in the fall of 2007. With such a large tumor, she needed extensive chemotherapy (to shrink it) prior to surgery. Thanks to the physicians at the El Camino Hospital Mountain View Cancer Center, Jane's surgery was a success, and today Jane is thrilled to say she is finally "cancer-free."

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Featured Story

A Strong Spirit and Cardio Rehab Keep Tall Chief Healthy and Happy

"I felt this lump in my throat and
almost a feeling of indigestion," he remembers. "I finished up my hang gliding for the day, took my hang glider apart and decided it was best to head toward home and swing by my favorite hospital, El Camino Hospital, on the way."

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More Patient Stories

For more El Camino Hospital patient stories, visit our Video Center, where you can hear directly from patients, in their own words, about their experiences in overcoming an illness or condition. Thank you to the many patients of El Camino Hospital who have participated in our "El Camino Hospital and Me" project. You have helped bring greater understanding and awareness of such a wide range of conditions, from heart disease to cancer to urinary incontinence.