Kathy Shaffer was ‘Nulli Secundus’ or ‘Second To None’ When She Had Triple Bypass Surgery at MercyOne North Iowa Heart Center
“I had no idea that I had any heart problems,” said Kathy Shaffer, 71, of Mason City. But on the morning of September 3, Kathy had trouble catching her breath, and after a consult with her doctor was advised to get to the ER right away. Kathy had suffered a heart attack, and after having an angiogram it was discovered Kathy had seven blocked arteries and needed a triple bypass surgery.
Said Kathy, “Many men on my side of the family have had heart problems, but the women haven’t so I assumed I was ok. I had experienced some pressure on my chest when walking or exercising for 15 minutes or more, but I thought I was just out of shape, or attributed it to my acid reflux. What I have learned is heart disease symptoms are different for women than men.”
“The Cardiothoracic Surgeon at MercyOne North Iowa Heart Center and I connected right away. I felt confident with him. He was very attentive, and after the surgery checked in on me 2-3 times a day,” said Kathy.
“I couldn’t eat very much after the surgery; I really had no appetite, but my doctor told me I had to eat to keep my strength up. He said, ‘What sounds good to you? I said, ‘Maybe a pizza.’ So, he took out his credit card and he said, ‘Order a pizza for Kathy and all of the staff that are taking care of her.’
“My surgeon said I was his #1 and his wife was ok with that,“ Kathy laughed. “His wife even made me a pillow that says in Latin, “Nulli Secundus” meaning “Second to None” with the date of my surgery.
I used to visit the ER often with undiagnosed heart problems. During my last visit in 2004, they told me I probably wouldn’t make it another year. That’s when my doctor at Mason City Clinic found my mitral valve malfunction and surgically repaired it. I recently had my annual EKG exam and my cardiologist found no heart problems whatsoever. Which means I can keep raising my squash, musk melon and tomatoes.Read More
With no warning signs, Jansen Wyatt, 54, suddenly collapsed in his home last November. His daughter-in-law rushed him to the ER at Palo Alto County Health System in Emmetsburg, where they diagnosed a severe heart attack. Jansen was helicoptered to Mason City’s Mercy Medical Center. Samuel Congello, DO, a board-certified cardiologist with Mercy’s Heart and Vascular Institute.Read More
Plastic Surgery Patient
After years as a special education teacher handling children with significant disabilities and behavioral challenges, I began having limited use of my hands due to severe arthritis pain. I found myself fighting back tears every day because the pain was so bad. I could no longer enjoy one of my favorite hobbies, quilting, either. I met with Dr. René Recinos, a plastic surgeon from Mason City Clinic and recommended a procedure called arthrodesis.Read More
Retired school teacher Charlene Hanson used to love walking in the woods – until the pain and inflammation of arthritis took it away from her. Since she had heard such great things at church and in the community about Mason City Clinic’s Orthopedic Department and Dr. Darron Jones, she made them her choice to replace her arthritic hip and knee.Read More
Roger was always very active, but a few years ago his hip started to bother him. When he would go to bed at night the pain was very severe. “I would have to lay on the floor and put my legs up on the couch to relieve the pain,” said Roger.
His orthopedic surgeon at the Mason City Clinic Dr. Darron Jones said, “I can give you cortisone shots, but this is a quality of life question.
Plastic Surgery Patient
Donna Drake lived with a growing basal cell skin cancer (the most common skin cancer) on her lower eyelid for three years. A family practitioner at Franklin General Hospital recommended Mason City Clinic’s plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Mark Mulkey, who identified the cancer and performed the extremely delicate eyelid surgery to remove it and reconstruct her eyelid.Read More
Melody Wagner loved walking until severe pain from bunions stopped her cold. She found a board-certified podiatrist at Mason City Clinic’s Podiatry Department. Podiatrists perform leading-edge surgery for bunions and hammertoes, as well as advanced treatments for diabetic feet, heel pain, ingrown toenails and more. Melody was afraid of a painful procedure and a long recovery.Read More
One snowy night about seven years ago, I felt a sudden pain in the back of my leg. I thought I could shake it off and went out to shovel some snow. After a few minutes, I went back inside and collapsed. My wife called 911 but the ambulance couldn’t get to me because of the snow. My neighbors used snow blowers to clear the road and my driveway so the ambulance could get to me.Read More
I injured my knee as a teenager and had surgery. Then, as I got older, the pain returned and began affecting my routine and overall enjoyment of life. My doctor referred me to Darron Jones, MD, an orthopedic surgeon. After a thorough exam, he said I was a candidate for knee replacement. I had the procedure in late January 2014 and was back among the grapes by the beginning of March.Read More
We have a lot of flower gardens on our acreage, and I was having problems kneeling to weed. I couldn’t walk long distances anymore and it was painful to get in and out of the car, walk up and down the stairs. Simple everyday tasks were hard. Eventually I was limping and in a great deal of pain.” said Sheryl Borcherding of Emmons, MN.Read More
Jane, 70, a retired nurse, is a very active person. She is a mother of one daughter and son in law, and has lots of 4 legged kids: guinea pigs, goats, Newfoundland dogs and 10 cats. I suffered with knee pain for a long time and would always take extra strength Ty-lenol.Read More
Gene Wagler, a special needs teacher from Clear Lake, didn’t have a history of heart problems before his heart attack 23 years ago. Gene said, “I didn’t feel any pain that day but I had a “gnawing” sensation in my chest. Within hours Gene was in the Mercy One-North Iowa ER and Dr. Sam Congello, an interventional cardiologist.Read More
GERD Surgical Patient
Kathleen Hanna, 60, is a mother of four, grandmother of nine and a para-assistant at Forest City Elementary School. “I had heartburn with regurgitation for 40 years, have had an ulcer, and have been on heartburn medication for about that long too.” Having been on heartburn medication for many years her physician was becoming worried that it was affecting the function of her kidneys.Read More
GERD Surgical Patient
In March 2019, Duane Obanion, 68, a farmer outside of Mason City, Iowa had an acid reflux attack. He aspirated into his lungs and got pneumonia. “I was in New York visiting my daughter when it happened and I ended up in the Urgent Care Center. When I got home I went to my family doctor and she put me in touch with Dr. Matthew Fabian, a general surgeon at the Mason City Clinic”.Read More
Plastics & Reconstructive Surgery Patient
In February 2019, LeAnn Strother 65, who is left-handed, fell and broke her left wrist. Because it was a complicated break she was referred into Dr. Rene Recinos, a plastics and reconstructive surgeon, and hand specialist at the Mason City Clinic for surgery. Most concerning for LeAnn was if this injury would impact all of the things she loves to do with her hands in the future?Read More
Dan Rodemeyer of Hampton, was at work when the unexpected happened. While on the loading dock, a 4,000 pound steel I-beam fell onto his foot. Dan said, “I was wearing steel toe boots, but the sheer weight of the steel beam crushed my foot and broke two of my toes. It was extremely painful to say the least.”
Dan initially went to the emergency room in Hampton. His foot had very severe soft tissue compression injuries, and there was an internal wound that was causing extreme swelling and pain. Although his big and second toe were broken, thankfully they were not compound fractures.
Urology (Prostate Cancer)
Paul Bruns of Clear Lake, a retired restaurateur and businessman, went to his Medicare screening with his family physician at the MercyOne Family Clinic in Clear Lake. To Paul’s surprise his physician called him back to let him know that his PSA count (protein in his prostate) was very high and that he needed to see a urologist as soon as possible.Read More
Podiatry (Dr. Henrich)
I am back to work on my feet everyday, and I walk my dog everyday. I don’t have any pain. Lisa Fuller, a mother of three from Algona, is on her feet a lot. “I own a can redemption center with my daughter and I am walking and moving eight hours a day. I used to come home with my feet swollen red and in pain. Now when I come home, I go take my dog for a long walk,” Lisa said.Read More
Credits Urologist Dr. Kevin Rier and Team For Her Recovery
Cindy Wingler, 55, was returning from a trip out west with her boyfriend when she didn’t feel well and went to the ER at Hansen Family Hospital in Iowa Falls. She was nauseous and fatigued, and thought perhaps she was having another urinary tract infection which she had many of in her lifetime.Read More
Rebecca (Becky) Groh
Rebecca (Becky) Groh, 64, only goes to one podiatrist in Mason City and that is Dr. Scott Donohoe.
“I have been to Dr. Donohoe three times - for my right and left foot bunions, and hammertoes, and recently he fixed a hammertoe on my left foot that was really bothering me.
Janet Stangl, 64, a retired administrative assistant from Charles City, was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2006. Said Janet, "I was in the severe sleep apnea zone. I stopped breathing 30-50 times per hour during the night. I was prescribed the CPAP.Read More
Said Kathy, “Many men on my side of the family have had heart problems, but the women haven’t so I assumed I was ok. I had experienced some pressure on my chest when walking or exercising for 15 minutes or more, but I thought I was just out of shape, or attributed it to my acid reflux. What I have learned is heart disease symptoms are different for women than men.”Read More
Keith Messenger, 44, a business owner in Mason City, was not getting quality sleep, and it was having an effect on his daytime productivity. “For five years or more I would crash (fall asleep) by 12 noon everyday.” Keith was diagnosed with sleep apnea; he was told that his tongue would fall back while he was sleeping blocking his airway during the night. He was prescribed the CPAP machine. Said Keith, “I tried 16 or 17 CPAP face and nose masks. The CPAP was so loud and the masks wouldn’t stay on my face. I was also prescribed a mouthpiece and that didn’t work either.”Read More
Renee Denny, 59, of Garner, Iowa, a retired school administrator, wants to be a healthy and active grandmother one day.
“Five years ago I had gastric bypass surgery and lost 90 lbs. I started at 240 lbs. Although I was pleased with the gastric bypass results, some of my skin was loose and sagging, and was getting caught up in my belly button and creating infections,” said Renee.
Suzanne Johnson, 74, of Mason City, had been struggling over the last few years to do the things she loves to do.
“I couldn’t do any type of walking. If my husband and I were going to a fair or flea market, I would always have him bring the electric scooter for me. It was limiting — not the day to day things around the house — but going out and doing the things that I love to do,” said Suzanne.
Jane Peterson 68, of Garner Iowa loves to golf, but it was getting harder and harder to do it with the bunions she had on each foot. “My feet would just get tired much sooner when I was golfing. And I was working full time at a factory, standing all day on a cement floor which became very painful. I just wanted to get my feet into shape by retirement so I could continue to play golf comfortably and be active with my 10 grandkids,” said Jane.Read More
In 2020, Scott, 54, of Fort Dodge, at 5’8” weighed 342 lbs., his blood pressure was so high his doctor told him he was at high risk for a stroke, and he had extreme knee pain. Today Scott weighs 213 lbs., his blood pressure is normal, and all of his knee pain is gone.Read More
Clear Lake resident and special education school teacher Lisa Buss, 56, reached a high of 280 pounds. Said Lisa, “When I was younger I was able to eat anything and not gain weight. Then as I got older and had my kids I started getting heavier and heavier, and it was very hard for me to lose the weight on my own.” On a 5’7” height Lisa was 150 pounds over a healthy weight.Read More
Rosalyn, 83, of Mason City, is a mother of three, grandmother of six, and was a regis-tered nurse at Mercy for 30 years.
“Over the last three years I was short of breath and getting bad chest pains. I had a stent placed in September 2021 for some blockage in one of my arteries, but I was still getting these worrisome symptoms,” said Rosalyn.
In late 2019 Vern Toohey, 59, of Clear Lake, was having very rapid heartbeats and feeling exhausted. Said Vern, “I couldn’t walk across the house without feeling really tired.”Read More