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Patient Stories

Follow the personal journeys of UCSF patients who have overcome serious and complex health challenges, including brain tumors, cancers, amputations, seizures and more. Find out what they learned along the way, and how cutting edge care and treatments have helped them return to health and the things they love most in life.

"Symphony" of Care Saves Patient After Heart Attack

John Carroll fully recovered from three heart attacks thanks to a coordinated care team of emergency doctors, interventional cardiologists and other providers at UCSF Health.

49ers Coach With Aggressive Myeloma Gets New Treatment at UCSF

San Francisco 49ers coach Johnny Holland has teamed up with UCSF Health in a clinical trial exploring new treatments for multiple myeloma.

A Gentler Approach to Heart Valve Replacement

A pioneering and less invasive procedure enabled this patient born with heart defects to avoid the trauma of another open heart surgery. Here's his story.

A Rare 18-Person Kidney Transplant Chain

In possibly the longest kidney transplant chain in one city in only 36 hours, nine people donated and nine got new kidneys. How does it work? Find out.

A Story of Two Transplants

Find out why this husband and father needed two live-donor kidneys – one from his wife and then one from his son – and how it all went.

A Surprising Treatment for Urinary Incontinence: Botox Shots

MS robbed Susan of control over many things, including her bladder. Learn how Botox shots resolved her urinary incontinence, restoring a sense of control over her life.

A Transplant First! Patient Donates His Own Elbow to Himself

See how one man regained the use of his right arm after losing the use of both arms in a car accident, thanks to a ground-breaking transplant.

Active Surveillance: In Treating Prostate Cancer, Sometimes Less Is More

See why some early-stage prostate cancer is best handled with "proactive surveillance" instead of treatment – and how it's going for one man who tries it.

Actress Hits Her Head – Doctors Discover a Brain Tumor

The story: When a tumor showed up on an MRI after an actress fell from a hammock, a UCSF brain-mapping technique and a special surgeon "saved" her brain.

After Islet Cell Transplant: Meeting the Donor's Family

Transplant recipient Michael's thank-you note to his donor's family uncovered a series of coincidences and sparked a deep connection. Here's the story.

An Organ Donor's Story: So Fulfilling, He Did it Twice

Jason McCluney gave the gift of life twice by donating a kidney and a portion of his liver to two complete strangers.

At Age 19, She Needed a Lung Transplant

A rare lung disease gave previously healthy college student Clare a crash course in life. Read her story of a tough rehab and recovery.

Back From the Brink After a Lung Transplant

Russell was teaching 12 fitness classes a week when a lung disease put him on the waiting list for new lungs. Find out how his story unfolded.

Bariatric Surgery Saved This "Ticking Time Bomb"

A TV ad convinced a 311-pound professional chef – who still cooks and enjoys food – to deal with his obesity and shrink to 180 pounds. Here's his story.

Bouncing Back From Colon Cancer

Lata Mohan, an active grandmother, ignored her symptoms at first. Read about her search for a doctor and her surgery, recovery and return to normal life.

Cancer Free After a Second Opinion at UCSF

Diagnosed with a rare cancer, Michael Lax had little hope for the future. Here, he explains how coming to UCSF for a second opinion changed everything.

College basketball player rebounds after brain tumor surgery

Read a young man's story of coping with a brain tumor, from his collapse on the basketball court to diagnosis, surgery and how he stays emotionally strong.

Coping With Breast Cancer That Spans Three Generations

Her mother and grandmother died of breast cancer. Diagnosed herself at 59, Sarah Morse swore that if she survived, she'd help others. Here's her story.

Customized Brain Surgery Saved Her Acting Career

Years of seizures that medical experts couldn't explain halted the career of this aspiring L.A. actress – until UCSF doctors solved the mystery.

Fighting a Rare Form of Leukemia

See how one patient with leukemia coped with two grueling years of treatment and the methods doctors use to cure this formerly deadly form of the disease.

Fighting Breast Cancer Together, Family Style

Find out what it's like to grow up in a large family with a long history of cancer and how one family member approached her diagnosis.

Focused Ultrasound Calms Decades-Long Hand Tremor

High intensity focused ultrasound offers an incisionless treatment for patients with the movement disorder essential tremor.

Hard Choices: Dialysis? Or a Kidney Transplant?

Fading energy was the first sign of Sheila's failing kidneys. See her story of dialysis and then what looked like a transplant dream team – but wasn't.

Health and Motherhood After Ovarian Cancer

Find out how a combo of medical technology, determination and good luck enabled Gina Danford to survive cancer, launch a business and become a mom.

Heart Condition Care: AFib Patient Gets Her Life Back

Discover how medications, surgery, and a 24-hour UCSF call number eased Kathi Sigona's anxiety, controlled her arrhythmia and let her work and travel again.

Help for a Baseball Reporter Who Loses Her Voice

For SF Giants sideline reporter "Amy G," talking is part of the job. See how UCSF doctors help her get her voice back and keep it healthy so she can work.

Her Twins Faced a Life-Threatening Syndrome in Utero

See how laser surgery dealt with the often fatal twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome that threatened this mom's unborn boys, and how they fared after birth.

Life After Tongue Cancer and Removal

Kate was diagnosed with stage III tongue cancer in her early 30s. See how she found the right surgeon and handled recovery, and what happened next.

Live Donor Liver Transplant for Mom of Two

When aggressive chemotherapy didn't work, a living donor was her last hope. See how she found a willing donor, the miracle of liver regeneration and more.

Miguel Castellanos: A Story of Hope After a Double Amputation

Less than a year after an accident left Miguel Castellanos a double amputee, UCSF specialists had him walking on prosthetic legs. He says the challenges have made him physically stronger and more compassionate.

Mother of Two Calls Weight-Loss Surgery a "Miracle"

By age 58, Sandy weighed 340 pounds. Learn how she adjusts after bariatric surgery to her new weight – 155 pounds – and the advice she has for others.

New Dad With Multiple Myeloma Tries Clinical Trial

Would Jimmy live to see his infant daughter grow up? A clinical trial with chemo and a bone marrow transplant seemed like his best chance. Get the story.

Overcoming Incontinence Gave This Mom Her Life Back

Learn how UCSF helped Jamie Li overcome incontinence and get her life back.

Overcoming Ovarian Cancer

A long-term survivor of treatment for a grapefruit-sized ovarian tumor shares her story, including practical tips and advice for others with cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer: A Survivor's Story

See how one man found a doctor and medical center he could trust after diagnosis with an often deadly cancer – and read his advice for other patients.

Quitting Smoking After 20 Years, While Pregnant

See how a UCSF tobacco treatment center helped expecting mom Amy Jaral finally give up cigarettes and even handle a relapse after her baby was born.


Rebooting Kimberly's Brain

When Kimberly suddenly began having seizures – as many as 70 a day – she feared she was losing her mind. Learn how she became nearly seizure-free.

Risky Brain Surgery Was Her Only Hope

Erica tried a wait-and-see approach and ended up at UCSF after an aneurysm. Learn how a "living coma" and grueling rehab helped her recover 100 percent.

Transformation: Bariatric Surgery at Age 22

Find out why a young woman decided on weight-loss surgery and how it radically changed her diet, her eating habits and her entire life.