Patient Stories

Follow the personal journey of 25-plus UCSF patients who faced everything from brain surgery and lung transplants to weight-loss surgery and life after a tongue transplant.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hip Replacement Surgery Puts Doctor-Athlete Back on Skis

A double hip replacement was a scary prospect for this podiatrist with a rare form of arthritis. Find out how fast he returned to biking, skiing, and more.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Surprising Approach to Prostrate Cancer

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.

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