A scientist’s approach to helping others: Meet @pavlina60

Mar 25 7:00am | Teresa, Volunteer Mentor | @hopeful33250 | Comments (16)

Member spotlight: Meet Pavlna

TERESA: What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect? 

@pavlina60: I discovered Mayo Clinic Connect when I got out of the hospital, got my bearings and started researching the disease I had—pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET).

TERESA: What motivates you to take part in the community?

@pavlina60: I am a very social person. When I saw other people sharing their experiences, I wanted to share mine. Generally, I am not an optimistic person. I’m more like a realist. I approach my health and living with pNET from a scientific point of view and thought that could be helpful to others as well.

TERESA: What about Mayo Clinic Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?

@pavlina60r: People are honest, caring, and very helpful. Everyone treats each other with respect.

TERESA: What support groups do you participate in?

@pavlina60: I mostly take part in pNETs discussions in the Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs) support group.

TERESA: Tell us about a meaningful moment on Mayo Clinic Connect.

@pavlina60: There are too many to mention. But I recall a few significant moments for me. About seven or eight months into treatment with lanreotide (Somatuline) injections, I started losing my hair. When I saw members sharing similar experiences in their posts, I accepted the fact of hair loss more easily. Now the hair I have left is curly. Whaddaya know? 

Another moment was receiving advice from a member to try eating cheese and crackers after lanreotide injections to ward off nausea. It worked for me and was a huge help!

It was fulfilling to help a member find a facility with Ga 68 dotatate PET scan capabilities in their region, so they did not have to travel far for testing.

TERESA: What surprised you the most about Mayo Clinic Connect?

@pavlina60: I was surprised by the fact that there are quite a few people with NET conditions.

TERESA: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?

@pavlina60: I had a great career as a scientist. However, after two strokes and a cancer diagnosis, I cannot continue it anymore. So I am trying to find something else to occupy my time. I started baking sourdough bread! My husband is not a huge fan, but all my neighbors love it. 

TERESA: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.

@pavlina60: I’ve always loved to travel! I was afraid that the diagnosis of pancreatic NET would prevent me from traveling. But I was able to successfully take a 17-hour trip overseas only five months after surgery. In fact, I am currently in Bulgaria as we are doing this interview. I was able to visit my native country taking advantage of the 3-week break between lanreotide injections.

TERESA: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?

@pavlina60:You don't turn to God for a miracle, but for the strength to go on when there is no miracle." (adapted from the movie The Miracle Club)

TERESA: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

@pavlina60: I moved to the United States more than 30 years ago. My friends and neighbors are my family. They cook food for me and my husband. They take me to appointments and encourage me. I’m grateful when they sometimes push me to walk just one mile, when I did not want to even get out of bed.

TERESA: What food can you simply not resist?

@pavlina60: Bulgarian cheese pastry, called Banitsa, made with lots of cheese and butter.

TERESA: Puppies or kittens?

@pavlina60: Kittens. I have two cats: a 12 year old senior citizen named Buster and a six year old called Mila


Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Mayo Clinic Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.

See more Member Spotlights.

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Thanks you so much for all your support and advice as we all battle NETs. I wish you all the best and that’s a great spotlight article. We got this!

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Kim, you were one of the first people that I followed and 'saw' on this site. Right after my surgery 🤭. Wish you positivity and strong will!


Hello Pavlina,
I so enjoyed reading your interview. You were one of the first people to share digestive suggestions when I was diagnosed & started lanreotide. I was losing too much weight & struggling to find anything good to eat on the restrictive diet. You sent me the recipe for banana oat pancakes & I’ve made them often. This group has been a major support during my first full year of having a NET in my liver. I had my second CT yesterday & will find out results at my next appointment in two weeks.

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This is a very supportive group and it makes a big difference to know you are not alone in this journey!
@nana120 I wish you good news on your scans! And let's keep going!!💜🦓


@pavlina60 I admire your attitude. You are so generous to share your experience and research with other NET patients. I really enjoyed your Spotlight and found your ambition to travel so refreshing. Don't let this cancer battle slow you down.


@pavlina60 I admire your attitude. You are so generous to share your experience and research with other NET patients. I really enjoyed your Spotlight and found your ambition to travel so refreshing. Don't let this cancer battle slow you down.

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Thank you, Sue, @sepdvm ! I am planning not to let this cancer stop me any time soon! Hugs💜🦓


@pavlina60, Thank you for doing this spotlight interview. We ave not crossed paths here on Connect, so I am happy to meet you and to hear your story. I appreciated reading about some of the meaningful moments that you have experienced from other members. I commend you for providing meaningful moments to others.

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