Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow 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.
JOHN: Terri, What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect? What motivates you to take part in the community?
@windwalker: I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis, a serious lung disease, and mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection in 2005. I have been searching for answers on how to effectively treat this lung disease for years. Knowing that Mayo Clinic has a gold standard reputation, I scoured its website and found Connect by accident. I spent many hours a day on Connect, forging many wonderful relationships with others who share my illness. After some time on Connect, I was asked to be a mentor for the MAC & Bronchiectasis group. What an honor it has been to connect with so many wonderful people.
JOHN: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?
@windwalker: Being on Connect is comfortable for me because it is hosted by such a reputable medical institution. Aside from feeling comfortable to post on Connect, I find it very gratifying to try help others who are struggling with their lung disease, especially the newly diagnosed. It can be scary to hear you have a disease that may or may not get cured, and that there is no set treatment plan to follow. Fears are easier to overcome if you have someone walking in the same shoes with you.
JOHN: What groups do you participate in?
@windwalker: I participate in these groups: MAC & Bronchiectasis and Lung Health. I also participate in a Mental Health group discussion called “Long-term depression” to help understand a family member with this illness.
JOHN: Who has been a special connection for you on Connect?
@windwalker: When I first started posting on Connect, I bonded with the MAC & Bronchiectasis group’s previous mentor, Katherine (@KateMN). She was our fearless leader who passed away in 2017. She was a great friend, surrogate mother and the best support person for gathering information for the rest of us to help us deal with our disease, now part of her legacy on Connect. She was always there for us with knowledge and compassion.
JOHN: What surprised you the most about Connect?
@windwalker: What surprised me the most about Connect is how close people become to others they have never met, and that they really care.
JOHN: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@windwalker: Gratitude energizes me. I am grateful for every day that I can breathe clearly after suffering many years where it was a real struggle, with constant coughing and lungs filled with infection. I was unable to walk 15 feet without sitting to catch my breath.
My local pulmonologist recommended I get a double lung transplant in 2013, and he sent me to Mayo Clinic since he was gravely worried about my low lung function. I will be forever thankful that he did, because I had seen so many doctors over the years who could not figure out how to treat me. At Mayo, I finally found someone who could. I was treated in a nonconventional way with alternating antibiotics and got the infection cleared. I did not need the lung transplant after all. I knew that if I did need it, I would be in the best hands at Mayo.
JOHN: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.
@windwalker: My passion is design. I love to decorate my home, beautify my yard and big covered porch. I design jewelry as well. Riding my bicycle is also energizing. I feel grateful that I can even do that again.
JOHN: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?
@windwalker: Don’t let the worries of tomorrow steal from the joys of today.
JOHN: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
@windwalker: My friends are always there for me, as I am for them. We are great listeners and problem solvers for each other. We always have each other’s backs in a time of need, and also have a lot of fun together.
JOHN: What do you love about where you live or vacation?
@windwalker: I live in a small historic coastal town in South Carolina, and I love it here. There are the ocean and lots of tributaries. The wildlife is abundant here. I see creatures every day, such as dolphins, herons, storks and alligators. We have palm trees and giant live oaks cloaked in Spanish moss. We also have close to one hundred miles of beautiful bicycling trails — all flat! I have no desire to go on a vacation because I live in a perpetual vacation spot.
JOHN: Puppies or kittens?
@windwalker: Kittens! Puppies chew up your shoes!