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From patient to team member: Mary's story

Mary Castine

When doctors diagnosed Mary Castine with a rare condition, her doctors recommended turning to the specialists at Duke Health to save her life. What Mary didn’t expect when she came to us at this vulnerable time in her life was that the people and community she found here would not only save her life, but also bring new purpose to her career in nursing.

Understanding her unique condition

Loin Pain Hematuria Syndrome is both rare and difficult to diagnose, often marked by years of unexplained pain and urinary issues. A surgical solution for this disease is to relocate the kidney within the body through an auto transplant, which can happen on one or both sides of the body.

For Mary, this condition meant unbearable pain around the clock. She was eager for the treatment that might bring some reprieve, but she only had one kidney, which made surgery an especially challenging and risky option.


Mary Castine

I had drastically deteriorated. I went from an always on-the-go young woman, to being completely sidelined without much warning.

Mary Castine

Clinical Nurse II, OR Night ShiftWith Duke since 2021

Seeking out exceptional care

After her initial diagnosis in 2019, Mary’s doctor in Wisconsin was retiring and unable to continue supporting her on this journey. Luckily, he mentored Dr. Collins and knew that Mary would be able to find the care she needed with him at Duke Health.

The team of surgeons here turned out to be Mary’s saving grace and take a chance on her complex case. In order to get life-saving assistance, Mary quickly prepared to move her life from New York to North Carolina.

Finding inspiration in the team

In January 2020, Mary had her first appointment at Duke Health. Alongside Dr. Bradley Collins, she also met with the rest of her care team, including Dr. Aparna Rege and Nala Edwards, NP. Mary was immediately grateful that they listened to her, believed her pain, and validated her experience.

Dr. Aparna Rege

She was pretty determined in that she wanted this. She wanted this procedure to help her manage the pain, so that she could move on with her life.

Aparna Rege, MD

Clinical Associate, Department of Surgery, Division of Abdominal Transplant SurgeryWith Duke since 2011

After working with Mary to prep for the procedure, Dr. Bradley Collins agreed that surgical management of her condition was the best option. In November 2020, the surgery took place and started the months-long recovery process – during which Mary continued to receive knowledgeable and compassionate support. 

Enjoying a second chance at life

Mary returned to health early 2021, but ultimately decided to remain here in North Carolina. Knowing that she would have ongoing medical needs even after the successful surgery, she didn’t want to be far away from the exceptional care here at Duke Health. More than that though, Mary had been so moved by those who supported her during her care journey she joined the Duke Health team in October 2021.

She switched from her previous nursing specialty of Adult Critical Care to work in the Operating Room alongside Dr. Bradley Collins, Dr. Aparna Rege, and Nala Edwards, NP – helping save other patients’ lives with the people who saved hers.

Mary Castine

My care team is more than providers and life savers. They are my community, my greatest mentors, and wonderful colleagues.

Mary Castine

Clinical Nurse II, OR Night ShiftWith Duke since 2021

Mary is now working toward her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to grow her nursing career at Duke Health.

Dr. Bradley Collins

The whole thing is unique, a unique disease process and the fact that she is a healthcare provider, a nurse. It was a lot of unique circumstances that fell into place for this to happen. We’re very happy for her. It is great to see Mary in the operating room.

Bradley Collins, MD

Associate Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Division of Abdominal Transplant SurgeryWith Duke since 1999

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