Woman’s Radiation Wound Healing With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Wound Care
“I felt like real-life Sleeping Beauty while I was laying there. Your ears kind of pop a little bit like you’re on an airplane, but you just lay there and breathe the air.”

After undergoing 60 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Tauna Quimby’s radiation wound is finally healing.

Two years ago, Tauna noticed a knot behind her knee and figured it was a cyst. Over the course of several months, the mass grew to the size of a ping-pong ball. That’s when she knew it was time to seek out medical care.

Tauna was diagnosed with pleomorphic liposarcoma, a cancerous tumor behind her knee. She underwent surgery in March 2021 to remove the mass. That procedure was followed up with six weeks of intense radiation.

“My care team referred me to plastic surgeons. They told me it can be difficult for some of these radiation wounds to heal,” she remembered.

Tauna realized something wasn’t right when she observed her wound getting worse.

“It just wasn’t healing. That’s when my doctor referred me to CentraCare Wound Center.

Tauna was a good candidate for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO). It’s a healing treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. The procedure delivers high concentrations of oxygen to your bloodstream which helps your body’s own natural wound-healing abilities.

Tauna admits she had only heard of the treatment when the late American singer/songwriter Michael Jackson made headlines for utilizing its healing benefits.

“I’d tease my friends and family that I was going to start wearing one glove and doing the moonwalk — that’s how they’d know the treatments were working,” she laughed.

Tauna had just started a new job and would now have to devote two hours of her day to lying in a pressurized chamber. She was apprehensive about whether she could make it work with her schedule.

“I can’t ask my boss to do that. But I finally said yes,” she confessed. “What I really appreciated was the Wound Center’s ability to work around my schedule so I could go into the clinic first thing in the morning. I was able to work full time the entire time I was doing that.”

The chamber has clear sides which allowed Tauna the ability to see her surroundings and watch television during her treatment. She was in the clinic five days a week for 12 weeks.

“I would show up freshly showered in my pajamas and they’d rebandage my wound and wrap me up in a warm blanket before heading into the chamber,” she said. “I felt like real-life Sleeping Beauty while I was laying there. Your ears kind of pop a little bit like you’re on an airplane, but you just lay there and breathe the air.”

Tauna started noticing improvements and reported she was having less pain. The clinic was able to keep track of her progress through photos and measurements.

“I learned an awful lot about how it all works … healing goes from the bottom up and the outside inward,” she detailed.

Tauna’s wound started out the size of a softball. Now, her clinic visits happen monthly, and her wound is roughly the size of a quarter.

“I still have healing to do. We know we’re within a few months of it being completely healed,” she marveled.

She praised her care team for providing her with thoughtful and prudent care. “I’m excited to be this close to the end. I’m looking forward to being in the lake this summer and swimming again.”