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Hyperbaric Medicine Changes Woman’s Life

Dyerann ChestnutDyerann Chestnut, 62, had never been in the hospital other than to give birth to her three children.

So when the Greensboro resident noticed a sore on her right foot in early 2015, she expected a visit to a primary care provider’s office would heal the ulcer. “The nurse practitioner put some cream on it and sent me home,” Dyerann recalls.

But Dyerann had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, which slows wound healing. The wound led to a bone infection, and a surgeon eventually had to amputate her first two toes.

In Search of Healing

To help preserve the rest of her foot, Dyerann was referred to the Cone Health Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center in Greensboro for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. During daily treatments, she reclined in a clear chamber while breathing pure oxygen that helped her body repair damaged tissue.

“I was scared at first to be sitting a tube for a few hours because I’ve been active all my life,” she says. A doctor prescribed an anti-anxiety medication to relax Dyerann, but she eventually got used to the treatments and stopped taking the sedative.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy healed the amputation wounds where her first two toes had been. But a third toe later got infected—triggering a chain of events that led to the amputation of half her foot. When a private-practice surgeon recommended removing the entire foot, Dyerann knew it was time to return to the care of Cone Health.

“I said, ‘I’m going back to the Wound Care Center.’” She called Lisa Kellner, the center’s program director. “I told her, ‘I need to try hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I know what it can do. I know it can heal me.’”

Finding Relief

Dyerann began another round of hyperbaric sessions and followed her care team’s instructions to rest and keep her foot clean. In August 2015, she completed her final treatment. “My foot is totally healed,” she says. “I feel wonderful. If it wasn’t for hyperbaric, I wouldn’t have my foot right now.”

Dyerann ChestnutShe’s grateful to all the wound care nurses, Lisa and Peter Parker, MD. “They kept my spirits up,” Dyerann says. “They handled me with tender, loving care.”

Now retired from her job as personnel records manager for Guilford County Schools, Dyerann enjoys doing puzzles and spending time with her 10 grandchildren, who take turns visiting and helping with housework. She takes diabetes medication and has met with a nutritionist for advice on eating healthfully. And she has a message for others with diabetic foot wounds: “Ask your doctor about hyperbaric oxygen therapy!”