Michael Nesbit was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. After radiation treatment and five years of being cancer-free, he thought he had truly beaten this disease. It wasn’t until he went back for his yearly follow up that Dr. Michael Kos, a Radiation Oncologist, discovered that his prostate-specific antigen (PSA), an enzyme released by the prostate was elevated again. Dr. Kos sent Michael to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he went through another round of high-dose radiation therapy. “It works well,” Michael said when asked about radiation therapy treatment, “but it causes complications. I was bleeding internally, and the doctors suggested hyperbaric therapy.”
The doctors at UCSF sent an order for Michael to undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Saint Mary’s Limb Salvage Clinic. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy not only treats external wounds, but can also treat internal issues, such as severe bleeding and damage caused by radiation therapy. The hyperbaric chamber contains an air pressure that is three times higher than that of normal air pressure. Under this amount of pressure, your body contains more oxygen to help fight bacteria and promote healing.
Dr. Georgianna Duxbury, the medical director at Saint Mary’s Limb Salvage Clinic, said that Michael has a condition known as “hemorrhagic radiation cystitis, which is a significant clinical problem that can occur after pelvic radiation. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an adjunctive therapy that can result in hyper oxygenation of blood and tissue, which promotes the creation of new blood vessels and blood flow, along with neovascularization for hemorrhagic radiation cystitis wound healing.”
Michael has had 80 hyperbaric treatments. “I was bleeding so bad, that I didn’t think it would work at all. We want things done immediately, but it’s a long, slow process. I have to go through more treatments, but my doctors are amazed at how well I am healing.”
Even with the long slow process, Michael is keeping a positive outlook on his treatment. “I’m not looking forward to the treatments, but I love seeing the people. The Saint Mary’s staff are great. They are experts in their field and are always very upbeat. I know that all I have to do is go into this tube and the nurses are doing everything they can to help me.”
Saint Mary’s Limb Salvage Clinic has been treating patients in the Northern Nevada community for four years. With a wound care team consisting of multi-specialty physicians, registered nurses, wound certified nurses and certified hyperbaric technologists, we continue to treat all types of wounds in an individualized and personal manner.