Podcast Episode 6: A Mission of Healing

wound patient
Julie has a passion for serving others and going on mission trips. She was scheduled to go on one to the Amazon River. Little did she know she would soon be on her own mission to healing.

A month before her travels, Julie learned she was severely anemic. Further testing after the trip revealed that she had Stage 4 colon cancer. "Things went pretty quickly after that," said Julie.

She had surgery and started chemotherapy. Treatment didn't keep her from returning to the Amazon, and neither did an infected toe. "When I got back I could tell there was something wrong. My foot was hurting."said Julie.

She went to the doctor on Thursday and was given antibiotics, by Saturday she said she was in so much pain that she couldn't walk. Julie went to the emergency department and learned her severe infection was a side effect of chemo compromising her immune system.

Julie has high praise for her infectious disease doctor at CHI St. Vincent. “I remember looking at her and saying, ‘I know you are keeping me alive.’ And she said, ‘Yes, we are,’” said Julie.

After amputation of her toe, Julie was left with an open wound. She also knew the complication of also being a diabetic meant that her foot was at risk of being amputated. Julie then began treatment at the Wound Care Center in Hot Springs, and said, "when they got involved is really when the healing took off."

A series of treatments and they finally found the right one that worked. “Just their knowledge of all the different medicines and all the combinations they can do to promote healing, that was the game changer,” says Julie.

She was thrilled to be advised that she could do all activities as tolerated. “Everyone in the clinic had a level of knowledge that was just unparalleled.” She was also impressed with the care provided during every interaction in the clinic.

Julie took a pause on chemotherapy during the wound healing process, but her cancer is now nearly gone. She advises diabetics to be sure to have any foot issues assessed immediately. She wears an orthotic and has no balance issues while walking. “Now my foot is healed and is just doing great.”

Julie’s adventures continue and her latest trip is to Amsterdam with a friend.“Every day I have been given is a blessing, and I want to try to live it to the fullest," said Julie.