Hyperbaric Chamber Gives Local Woman Her Life Back
Photo: Video by kmtv.com
CREATED Jan. 31, 2014 - UPDATED: Jan. 31, 2014
Omaha, NE - 7,200 minutes is a long time to lay inside of a giant tube, but when it gives you your life back, like it did for Marcy Jameson, it's time well spent.
"To now look back, it is awesome and inspiring to say I made it," said Marcy.
It was supposed to be a time of celebration and new beginnings.
In Nov. 2011, she married the love of her life and was looking forward to their life together.
Soon after, Marcy and Eric had their lives interrupted by a diagnosis of stage IV metastatic colorectal cancer.
"It was an emotional time for diagnosis," said Marcy. "I was a newlywed. Two months to the day when we got the diagnosis with no family history or risk factors. So it was a shock."
Marcy went through three abdominal surgeries, one year of chemotherapy and one month of radiation.
Her body took a beating in the aggressive attempt to save her life.
Eventually, the only way she could eat was through bags and tubes, and it was that way for seven months.
"I had a bag," said Marcy. "It looked like a milk shake, and it was 1,800 calories every day. I would have it in a picc line in my arm, and I would carry it in my backpack and wear that 24 hours a day."
Marcy's surgeon recommended she try hyperbaric treatments at the Nebraska Medical Center.
"Just like when an airplane descends, and you get pressure on your ears, and you have to chew gum or swallow to pop your ears," said Dr. Jeff Cooper, NMC's medical director of hyperbaric medicine. "(It's the) same kind of thing."
Dr. Cooper's patients are put inside a small chamber. It's all oxygen and high pressure inside the tube.
The atmosphere is very dry. Patients have to drink as much water as they can and try to stay as still as possible. Their stay in the chamber is usually two hours at a time.
This method can treat a number of things including tissue damaged during radiation.
"The hyperbaric oxygen triggers budding of new blood vessels," said Dr. Cooper. "Over a period of 3-4 weeks, new blood vessels will appear in the damaged tissue."
Combine the new blood vessels with nutrients and fluids, and within weeks, the tissue repairs itself.
It's something that allowed Marcy to eat normally once again.
"I'm just ecstatic going from not eating anything for seven months to now eating and supporting myself and living a somewhat normal life," she said.
Her 60th treatment was Jan. 22, which was the day after we met her.
Marcy was excited and looking forward to moving on with her life.
"If you had to be sick, I'm glad I have had the experience that I've had," she said. "I've learned a lot about the medical system. I've learned a lot about myself, my friends and family. We're just happy it has turned out the way it has been."
Marcy has been in remission one year. Now that she is done with hyperbaric chamber treatments, her next step is just periodic appointments with her doctors to make sure she is still cancer-free.