In Her Own Words

Emergency Care, Cancer Care, and Wound Care –
All at FHN

After six months of cancer treatment and wound care therapy, Brenda is able to watch her grandchildren after school and make memories.

4 inches wide. 10 inches long. 3 inches deep. That was the approximate size of Brenda Berning’s wound when she came to The Center for Wound Healing at FHN Memorial Hospital. She recently had complicated ovarian cancer surgery in Madison, and her incision did not heal properly – in fact, it opened like a zipper when the staples were removed. This type of serious wound needs immediate attention, and luckily Brenda was referred to a place right in her hometown – Freeport – where the staff understands the intricacies of complicated wound care.

Innovative Wound Care from the First Appointment On

At her fi rst Center for Wound Healing appointment, Brenda says, “I was thoroughly examined and my wound was re-dressed. Everyone was so nice. We put together a care plan that gave me hope for the future. It included a team effort between the Center, home health care, and my husband. We also established a schedule that allowed for me to receive chemotherapy treatments at the Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center (at FHN Memorial Hospital). I was happy I didn’t have to wait.”

“FHN Helped in So Many Ways’

Brenda was appreciative of the help she received at multiple FHN facilities. “After feeling ill for quite some time, I was fi rst diagnosed by a doctor at FHN’s emergency department, who ordered a CT scan and sadly found multiple tumors with organ involvement. I was referred to Madison to a UW gynecologic oncologist,” she explains. “After surgery, I wanted to be closer to home and chose to have treatment at our local cancer center. Dr. Arshad Shaikh and the nurses were very professional and compassionate, and it only took me a few minutes to get to my appointments. They anticipated possible setbacks in my wound treatment during chemo, and knowing what to expect helped me remain positive. I also worked with a nutritionist at the Cancer Center and we adjusted my diet, which helped me ‘feel and heal’ better. It ultimately worked out just great.”

Regarding the Center for Wound Healing at FHN Memorial Hospital, Brenda’s appreciation is especially enthusiastic. “I can’t say enough about Carrie Wright, a nurse practitioner, and Michelle, a nurse, at the Center,” she shares. “Debriding my tissue and changing my dressings was excruciating, but these ladies helped me work through the pain and minimize the stress. Carrie was my liaison with the UW surgeon and she helped provide continuity to my care and helped me figure out any confusion about the process. She did so much for me. I had a lot of complications, and she guided me through each one. Eventually, she fitted me with a wound vacuum system that promotes new skin growth. That treatment worked extremely well and made all the difference.”

Healed Up … and Ready to Move Forward

It has been a long ordeal. Brenda spent most of her time in a recliner and visiting the Center for Wound Healing for two-hour visits three times a week for six months! Now she has “graduated,” her incision is healed, and she has no evidence of cancer. To recover her strength, Brenda is working regularly with the physical therapy team at FHN Family Healthcare Center – Burchard Hills in Freeport. She hopes to return to a normal routine soon.

“Something like this makes you really grateful for all the little things in life,” she emphasizes, “like taking a shower, playing with my grandkids, and looking forward to weekends in our new camper. FHN helped make all those things possible. I thank the staff from the emergency department, the Cancer Center, the Center for Wound Healing, and physical therapy for helping me get my life back.”