There is a scar along Barb Winlund’s right leg. It starts on her thigh and runs all the way down to her ankle.
In a way, the scar is a document of Barb’s years of struggle with peripheral artery disease. It tells the story of multiple surgeries, physical pain and wounds that resisted healing.
But when Barb looks at the scar on her leg, she doesn’t see a symbol of pain and disease. Rather, the leg tells a story of healing.
“To me, it’s not a badge of courage or honor,” said Barb, of Brookfield. “To me, I just look at how much was left open and now it’s closed.”
Wound clinic patient Barb Winlund stands beside the hypebaric oxygen chambers that helped save her leg.
There was a time when it seemed Barb would lose her right leg altogether. This news came in 2010, after more than a year of procedures to place and repair grafts related to her peripheral artery disease.
In July of 2010, a test of the oxygen level in the tissue in Barb’s leg measured just 23 on a scale where a reading of 40 indicates that a wound has a good chance of healing.
At that point, amputation seemed almost assured. “I was told by my surgeons that there would be a point where I couldn’t stand the pain anymore and they would need to amputate my leg,” she said.
Her husband, Jim, remembers how he felt after hearing that news.
“That was just the scariest thing in my life so far,” he said.
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