After her first chemo treatment she developed an infection in the area of the surgery. The bacteria is called Mycobacterium abscessus. It is an acid-fast bacillus that's classified as a pathogenic "rapid growing" nontuberculous mycobacteria. While this bacteria is all around us it is uncommon for a human to develop an infection. The chemo had destroyed her immunity and she succumbed to the infection. Her doctor tried to treat it with antibiotics for a few weeks. Unfortunately the antibiotics will only kill it if it is not actively growing. So for weeks, she continued to have this horrible infection consuming her body. She was finally forwarded to the Mayo Clinic.
This is so rare, that the Mayo Clinic in Arizona has only seen 15 cases. They told her and her husband Dave that they only way to stop it was to cut it out. Laura had surgery that week removing tissue in her chest, her pectoral muscle, and skin. When the surgeon came out of the operating room, he told Dave that she was only a cell membrane away from having this in her heart which would most likely been fatal. The doctor felt that had they waited a day or two longer she would not have made it.
It has been a few weeks since then. I could tell you the horrible details of what has happened during her recovery. The pain alone of having that large open wound and the daily treatments she needs are more than any of us could imagine. Laura just recently had another surgery to remove a section of her rib cage that was damaged by lack of blood flow by the infection. Laura still has another 6 months of medical treatments to recover from the cancer and the infection. She still needs chemo to treat the cancer. After the Chemo is complete she still will have a major surgery to remove tissue and skin from her belly to reconstruct her chest over the open wound where the infected skin and tissue was removed. I cannot imagine what it is like being able to see your own bones and muscles when they change the wound pack every three days for the next 3-4 months.
Dave and Laura have insurance. But that does not pay for everything. The daily antibiotic infusions alone ran over $72K. And then there are the 6 surgeries she has already had this spring and at least one more major surgery to follow. Dave and Laura will have to pay their share. But that is just the beginning. Laura cannot work and has lost her income. Dave has had to take so much time off work with no pay. His company has been great by accommodating any time off he needs every week. While Dave has stepped up, there are not enough hours in the day for Dave to work and care for his family. The extended family has been great. But they live in other states. Dave and Laura could use some outside help. That costs money and their income is significantly impacted.
My goal in starting this Go Fund Me is to ask for your help in getting this family back to as normal as a life as they can have during this medical crisis. They need money to make ends meet for housing, food, utilities, new school clothes for the girls.....and it goes on and on. And of course it would be great to hire someone to come in and help with daily needs of the household and family. It will be a long time before Laura can go back to work. And she will be permanently impacted by the loss of her pectoral muscle.
Please be a blessing and help Dave and Laura. They are a hard working family who has not asked for a hand out, but circumstances are against them this year. If you are able to help. God Bless you. If you are unable to help, we pray that someone else is a blessing in your life and is helping you to get back on track. Thank you.
- Amy Husted
- Karla Dykhuis
- Renee Riggio
- Jan Schukart
Organizer and beneficiary
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