I have been working in the Office Equipment Repair business since I was a senior in high school. Mary came from a background in Workers Compensation Insurance. After the company Mary was working for decided to relocate, she started an In-Home daycare center “Marys Lil Lambs” in Carol Stream, IL and operated that until we moved to Indiana. After settling into our new home, Mary was 8 ½ month pregnant, she wanted to raise our children full time. As a team, we made this decision, and we made it work.
After our children were in High School, Mary decided to get back into the workplace and found a job working as an Aid with the Lake Central Schools. Mary has a passion for helping others, especially special needs children. She continued this work at Munster High School working with young adults.
Fast forward to Dec 2011 when she found a lump in her breast. After multiple tests and biopsies, the diagnosis was an aggressive and invasive form of Breast cancer. Talk about rocking our world; the following year was made up of numerous chemo treatments, radical mastectomy, and radiation treatments. After the radiation treatments, the surgical wounds never adequately healed resulting in multiple staph infections. This ultimately leads to over 15 pulse lavage treatments and three additional surgeries to properly close the wound. During this time we spent many birthdays, anniversaries and holidays in the hospital.
After a long summer break, Mary was looking forward to returning to work at Munster High School, at this point, she was three months cancer free. It was the start of a new school year, and she already missed the first week of classes. The day before returning Mary bent over to pick something up from the ground and experienced extreme head pain, she assumed this was the start of a sinus infection. She went to Urgent care to get it checked out, and they told her to go to the ER asap. We thought the original diagnosis was earth-shattering, but this one sent us over the edge. Mary's breast cancer had metastasized and spread causing a brain tumor. The tumor at the base of her brain caused the headaches.
At this point, Mary was no longer able to work in the schools because she lost her fine motor skills and was considered a fall risk. The following five years have been filled with a constant barrage of chemo treatments, cyber knife procedures, pet scans, MRIs, MUGA tests, Dr office visits, ER visits, hospital stays, and radiation procedures. If Mary does not have treatments or procedures, she is at home resting and recuperating from the side effects of all the various treatment causing debilitating fatigue.
The latest scare was in June this year when cancer spread to her liver and thyroid. Mary had to start radiation treatments on her thyroid which ended up causing burns to her esophagus and killed all her taste buds. Mary was unable to properly swallow food and simply drinking water was a risk. She always felt like she was going to choke and the pain was unbearable causing extreme weight loss. Mary was often too weak to get up out of a chair; this went on through July when she was able to change to a new chemo treatment. This was not started earlier because it requires taking over 15 large pills per day on top of all her other oral medications.
Fast forward to Labor Day weekend, when yet another issue arose. The new medicine was now affecting Mary’s BP resulting in another ER visit. With her BP being critically low due to dehydration, they immediately started rapid IV infusion. They also found out that one of the new chemo pills she was taking ended up causing sores on her lips, mouth, esophagus and even severe colitis. She spent the following week in the hospital and has been at home recovering until the next battle.
Mary has been through more in the past 6.5 years than most have in several lifetimes. Our family has been on this emotional roller coaster with her and as you can imagine it has been devastating financially. With Kevin and Kaylee in college, we are only able to provide some limited support to help with their college expenses. They are having to go it alone with student loans. Even though we have health insurance, most know that it does not cover all of your costs. We still have to deal with co-pays, deductibles, and non covered treatment costs. Not to mention all of the over the counter items that are not covered. We have spent every dollar we had, maxed out credit cards, borrowed from relatives, and exhausted all of our options. Many people have reached out with financial and emotional help, in our desperate time of need.
I do not know what the future brings, but I do know that this is all in the hands of our Powerful and Almighty God. The main thing that keeps us going is our faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tom & Mary Hausier
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