Houser discusses rare disease at Golden K meeting

From left, Golden K member Gary Proudfit, guest speaker Emily Houser, and program chairwoman Sue Proudfit.

KINGSFORD — You might call it routine or perhaps tradition. Monday morning brings the Golden K senior group together for what humans do best — sharing and caring.

Along with news and stories, birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated. Concerns are expressed and addressed. It’s a place to remember that we are here for each other and to support the community we live in.

As they gathered in the fellowship hall at the First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford, Chairwoman Sue Proudfit rang the bell and brought all to their feet.

Not missing a beat was Alyce Derwinski on piano with Lois Outcelt leading the singing. Enthusiasm multiplied as the group belted out “The Wiffenpoof Song,” “Yes Sir That’s My Baby” and “You Are My Sunshine.” Those old songs have a way of telling things as they are, or maybe as we’d like them to be.

Joanne Lindholm picked up her winnings from the 50-50 drawing, which added a bit more joy to her day. There was mention of happy football fans in the group as it is that time of the year.

Sue Proudfit introduced Emily Houser as the guest speaker. This young woman has an amazing story to tell. She astounded the Golden K with her positive, upbeat approach to life and its challenges.

The Golden K boasts members from 50 to over 90. There are plenty of aches, pains, and challenges in the group. None of us has faced the overwhelming quandary this young lady deals with. She has been diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. It’s a brain disease that is found in Japan and the Philippines. It’s rare, but increasing in the U.S.

As a mother of two young active boys, she originally ignored symptoms that turned out to be deadly serious. She was having strokes that began slowly and unobtrusively until she finally sought care.

Moyamoya Brain disease is new to this country’s medical field. In Houser’s case, it is genetic.

During Christmas of 2021, she experienced dizziness, fatigue, and speech difficulty. Everyday life with children became arduous. Her care began at Bellin, moved to Green Bay and finally found experts in Madison. She discovered she had suffered several strokes and much damaged had been done. A test of the blood vessels in her brain led to the diagnosis of her illness.

Her extensive treatment included brain surgery and weekly injections. The other side of her brain is now showing symptoms and treatment is tentatively scheduled for December this year.

The process of learning, understanding and dealing with the disease for this young wife and mother has been challenging beyond what most could handle. She met the challenge head-on. On Monday, she gave us all a gift. She laughed with pure joy and appreciation for life. She reminded us not to let our aches and pains define life. She expressed gratitude for a community that provides help and support. She gifted us the courage and strength it requires to tackle every day life. Along her challenging journey, she is excited for each treatment that gives her another happy day with her husband and two boys.

The Golden K will meet at 10 a.m. Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford. All are welcome. The program will feature John Jessen and Tony Edelbeck speaking on the upcoming Kingsford Centennial.


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