CHICAGO RIDGE, Ill. (CBS) – A suburban cancer patient and mother of five says it was literally a life or death situation at her home over the last couple of days.

Her electricity was shut off even after she tried to make payments on an overdue bill, so she called CBS 2.

Lisa Mihaljevic had just gotten out of the hospital with Stage 3 breast cancer and asthma. She woke up Wednesday with no power.

On Thursday, there was still no air conditioning, no fan, no power and no way to use a machine to ease her breathing.

“I can’t even use the nebulizer,” she told CBS 2’s Pamela Jones. “I can’t cook, I have five children, and out of the five children, three are asthmatic.”

Her family says it’s all because of a $580 dollar electric bill they tried to make good on. They got a disconnection notice and say they made a partial payment back on Aug. 7 as ComEd asked.

But Wednesday they say the power was shut off, even after they say they notified ComEd of the payment and their medical conditions.

“I did everything they asked me to do, and I still didn’t get anywhere, and I just keep getting the runaround,” Mihaljevic said.

After CBS 2 contacted ComEd, the lights came on around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

ComEd says the company values Mihaljevic as a customer and is committed to working with her to resolve her issue.

The family had power Thursday, but fear some of their food spoiled during the turnoff.

The family says ComEd did offer to reimburse them for the food they lost.

The utility says it now has the mom’s medical needs documented appropriately now, and shut off is always a last resort.

There is $50 million in a ComEd hardship program to help struggling customers. Call (888) 806-2273.

Also, the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County offers assistance to low-income families. Call (312) 456-4100 for more information.

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