Monday, July 8, 2013

KCAT CAN: The miracle of faith

The miracle of faith

Maria Teresa Figuerres or Tetcha is a wife to Eduardo, and a mother to Justin. Like most mothers, she dedicates her time to her family with her unlimited TLC (tender love and care).

Behind that strong motherly image is a survivor and living symbol of faith and hope. Be inspired with her story.

"Back in 2003, I suffered from Amenorrhea – the absence of a menstrual period in a woman of reproductive age. I have been under the care of a couple of OB-GYN in the past, and my experiences with them left me traumatized. The medications I took gave me palpitations and a severe case of allergic reaction and double vision of my right eye.

The last doctor said most women with excessive prolactin levels have pituitary tumors. Not that she suspected I had one, but just the same I had to have a CT scan. So I did and we were able to pinpoint the cause of my amenorrhea.

What was to be a simple follow-up checkup with my obstetrician/gynecologist had me going to a neurosurgeon’s clinic. My CT scan results showed a tumor in the sella turcica – that part of the brain where the pituitary gland is located. I was diagnosed with Pituitary Macroadenoma, a slow-growing and typically benign tumor arising from cells in the pituitary gland. The doctor said the tumor was still too small and there’s no need for medication or immediate operation for the time being.

But when I woke up one morning, I noticed there was something terribly wrong with my right eye. I was having double vision. My right eyeball was actually moving to the opposite direction, and I couldn’t control it. My husband and I immediately rushed to the hospital. After a couple of tests, and MRI, my doctor finally concluded that an operation was imperative.

On January 23, 2004, I underwent a frontal craniotomy to remove my pituitary tumor. While I was being wheeled out of the operating room, my husband told me that my eyes were wide open, but it seemed like I wasn’t seeing because I had no reaction even when they were in front of me. I could remember hearing them, but I wasn’t seeing anything. Everyone feared I had actually gone blind.

Initially, I could only see a silhouette of my neurosurgeon’s fingers and I could only see black and white. Thankfully, my vision gradually improved. Unfortunately, my eyes didn’t go back to the way it used to be. My left peripheral vision was affected, and my right eye has central residual vision. On top of that, my right eyeball now has a peculiar habit − the closer I look at an object, the farther the right eyeball goes because the pituitary tumor impinged upon my optic nerves.

A few months after the surgery, I was made to undergo MRI of the head again. As expected, there was still a small part of the tumor left in my pituitary gland. So I took my medication again to shrink the remaining tumor.

In a few months’ time, I am back on my toes again. I have learned to travel on my own again without bumping onto things. I started doing home-based jobs from part-time to full-time.

Blessings came pouring when I got pregnant in October 2005. This was rather unexpected as I have not been able to conceive in the nine years Eduardo and I have been married. I later found out that this, too, had something to do with the removal of the tumor. The tumor suppressed my fertility, so to speak. Because of my pregnancy, I had to stop the medication I was taking for the tumor for nine months. This caused the tumor to grow in size again.

This was when I decided I needed help from Above. I went to Sister Raquel Reodica, a renowned cancer healer at Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry and I was privileged to have been touched by her. True enough, my tumor was reduced to half its original size. On my 36th birthday in 2008, I was attended Fr. Fernando Suarez’ healing mass. At that time, I believed with all my heart that I was healed. And God was really good! My MRI results for that year revealed an empty sella turcica – the tumor in my pituitary gland is gone. This was my biggest miracle!

While my eyes were badly damaged, I am still functioning normally. So far, my head is clear now and there’s no sign of tumor at this point. Hopefully, I will be tumor-free forever.

While my experience left me scarred in more ways than one, it has also taught me that things happen for a reason. We might not be able to fathom why unfortunate things happen to us, but there is definitely a reason for all of these. And in time, those reasons will be revealed. I used to cry a lot after my surgery because I thought that was the end for me. But God has other plans. Like a child just learning to walk, He lifted me up and led me to where he wanted me to be, which is here, with my husband and my son. I am lucky to have been given a second lease on life, and I meant to enjoy every minute of it.

Indeed, God will never give us something we can’t handle. I myself, have experienced a lot of hurdles in life but I’m still thankful because He let those things happen to me because He knows what I’m capable of. Because of these challenges, I am now stronger, wiser and living a more meaningful life."

Avery Ponce is suffering from a liver disease called Biliary Cirrhosis and she needs to have a liver transplant before she turns one this November. Her family is calling for help. Visit SaveBabyAvery on Facebook and get in touch with her mom Angelica at 09059009220.

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