Sixteen years ago, the chapel at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest was a safe harbor for Marisol as Jesús underwent a successful five-hour surgery to remove a rare benign tumor, a hemangioblastoma, on his brain stem. Removing such tumors can be challenging because they have a rich blood supply. Blood vessels attached to the tumor must be carefully disconnected before the tumor is removed.
Jesús’ type of tumor represents about 2 percent of all brain tumors.
Did you know? About 70 percent of all brain tumors are benign. Brain tumor facts
The couple’s two children were young teens at the time. Marisol didn’t know if Jesús would live, let alone walk or talk again. It was a lot to bear. Sometimes, the sight of tubes and the sound of beeping medical monitors was overwhelming. A woman of faith, she needed a place to pray, think and recharge.
The chapel became her oasis then and now – 16 years later – it would be the place she and Jesús would pledge themselves to each other again “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.”
“It’s almost like the biblical story of Lazarus,” says Marisol, a Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) medical insurance claims specialist since 2003. “God raised him (Jesús), I feel, from the dead. And when I would go to the chapel, that’s how I would feel. Being in the hospital room with him, I felt dead. So, I would go to the chapel and I would feel alive.”