Doctors diagnosed 45-year-old Maria Filomena da Costa in Brazil with a benign brain tumor two years ago. It needed to be removed, but the location of the tumor made things tricky. Removing the tumor without impacting Maria’s speech and cognition wouldn’t be easy.

As a result, doctors determined Maria would need to be kept awake during brain surgery! “There was a big risk Maria would lose her speech, and it was important that she talked to the team during surgery,” neurosurgeon Carlos Rocha explained: Brain surgery is scary enough. But needless to say, this particular operation was terrifying. And Maria admits she found the idea of surgeons working on her brain while she was awake was daunting. So, the team delayed the operation until Maria was psychologically prepared for everything involved.

When it came time to operate, doctors used anesthesia to keep Maria “slightly sleepy,” but still able to speak and respond. The team planned to quiz her on colors, names, etc. “We had pre-arranged to do speech mapping with electrical stimuli to the brain and tests during surgery, asking her to name objects and colors, read and talk,” Carlos said.

But Maria surprised everyone when she started singing to her Lord and Savior as doctors began removing the tumor “I wanted to feel confident during surgery and have some sort of control in my own way,” Maria said. “My song thanked God for my life and for giving me the strength to fight and win through this difficult health battle that has been hanging over me since 2015.”

Maria’s actions completely stunned the doctors. Not only did it provide assurance for the doctors that Maria’s speech would be just fine, but it inspired the team in a powerful way. “There were a number of professionals involved in this procedure, and it was an emotional experience. Everyone couldn’t stop talking about her courage,” anesthesiologist Paula Fialho said.

The 8-hour surgery went well, and within only 4 days, Maria headed home from the hospital. She’s walking, talking, and is well on her way to a full recovery! Our God is certainly an awesome God!

Some people may question, why doesn’t God do this for everyone? No doubt that inquiry would get many answers. King David said, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm23:4) In another place, David wrote, “O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me, steadfast love.” (Psalm 59:17)

The prophet Isaiah shared God’s word with us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

And the Apostle Paul give his testimony when faced with a situation he could only handle with God’s help. God said to me, says Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

So, God may bring us through in different ways for various reasons, the outcome is in His hands. But we are too. Whatever we go through, He is there, that’s all we need to know and sing about. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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