Seeds from a nispero fruit
Seminole Heights, Florida -- A Seminole Heights woman who moved to the United States from Cuba in 1994 got a pit in her stomach this past December when doctors showed her a dark spot on her lung.
But it turns out the pit may have been the problem.
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For 28 years, Blanca Riveron suffered from a debilitating, nagging cough. Her breathing was labored. Doctors treated her countless times for asthma and pneumonia.
"It's been horrible. My life had just been horrible," said Riveron.
Five months ago, Blanca coughed up blood. Frightened, her daughter, Dayana, brought the 62-year-old to doctors again, and this time they found a mass in Blanca's lung.
The dark spot, they suspected, was cancer.
"We have to do surgery and we have to start searching to find out what can be done," Blanca says she was advised.
In tears, Blanca called another daughter, Melody, who still lives in Cuba. She told her about the sad diagnosis.
But then Melody reminded her mother of a story from three decades ago, when Blanca was eating a piece of fruit called a nispero.
Blanca had all but forgotten the story of the time she yelled to her children and accidentally inhaled a nispero seed.
"I told my daughter no, it can't be it. It's been 28 years - I mean it can't be it."
It was just too ridiculous, thought Blanca, that a pit could be the culprit after three decades. But a few weeks later, after a second endoscopy, Blanca was sitting at a traffic light, started coughing violently, and out it came.
The seed that had sat in her lung since 1984. Her coughing? Practically gone now.
"She's even been able to blow up a balloon for my son. She had never been able to do that," said daughter Dayana Noda.
In two weeks, Blanca will go back to the doctor to check her lungs again. But she's already breathing so much easier that she believes in her heart it was the pit all along - not cancer.
The family calls it a gift from God, a second chance, a miracle.
"I can breathe, I can sleep. My life has changed completely," said Blanca.
Blanca's breathing may still be compromised somewhat, because part of her lung is damaged from the seed having been lodged in there for so long.
But the coughing, she says, is all but gone now. And she feels like a new person.
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