“Waste of a Heart?” Hardly
Black and white is the color theme in her shop, but it’s hardly maudlin. A painted banner of a version of an Edmund Burke quote runs across an interior beam of the store, stating: “Evil Triumphs When Good People Do Nothing.”
Victoria Fonseca doesn’t plan on being one of those people. For her, every day is a cause for celebration, because she knows things could have turned out differently. Some years back, she had little reason to expect life would be this good.
It was then she faced her own mortality.
This former pediatric nurse at Hasbro’s Children’s Hospital, in Providence, just kept dropping (syncope episodes.) That’s right, she’d fall down, unconscious, in a heart-stop episode. Her doctors authorized tests and took pictures, but her situation looked grave. They finally determined she had sarcoidosis, characterized by heart lesions.
For a second opinion, they suggested she go to New England Medical, in Boston.
There, they gave her their own round of tests which corroborated her Rhode Island doctors’ findings. They approached her with a plan: They wanted to surgically-induce conditions to see if they could bring about an episode. In this way, they hoped to determine the cause.
But she was told her condition was “iffy” (OK, that wasn’t the medical term), and that she “might want to get her affairs in order.“
When she asked if she might be eligible for a heart transplant, the cardiologist stated, matter-of-factly: “No, that’d be a waste of a heart.” She wondered why he had to phrase it that way.
In attendance, on the day of surgery was a nurse anesthetist she called “the Praying Nurse.” Yes, the woman told her that she’d do her usual professional thing but asked Victoria if she minded her praying over her, during the procedure. Victoria gave her the go-ahead, considering “What can I lose?”
The procedure, itself, gave no clue as to why she suffered those episodes, but in immediate follow-up tests, doctors found: The lesions had disappeared. That’s right, they‘d gone. When she questioned how that could be, she was told: “Perhaps there was lint or dust on the lens, giving us a false picture, initially.”
It was then her husband countered with “And did Rhode Island Hospital use the same lint-affected lens, since they picked up the condition on their screen, too?
Long story short: Victoria’s lesions have gone, as have all symptoms. Today, she shows no effects of the situation she faced, nor is she on any medication. But she’s had a life-changing experience…which is probably why she and husband do what they do now.
She runs her little boutique in Bristol, Rhode Island, aptly named Revival (New Life?) that shares a message of doing for others and then in the off-season, they go to South/Central India where she works in an orphanage.
When I asked, “Why India?” (as opposed to the United States), she answers: “Because there are approximately 500,000 babies needing care in that country, at present.” Since she’s a pediatric nurse, she‘s a perfect fit to provide it.
But what’s their big plan for the future (since she now believes she has one)?
They want to open a tea room in Bristol, behind the little boutique (they bought the building), and ultimately use profits to help bring a Recovery House to Rhode Island for women who battle drug and alcohol abuse (similar to one in Manchester, New Hampshire.)
The added feature of this home? It’ll allow women to bring along their children. That’ll be unique in Rhode Island, since none presently allows that, and a stay at a recovery home without their children is one of the greatest challenges for women who battle addiction.
So, spontaneous healing, a belief we can all make a difference, and a putting into action a plan to help others. Victoria Fonseca embodies the true Thanksgiving spirit. Check out her and her little shop in Bristol (pictures are below)…
Just don’t plan a visit in Rhode Island’s really cold winter months when she’s off, helping heal little children in India.
Here’s the non-denominational group she’s affiliated with: Manna International, a group based in Bristol.
Got your own idea of a Rhode Island/North Carolina (my two home states), “CNN Hero”? Let me know, and I’ll focus the Biddy spotlight on him or her….In the meantime, heartfelt blessings to all…and tune in Friday, when I give substantive proof to all that “You Never Wanna Peak in High School”…