Rebecca in the queue as she registers for a dental check-up

For almost 10 years, Rebecca has been suffering from the impact of a lump in her mouth. In 2009 she discovered a small yellowish hard tissue in her gums. “At first, it doesn’t really look harmful, until it grew bigger and bigger. When I gave birth to my youngest son last 2017, it shocked me that it reached this big (almost a size of a marble).”

Rebecca’s mouth being checked by Dr. Darwin Gaba, OB volunteer dentist

Rebecca Nalaza, 43, a homemaker, and her kids are depending on her husband’s meager income of PhP5,000 – PhP6,000 ($98.50- $118.19) every 15 days, as highway maintenance. “When I once consulted a dentist, she was asking for a big amount so I can go through tests and possible surgical operation. Obviously, I couldn’t afford it. All I can do is to hope and pray that one day, a group of people will visit our place here in Barangay Lunadag, Poblacion, Pilar in Bohol to help me with my condition,” Rebecca narrated.

When Operation Blessing held its medical mission in Rebecca’s place, she took the opportunity to be checked by a dentist. When she was asked what she did when she heard about the medical mission in her place, Rebecca said, “the first thing that came into my mind was, ‘this is the moment that I’ve been waiting for,’ I was so nervous because of my worsening condition  and I was afraid that I might die.”

Dr. Darwin performing a major oral operation to remove the benign tumor in Rebecca’s mouth

Dr. Darwin Gaba, a dental surgeon that checked Rebecca’s mouth said that this is a rare case and that only 1 or 2 out of 100 patients might have this condition. “Sometimes we called this condition, “fibroma” or abnormal growth in the mouth caused by poor oral hygiene practice. This is especially true when the patient cannot afford dental cleanings. There’s a possible occurrence of small benign tumor that grows in time just like in Rebecca’s case. Although it’s a bit harmless, this must be removed to prevent it from growing. It can affect her speaking and eating capacity. It’s a blessing that we met her in this medical mission so that we can remove the fibroma in her mouth.”

Dr. Darwin together with Dr. Red Pastor and Ms. Joyce Titular who assisted during Rebecca’s operation

Before Dr. Darwin proceeded to do the major oral operation, Operation Blessing medical mission team gathered to pray for Rebecca and for the success of the operation. In just an hour or two, Rebecca’s fibroma was successfully removed!

“Salamat sa Diyos, dumating kayo (Operation Blessing), hulog kayo ng langit sa mga kagaya ko,”

(“Thank God, you came! You were, indeed, sent from heaven to help people like me,”),  Rebecca said with tears of joy.

Rebecca’s son together with her sister, relieved after the success of her operation