Meet Gricelda: A Vision Restored

When Gricelda arrived from Cuba, she knew she would have to start over in many ways. There, she was settled in her life, her career, with plenty of friends and family to lean on. What she brought with her, however, was determination and a strong sense of faith. She knew this was the right path.

Soon after arriving, she was thrilled to find a healthcare home in Lowell CHC. She connected immediately with Dr. Robert Marlin in our Metta Health Center, which specializes in meeting the unique health needs of newcomers. “I love Dr. Marlin,” she beams. While Gricelda primarily communicates in Spanish, she also speaks Portuguese. So does Dr. Marlin. “He is the best. It’s very easy to communicate with him.”

Before she could really settle into her new life, a health emergency put her faith in herself – and her medical team – to the test.

One day she noticed she was having blurred and sudden double vision. She quickly came into our Niki Tsongas Eye Care Center. Sensing the urgency of the situation, our team made sure she was seen right away. After a thorough examination, we led her down that hall to our Patient Walk-In Center for additional testing. The providers there were concerned, and quickly directed her to the emergency room, coordinating every step of the way, including utilizing our medical interpretation services to provide Gricelda with complete, timely information and instructions.

At the hospital, she received an unsettling diagnosis: a large brain tumor. As you can imagine, Gricelda was overcome with emotion. What would this mean for her future? What was clear was that she needed surgery to remove the tumor, hopefully preserve her vision, and prevent further issues.

“No one could tell me if I would be able to see normally again, how my hearing might be impacted, what would happen,” her voice trembling, recalling the deep sense of uncertainty.

Three procedures later, all she could do was wait and heal. They told her it could take 9 months or more to know long-term impacts. Fortunately, only 3 months later, Gricelda’s vision has returned to normal, and she is on her way to making a complete recovery.

“The level of attention at the Health Center is excellent. I am really thankful for my doctors. I don’t have the words to express how much it means to me,” she shares with tears in her eyes. “They returned my health, my vision, my life.”

What’s next for Gricelda? She’s looking forward to getting back to reaching her goals – as soon as her doctors give the ok.

“I want to work, I want to study. I want to strive for all I can do in my life. I want to contribute to this country that has given me so much – and make sure that anyone who needs helps knows that it is here for them.”

What are Stories of HOPE?

Health, first and foremost, because it is our firm belief that everyone should have access to care – regardless of ability to pay. They are also stories of the opportunities that good health provides, the power of people helping people, and experiences that connect us.

It’s our hope that sharing these stories in the coming months will lift the curtain so you can see for yourself how – together – we are building A Just and Healthy Community.