Dr. Maria Lima

“There was a business call I had to take in my office. When I got on the call, the person was very rude. Suddenly, I felt an excruciating headache. I sat, drank water, and don’t remember anything more. It was a miracle: everybody usually leaves me alone, but my assistant had something to show me. She found me face down and saw my mouth going to the side. Right away, she grabbed a blood pressure cuff—I trained my team to do it every day. My blood pressure was 200, so she called 911. I woke up not knowing what was going on, still at the office, with my team telling me I passed out… When I got to the hospital, the nurse sent me straight to the CT scan and told me I had a brain aneurysm. She said she had to send me to a more specialized hospital, and that she needed to call 911 to transport me. I thought: if she’s calling 911, it’s over for me. I told my assistant to call my family and tell everyone that I was done—today was my last day. I had a bunch of different papers in my face. One was to open up my head. The other was the angiogram. I decided if I lose it all, I lose it all. The neurologist asked, ‘Why are you so calm?’ I said, ‘Because I don’t have a brain tumor!’ He said, ‘I don’t know which one is worse; one will kill you today, the other will kill you tomorrow.’ Afterward, I stayed home for 4 months… My mom, 89 years old, took care of me—showering, cooking, everything. It was a wake-up call. I realized that God let me stay here for a reason and I had to finish my mission. He could’ve taken me there and then: I had a 15% chance of survival. The neurologist was surprised I was even talking… A few times before the aneurysm, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. My husband passed away from cancer. I had a partner who stole so much money from me I had to start from scratch. But this time, it was something bigger: my mission was to take care of others. My brother told me to sell everything and try something else. I said, ‘No, I want to do dentistry. I hate business but I love the art of it.’ I came back after 4 months and changed everything in my office. I got someone to handle business stuff. My patients are surprised at how happy I am just to fix a tooth. The aneurysm was my last chance. God was in front of me saying, ‘Do you want to do dentistry?’ and I decided I did. Now, every day is a blessing. I feel like I really found myself and my religion.”