New York.- by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
42 year old French language teacher from Greece, Nicolia Moraitis, said on Friday August 22, good bye to neurosurgeon Dr. Laligam Sekhar and the staff at the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset New York, where she had two successful brain surgeries, removing a very rare and big tumor from the base of her skull. At 10:30 in the morning, August 22, 2003, all the people that stayed alongside Nikolia, during the difficult times followed her operation, gathered in the room to say farewell.
Speaking to GreekNews, Nikolia Moraitis said that 18 months ago she had the first symptoms that make her worry. While in class or home, she was losing temporarily her vision and even fainting. After many medical tests, MRI scan showed a big and rare tumor at the base of her scull.
“It was inoperable in both Greece and all Europe”, said Nicolia Moraitis, quoting one of her Greek doctors who told her: “No doctor in Greece, with self respect will operate on you”.
With all expenses covered by the Greek Government, Nicolia was recommended to Dr. Laligam Sekhar, a neurosurgeon well known to Greek medical circles, through his participation in various conferences.
“That was the biggest tumor I have ever seen at this area, at the base of the scull. It is a cancerous tumor, called chondrosarcoma. This is a very rare tumor, as far as brain tumors go and it represents only 0.5% of all brain tumors”.
Dr Sekhar said the surgery was a very complex one because it was very difficult to expose the tumor.
“I knew it would be a complex operation and that I could do it. Every case is a separate and unique case. I always do my very best, based on my experience and knowledge but we always need help from the divine Being”.
Dr Sekhar explained that in all, these operations have lasted about 18 hours all together. “We had to go to the base of the brain which is a very difficult area, because it has the carotid artery that supplies the brain, as well as the nerves that control the eyes. If you make any false moves she will end up with permanent paralysis or major problems”.
The results were amazing making Dr Sekhar, the hospital staff and Nicolia’s brother, Christos Moraitis, who traveled with her in New York, extremely happy.
“As you see she is doing very well and we believe at this moment that the tumor has been completely removed. The nice thing is, if this tumor is completely removed, then the chance of coming back is very-very low. We have to do another MRI scan in about three months. She has some temporary problems with her eyes and face but she is going to be completely well probably in about 2-3 months. We are hoping she will go back to her teaching job full time work and her 4 year old boy. I know she misses her son very much…” said Dr Sekhar.
A very emotional Nicolia Moraiti expressed her gratitude to her doctor and also the hospital staff that embraced her with love.
“My home is your home” she tells her doctor, after inviting him to visit her in Greece. Nicolia Moraitis will stay few more weeks in Long Island, before she returns to Greece to join with her 4 year old who missed greatly. She said she talks with him daily and she has him on her mind constantly.
Special thanks she extends to a lot of members of the Greek American Community who help her during these painful times. Among them, Helen Pappas and Xydias Family from Panelian Association, Helen Constantinidis, Helen Raptis, Peter Nanos, Kyriaki Katsageorgis, Dr Vangelis Mavrogeorgis and father Denis Strouzas.