Dr. Ziu Removes Dangerous Tumor in Marathon Runner


Sara Ferniza running marathonFor 20 years, Sara Ferniza was a runner. But when she fell during a race and hit her head, doctors ordered a CAT scan to make sure everything was all right. It was then they discovered meningioma, a tumor growing on the tissue covering her brain and spinal cord. Sara’s running had to take a backseat to brain surgery.

The tumor was located in a part of the brain that controls mobility. If left untreated, Ferniza could become paralyzed. She decided to have an operation to remove the tumor.

Hit the Ground Running

“This tumor had a capsule. So we go inside the tumor, carve it out, and then we collapse the capsule and remove the capsule,” said Ascension Seton neurosurgeon Dr. Mateo Ziu.

The surgery took just three hours, but recovery was supposed to take many months.

“My first visit I was like ‘Dr. Ziu, when can I run a marathon?’ He’s like, ‘Sara most of my patients just want to walk!’” Ferniza recalled.

Race to Recovery

Sara Ferniza running marathonIt was soon evident that Ferniza’s recovery was going to be anything but typical. She set her sights on getting back to her passion. Within six weeks she started jogging again. Seven months after her brain surgery, Ferniza was running a marathon. And she didn’t stop there.

“Since my surgery I’ve been running ultramarathons. I feel like this has motivated me to work harder,” Ferniza said.

The tumor certainly didn’t break Ferniza’s stride. If anything, she’s more committed to running than ever.

“It is a part of who I am and I couldn’t see myself without it, so I will continue to run for as long as I possibly can.”

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