Fundraiser to be held for Lopez

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For Porfirio “Partner” Lopez, there is no place like home this holiday season.

Lopez returned to his Adelino home Thursday in time to spend Christmas with his family after doctors extracted a more than two-inch brain tumor.

News-Bulletin file photo: Porfirio “Partner” Lopez, of Adelino, is back home after having brain surgery to remove a two-inch brain tumor. A fundraising dinner will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Belen Community Center.

Neurosurgeons, specializing in ear, nose and throat at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, extracted 95 percent of the tumor on Nov. 12, said Lopez’s daughter, Geraldine St.Clair.

“I was very scared to have this surgery, but I read in the U.S. News and World Report that UPMC was one of the top 10 hospitals in the United States, and they pioneered the trans nasal endoscopic root procedure,” Lopez said in an email.

“Everyone I encountered during my stay in Pittsburgh was friendly and cordial,” he said. “The doctors and nurses were extremely kind, patient and intelligent, and I enjoyed my time at the Family House, but there is no place like home.”

To financially aid Lopez with transportation and lodging costs associated with his surgery and recovery, family and friends will be hosting a fundraiser.

“Partners for Partner,” a spaghetti dinner, is set for 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Belen Community Center and Eagle Park.

The fundraiser will consist of a dinner, silent auction, a 50/50 raffle ticket draw, where the winner receives half of the proceeds, bake sale and chair massage.

Lopez will have follow up MRIs and EEG, or electroencephalography that records spontaneous electrical activity within the brain, in Albuquerque.

The tumor, located near the center of his brain behind the pituitary gland, was removed through a transnasal endoscopic root, developed at UPMC.

“The doctors told Partner that if he wouldn’t of had this operation, in a matter of time he wouldn’t have been able to walk, swallow, see or hear,” St.Clair said in an email.

During the nine-hour procedure, doctors removed the tumor through Lopez’s sinus area before reconstructing the area with tissues from other parts of the body.

“The tumor had grown so much and stretched his optical nerves. Now that there is no tumor, the nerves will take a while to get back to normal,” St.Clair said.

Besides losing his balance, headaches and double vision, which St.Clair said could last anywhere from weeks to a year, Lopez said he feels fine.

As part of his recovery, Lopez can’t drive, lift, bend, blow his nose or even sneeze. If he feels a sneeze coming on, he must open his mouth or touch the roof of his mouth with his tongue to prevent the sneeze, St.Clair said.

Before his surgery, Lopez suffered from sudden spills, bloody noses and a loss of his sense of smell.

These symptoms were caused by a slow growing brain tumor, or meningioma, which doctors said had been developing for at least a decade.

The benign tumor was located through an MRI in late September.

Lopez’s son, David, a former Belen city councilor, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in his cerebellum last year.

“What are the chance of two people from the same family having a tumor? Even though they’re two totally different types of tumors,” St.Clair said.

Tickets for the fundraiser can also be purchased at the Belen Community Center.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.