A Florida woman who moved to the United States from Cuba in 1994 got a pit in her stomach this past December when doctors showed her a dark spot on her lung.
For 28 years, Blanca Riveron suffered from a debilitating, nagging cough. Her breathing was labored. Doctors, treating her countless times for asthma and pneumonia.
"It's been horrible," Riveron said. "My life had just been horrible."
In December, she coughed up blood. Frightened, her daughter, Dayana, brought the 62-year-old to doctors again. And this time, they found a mass in Riveron's lung. A dark spot they suspected was cancer.
In tears, Riveron called another daughter -- Melody, who still lives in Cuba. She told her about the sad diagnosis. But then Melody reminded her mother of a story from three decades ago. When she was eating a piece of fruit called nispero.
Riveron had all but forgotten the story of the time she yelled to her children and accidentally inhaled a nispero seed.
"I told my daughter, 'No, it can't be it. It's been 28 years.' I mean it can't be it."
Ridiculous, thought Riveron, that a pit could be the culprit after three decades. But a few weeks later, after a second endoscopy, she was sitting at a traffic light, started coughing violently and out it came. The seed that had sat in her lung since 1984. The coughing? Practically gone.
In two weeks, Riveron will go back to the doctor to check her lungs again, but she's already breathing so much easier she's confident she believes in her heart it was the pit all along -- not cancer. The family calls it a gift from God. A second chance. A miracle.
"I can breathe. I can sleep. My life has changed completely."