Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

Success! Torteliana from the Philippines raised $1,500 for thyroid surgery.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Torteliana's treatment was fully funded on April 11, 2016.

Photo of Torteliana post-operation

May 11, 2016

Torteliana received successful thyroid surgery.

“Torteliana is very overwhelmed with the great impact surgery has brought to her life. She can eat properly and without difficulty,” reports our medical team at International Care Ministries. “All in all, she is really grateful for her life extended without the threat of the disease. She and her family want to extend their big thanks to all the people behind her healing, especially to all the donors.”

“I am very thankful for the people that helped me,” Torteliana shared. “If it was just us, we could not afford the surgery and even the medications I have to take thereafter. I am thankful that I had this operation and through this experience the eyes of my children also opened. Thank you so much, what you have done means so much to me.”

"Torteliana is very overwhelmed with the great impact surgery has brought to her life. She can eat properly and without difficulty," reports...

Read more
March 30, 2016

“I am looking forward to doing chores at home without experiencing chest pain, difficulty breathing, and difficulty swallowing,” shares Torteliana, a 50-year-old farmer who lives with her family in a nipa hut in the Philippines.

For the last 15 years, Torteliana has had an enlarged thyroid, commonly known as a goiter. Typically presenting as a lump or swelling at the front of the neck, a goiter can become large enough to obstruct nearby structures and cause difficulty swallowing or breathing. Most goiters are due to a deficiency of iodine, an important element in the body’s production of thyroid hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism.

Because of the goiter, “Torteliana cannot carry heavy objects and cannot do heavy tasks at home,” explains our medical partner, International Care Ministries (ICM). “And because it is visible enough due to its size, it really gets people’s attention when she passes by, and she is embarrassed by it.”

Despite her worsening symptoms, “Torteliana was not examined by a doctor because of lack of finances,” ICM continues. In addition to working on her farm, she sells local goods at the market, but “she cannot afford the treatment needed because her income is barely enough for the everyday needs of her family.”

Doctors recommend that Torteliana undergo a thyroidectomy, a surgical procedure to remove the thyroid gland. $1,500 covers the cost of the surgery, transportation to and from the hospital, 10 days of hospital care—including medicine, imaging, and blood tests—and medication to take after she returns home.

“After the treatment, Torteliana will not experience difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, or chest pain,” ICM tells us. “She can do her activities of daily living with confidence. She can be productive and boost her self-esteem.”

“I am very thankful that somebody could help me to have this operation for free,” says Torteliana. “I am hopeful that after this, I can work with less difficulty to sustain my family’s needs.”

“I am looking forward to doing chores at home without experiencing chest pain, difficulty breathing, and difficulty swallowing,” shares Tort...

Read more

Torteliana's Timeline

  • March 30, 2016

    Torteliana was submitted by Krishiel Ferenal, National Health Officer at International Care Ministries.

  • April 1, 2016

    Torteliana received treatment at Silliman University Medical Center in Philippines. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • April 6, 2016

    Torteliana's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • April 11, 2016

    Torteliana's treatment was fully funded.

  • May 11, 2016

    Torteliana's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 24 donors

Funded by 24 donors

  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Patients have enlarged thyroid glands and/or elevated thyroid hormone levels. Some have difficulty swallowing and/or breathing. They may be diagnosed with a number of conditions, including hyperthyroidism, Grave's disease, a multinodular goiter, thyroid carcinoma, thyroiditis, and others.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

At first, the patient will notice a lump or swelling at the front of his or her neck. As the lump grows, it can cause discomfort and psychological distress. Very large goiters may compress adjacent structures in the neck, such as the esophagus (causing difficulty swallowing) and the airways (causing difficulty breathing).

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

This treatment is necessary and has no historical, cultural, or regional significance.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

Typically, a major portion of the thyroid gland is removed. The surgery is done under general anesthesia and can take several hours. Once the medications have taken effect, the anesthetist will insert a tube into the patient's throat to manage his or her airway and breathing. An incision is made at the base of the neck, and all or part of the thyroid gland is removed. The incision is then sutured closed, the wound is dressed, and the patient is taken to the recovery area until stable.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

After the removal of the gland, the patient's symptoms will disappear. The patient will have a thin scar at the base of the neck. If the whole thyroid gland was removed, the patient will need to stay on replacement hormones for the rest of his or her life.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

Occasionally, the nerve that innervates the vocal cords can be damaged, causing a permanently hoarse or weak voice. If the tiny parathyroid glands are accidentally removed, the patient may need calcium supplements and monitoring for the rest of his or her life.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

This surgery is available in most public hospitals throughout the Philippines. Some patients travel to our medical partner from remote communities. They are members of our medical partner's sponsored communities.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Small goiters or thyroid lumps that are not malignant can be left untreated, unless they cause psychological distress to the patient.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Lilian is a 25-year-old woman who works as a helper for another family. A mother of two young children, she is raising them alone, since she and her husband are separated. She says that despite struggling to sustain them, she loves them a lot. Six years ago, Lilian began to experience troubling symptoms, including a swollen neck, snoring, difficulty breathing especially at night and feeling the weight of a growth in her neck. She has also been experiencing low self-esteem due to the neck swelling. She was diagnosed with large Right Multinodular Goiter, and needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Lillian could not go to the hospital for lack of money until one of her neighbours who had been supported through the Watsi program brought her to Nazareth Hospital for possible support. She was advised to have an ultrasound scan and thyroid function tests. For three months, she did not return to Nazareth, until last week when she had finally managed to raise money for the tests. Now our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Lilian receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on October 24th at our medical partner's care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $657, and she and her family need help raising money. Lilian is very optimistic and says, “Now I have the results and I am very hopeful that the sponsors will answer to my plea, so that I can regain my normal life, self-esteem and take care of my small children.”

25% funded

$492to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.