Seeing the new, uncertain morning: Woman gets 2nd double-lung transplant

Chicago Tribune | Ted Gregory

Cassie Stanley was in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit on a bright February afternoon. Five tubes snaked from her body and, more than 30 pounds underweight, she could barely walk around the room. Lunch was ice chips. The night before she slept only about four hours.

And in so many ways, she couldn't have been more fortunate.

Stanley wasn't expected to survive long when she was admitted to the hospital a week earlier. Then a new life was given to her, in the form of lungs transplanted during a 10-hour, overnight surgery.

They are her third set of lungs in a sometimes harrowing life odyssey. After the first transplant in 2007, her body slowly began rejecting the organs and she became desperately ill. The latest chapter, detailed by the Tribune in January, was a 26-month wait for another donor.