(CBS News) – Opera singer Charity Tillman-Dick calls her disease the “reverse Grinch effect.”
She has an enlarged heart, and suffers from idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, a condition that doesn’t allow oxygen to be properly absorbed, causing the heart to work overtime.
Charity, 27, from North Denver has had two double-lung transplants. Doctors say she would have died without them.
“CBS This Morning” visited her in February in a hospital room at the Cleveland Clinic, and she was hoping, praying that she might sing again.
And sing, she has, in a remarkable performance, considering one doctor told her singing might *kill* her, and she worried she might never sing again.
Charity stood on stage last month to perform for the first time in public since the second double lung transplant.
When we first met her, she was just recovering from the new lung transplant and in such a fragile state that we had to wear masks to keep the germs at bay.
Before her surgery, she’d been in a medically-induced coma and on advanced life support. The wait for a new set of lungs had been excruciating.
“I’d go to bed at night not sure whether I was going to wake up in the morning,” she says.
But finally, an organ donor gave her a new set of lungs. And, with that, life. And, just maybe, her voice.
“Let’s be frank: Anytime they’re going to stick breathing tubes down your throat – vocal cords are two tiny, very delicate flaps of tissue in your throat … and they’re very easily damaged,” Charity says. “And I was always comforted to hear (a doctor) say I’d sing again. But anytime you’re dealing with breathing tubes, that prospect is dubious.”
Read more: http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/06/13/denver-woman-sings-anew-after-2nd-double-lung-transplant/