Caryn Durbin has gotten plenty of birthday presents in her lifetime, but picking the best one is easy.
The Joplin resident awoke at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis on Nov. 14, her 30th birthday, after a bilateral lung transplant surgery that began the day before to find she had received several gifts in one.
With the new pair of lungs she desperately needed, Durbin gained the ability to sit and hold a normal conversation without losing her breath. She can now - or soon, anyway - shed the oxygen tanks and tubes she says she's felt "strapped" to for so long.
She will finally be able to run and play with her 10-year-old daughter, Bailey. Durbin wants to eventually go back to work. She may even resume her pursuit of a college degree, a goal she admittedly used to feel little reason to attain considering the average life expectancy of a person born with cystic fibrosis: just 37 years. Continue reading