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In the News Archive

Blessed With a Second Wind

  • August 6, 2008
  • Number of views: 3069

By Gary W. Young, WestSide Star (Laurie, MO), August 6, 2008

In recent months Tanya Stanley’s life has been a virtual whirl wind of earthly challenges ending in providential blessings.

The 53-year old Gravois Mills woman underwent double-lung transplant surgery July 11 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. As of last week, she was recovering at her home away from home in St. Louis just 12 days after the eight-hour surgery.

“I am feeling stronger every day and hope soon to be able to move onto soft foods,” Stanley said last Tuesday. “I walked 7/10 of a mile today in rehab and will walk again this evening — and all without any oxygen!”

After years of relying on oxygen 24/7 to survive, Stanley gleefully reported she has been breathing normally since July 16.

“I just have to keep pinching myself,” she said.

Stanley, who is not a smoker, suffers from Scleroderma, a rare but, chronic disease characterized by excessive deposits of collagen in the skin or other organs. Diagnosed 16 years ago, the disease led to pulmonary fibrosis that caused scar tissue which reduced the volume of her lungs by 50 percent.

“I feel very blessed to be given a ‘second wind,’” she said. “All things have fallen into place. Barnes has the lung transplant procedure operating like a finely tuned machine. The whole process is headed up by a transplant team.”

The surgeons performing the bilateral transplant included Alec Patterson, Bryan Meyers and Daniel Kreisel. Barnes’ Lung Transplant Program began in 1988 and, according to Stanley, it’s the only hospital in Missouri offering the procedure.

Nearly 1,000 lung transplants have been performed there in the past 20 years, with a survival rate of 90 percent, according to Stanley, who went through an exhaustive four-day evaluation and testing beginning April 28. In order to be placed on “the list,” Stanley and her husband, Lee, relocated to St. Louis June 6 so Tanya could start pulmonary rehab.

“I was told by the transplant team that an average wait can be from 24 hours to 6 months,” said Tanya. “I was placed on the list on June 26 and two weeks later got the call.”

She said she’s very motivated to get stronger day by day and feels blessed to receive such a miracle.

In 2005 — the most recent statistics available — approximately 3,500 Americans were awaiting a lung transplant. According to the American Lung Association, only about 25 percent of them received the operation.

“Unfortunately with the improvement of surgical techniques and the expansion of reasons for transplants, the number of needed lung transplants has not kept pace with the number of available donors,” according to its website.

The Stanleys, who have been married for 20 years, moved to the WestSide from Bolivar in 1992. They own and operate three lakefront rental homes at the 48-MM and 51-MM called “On Hidden Pond Cove.” Lee is on the Lake West Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

“Unfortunately, most of the public is unaware that the donor card on the back of your driver’slicense is not an automatic determination of your wishes,” Tanya pointed out.

“You still must make it known to your family members since they have the final say above your own donor directive.  There are numerous organs and tissues that can be transplanted from just one person.  One person has the possibility of helping over 200 people.”

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