Woman receives double lung transplant at Cleveland Clinic - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Woman receives double lung transplant at Cleveland Clinic

Double-lung transplant performed at Cleveland Clinic. (Source: WOIO) Double-lung transplant performed at Cleveland Clinic. (Source: WOIO)
Woman gets double lung transplant. (Source: Family) Woman gets double lung transplant. (Source: Family)

 A unique life-saving surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, a woman received a double-lung transplant.

Joan Musarra, 58, of Lyndhurst is a non-smoker and a marathon runner, but, a but a rare deadly lung infection threatened her life. We first met her about a year ago when she was so excited to finally be put on the transplant list, and determined to keep exercising as much as she could to stay healthy for the surgery when it would come.

But when the time would come, the question was raised if it would happen at all in time to save her -- as her condition worsened and she was hospitalized at the Clinic.

Then, Sunday morning just as family was coming in from everywhere preparing to say good-bye, the phone call that changed everything. Lungs that match her rare anti-bodies became available. 

"I’m really happy and blessed," Joan said just before getting rolled off the operating room. "All I need is a set of lungs."

On a whopping 30 liters of oxygen with her own lungs just about done, her spirit was nowhere near done admitting she's even going to keep the possibility of another marathon in her sights.

Her diagnosis came nearly ten years ago where she would become a different kind of role model to her family and friends.

Her husband Franks explained, "her spirt, her energy nothing brings her down not one complaint all these years about this pain."

So with that down the hall from the operating room, the wait turns into celebrate as family and friends gather with excitement.

Joan's youngest son Connor said, "it's a bit overwhelming, taking in this entire process leading up to this...I’m elated obviously."

Just a few weeks ago just getting her to make it to her daughter Jillian's wedding was the goal. 

"It was an absolute dream come true," said Jillian. Joan added, "we were able to do the wedding as we had planned."

Now, it's a whole new perspective on new possibilities, her oldest son Frankie said with a huge smile, "just for her to have any mobility would be so cool. So much fun."

Joan will be in recovery for a few days and we're hoping to catch up with her again soon. She hopes most of all her story encourages others to keep on fighting and thanks those with the Cleveland Clinic for giving her that added strength these last couple days.

There's no word on who the lung donor is, but, the family already says they want to make sure to express their gratefulness to that person's family as soon as they can.

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