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And it nearly was. During the almost four months between her two transplants, D'Zhana wasn't able to breathe on her own half the time. She also had kidney and liver failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Taking a short stroll -- when she felt up for it -- required the help of four people, at least one of whom would steer the photocopier-sized machine that was the external part of the pumping devices.
When D'Zhana was stable enough for another operation, doctors did the second transplant on Oct. 29.
"I truly believe it's a miracle," said her mother, Twolla Anderson.
D'Zhana said now she's grateful for small things: She'll see her five siblings soon, and she can spend time outdoors.
"I'm glad I can walk without the machine," she said, her turquoise princess top covering most of the scars on her chest. After thanking the surgeons for helping her, D'Zhana began weeping.
Doctors say she'll be able to do most things that teens do, like attending school and going out with friends. She will be on lifelong medication to keep her body from rejecting the donated heart, and there's a 50-50 chance she'll need another transplant before she turns 30.
For now, though, D'Zhana is looking forward to celebrating another milestone. On Saturday, she turns 15 and plans to spend the day riding in a boat off Miami's coast.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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