Opera Singer Back on Stage Following Double Lung Transplant

After having both lungs transplanted, an opera singer will perform for the first time since her operation, Fox 8 News reported.

Before the double lung transplant, Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick, suffered from pulmonary hypertension – a disease in which arteries in the lungs and right side of the heart are blocked, leading to high blood pressure in the lungs, the Mayo Clinic said on its website.

The 26-year-old underwent transplant surgery in September 2009 at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Dr. Kenneth McCurry said the surgery was performed in the nick of time.

"She arrived just in time for us to do the operation, so the timing was very tight,” McCurry said. “We took her straight to the operating room.”

Following the surgery, Tillemann-Dick spent months working to restore her most basic functions.

"I had to relearn how to breathe, how to walk, how to talk, it's unbelievable to me now there are so many things that we take for granted everyday, that really are miracles,” Tillemann-Dick said. “I had a machine that was breathing for me.”

Though her voice hasn’t completely returned to its original strength, Tillemann-Dick will be performing a Puccini song Wednesday at the 2010 Patient Experience Summit held at the Cleveland Clinic.

"It's good to be here to sing as opposed to get surgery," she said.

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