23 year-old recovers after second heart transplant - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

23 year-old recovers after second heart transplant

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Alyssa Sandeen is now on her third heart.

She's looking great, feeling better and back up on her feet and is now looking forward to trying to fulfill all the hopes and dreams of a young 23-year old woman.

"There's so many chances of life that I have and this is the main one. And I get a whole new fresh start. I almost don't know where to begin," said Sandeen.

The Alyssa Sandeen story is one of survival.

Sandeen says: "I've literally died plenty of times and come back to life."

At 8 years-old, her heart failing, Alyssa had her last rites read to her.

A donor heart saved her life for the first time.

"I'm glad I live in these times."

That heart was given a fifteen year window in Alyssa's chest and in the last year it began to fail.

    

In November, it even stopped a couple times and CPR was needed to bring her back - two-and-a-half hours straight of CPR.

"You think you are blessed or cursed? Most of the time I think I am blessed. Sometimes I wonder why it happens to me."

Two weeks ago, Alyssa's number came up again.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic replaced her failing heart with one from another donor.

     

Alyssa remembers waking up after the surgery.

"All these people, friends and family are around me. They're like you got a new heart. I'm grinning. I got a new heart?”

Alyssa is now on the road to recovery.

"I get tired really easily," Sandeen says.

She goes for walks around the Gift of Life Transplant House where she is staying temporarily in the shadows of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York.

     

Doctors took skin graphs from her leg and she must carry what's called a Wound-Vac at all times.

"What it does is suck out all the bad stuff from the wound. Make sure no infection. Helps it heal faster," said Sandeen.

She hopes to one day travel the world and be an outspoken supporter of organ donation.

"I'm not ready to go. A lot more I want to do.," she said.

Alyssa must stay in the Rochester area for three months after the transplant so doctors can monitor her.

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