Laura Quiroz is especially grateful this Thanksgiving week. She thinks back to 19 years ago when she didn't know if she'd be alive right now. Her life was saved by a double lung transplant, and now Quiroz is the longest living survivor of the Methodist lung transplant program.
"I've survived longer than most people have; 20 years is the longest, and in March it will be 20 years for me," Quiroz said.
Usually, people live only five to 10 years after a double lung transplant.
"There's got to be a reason why I'm here. Don't get me crying because it's really emotional even still to this day to talk about it, but I don't know, I don't know the reason why but I'm blessed," Quiroz said.
Back when she had her lung transplant, it was a very, scary surgery.
"A person like Laura Quiroz offers a huge hope for double lung transplant, and the outcome after 19 years she's pretty functional, without any problems," said Dr. Harish Seethamraju with the Methodist Walter Transplant Center.
She had cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes thick mucus.
"It causes you to have infections in your lungs, and years and years of infections of course destroys your lungs," Quiroz said.
At this Thanksgiving, Quiroz and the transplant teams are very much aware of the vacancy at the tables of the donor families.
"All of us are really thankful to the donor, the donor family," Dr. Seethamraju said.
And for Quiroz, other than the medicines she takes, you wouldn't know she'd ever had a transplant. She works full time and travels and enjoys the life, for which she's very thankful.
Quiroz and her doctors say she has always taken her medicine and followed the medical recommendations, but other than those things, they don't know why she has had such a long and healthy life.