ATLANTA, Ga. -- She was on the verge of death, to the point where her husband was preparing himself for life without her. Stephanie Lindstrom needed a new heart, liver and kidney.
After exhausting all other options, her doctors at Emory Hospital were debating whether or not she could even survive a triple transplant. But Stephanie Lindstrom, who had once run four marathons in one year even with her heart condition, kept fighting.
"I didn't want my kids growing up without a mom," Lindstrom said. "They're both adopted, they both lost their birth mothers, and I didn't want them growing up without me."
Won over by her fighting spirit, the doctors took a chance on Lindstrom, and went through with the surgery in July. It had never been done in Georgia before, and only a handful of times in the rest of the country.
"We all came together all on board and knew if anyone was going to make it, it would be someone like her," said Dr. Brian Kogon, the cardiologist on her team of doctors. "Seeing her recover well is just that more meaningful knowing how special she is."
Lindstrom says she's overcome with gratitude at her new chance at life. Sunday she celebrated a birthday she wasn't always sure she'd live to see.
"It's hard to express," she said of the thanks she feels for her caregivers. "They worked so hard on getting the organs, from putting them in to helping me recover I mean everything; they worked around the clock for months."
Her doctors say she's joined the other brave patient pioneers who help doctors prove new procedures can be done.