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Kelsey Speer, a 20-year-old woman from Savannah, sits with one of her nurses after her successful double lung transplant. Speer had the transplant after waiting three months at a St. Louis hospital.

On the evening of Oct. 13, Kelsey Speer entered a risky surgery with a slight fear of the unknown.

Speer underwent a double-lung transplant procedure at a St. Louis hospital knowing she would be in a comatose state and there was a chance she wouldn’t make it. She needed to have the surgery due to a rare condition known as QT Lung Syndrome, which causes her heart to enlarge.

Speer came out of the surgery doing well and now is on a multiple-month process to return to her home in Savannah.

“I was shocked and scared and worried all at the same time,” Speer said. “And I did write my dad one of those ‘what if’ letters and all that. I never had to read it, which is a good thing because I didn’t want to put my parents through that at this age.”

Speer has now successfully walked 30 minutes on the treadmill, has started to do physical therapy and said she is doing well. She is hoping to be able to go home by Christmas as she continues to keep up on her physical therapy requirements.

“We’re getting there one step closer every day,” Speer said

Speer has been in the hospital for close to three months waiting to see when she would be called for a match for the transplant. When she did get the call, she had to be ready the next day.

Speer said she has been able to make phone calls and interact with her family and friends through social media, something she said has given her motivation.

“I’m still getting lots of positivity and support and support from back at home ... it’s going with me, that’s what’s keeping me going,” Speer said.

Speer said the nurses have been positive and acted as family throughout her long stay and they were instrumental in her attitude, as she was allowed limited visitors.

“I’m looking forward to living a normal life,” Speer said.

Speer said she was told the average lifetime for transplanted lungs is about seven years, which would mean she would eventually need to do another double-lung transplant.

“I couldn’t really be any happier, I’m doing pretty great for how far I’ve come,” Speer said.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.