Shirelle White, a 55-year-old from Valley Stream, survived a very rough bout with COVID-19, was put on a ventilator twice and then serious tracheal problems emerged.
"I was very scared, very nervous," White said. ""It was like a big struggle for me. When it came to taking breaths and when it came to speaking."
Her pulmonologist Dr. Arthur Trust referred her to Doctor David Zeltsman at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Zeltsman performed a procedure in August for something called tracheal stenosis.
The doctor had to physically remove the bottleneck and connect the ends back together, but White was in tears when she heard about how this would be achieved.
"That was very understandable," Dr. Zeltsman said. "If someone told me- by the end of the surgery, we're gonna sew your chin to your chest wall, I would be a little concerned as well."
The sutures were temporary - and both White and her partner, who also survived COVID, explained how their recovery journey has since taken off.
"I discovered I was able to breathe," White said. "A hundred percent better."
And while she has months to go in her recovery and still needs oxygen at times, she is through the worst as her prognosis is now good.
Her gratitude is immeasurable as she wished her son a happy birthday.
"Happy Birthday," White said. "And mommy is glad to be here to celebrate, to celebrate with you."
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