"Then I spent 40 days in the hospital following transplant, in solitary confinement," Austin said. "I could not leave the room."
She said her recovery was slow. "It took me until about June to be able to walk a block and a half without falling apart, and I was someone who was the epitome of good health," she said. "I ate very well, I exercised regularly, I was not an ounce obese."
But today, she feels pretty good. "The moments where I realize I still have a ways to go are when I try to run up a flight of stairs and I'm tired when I get to the top," she said. "Or when I stand in one place for 15 minutes, looking at a piece of art in a museum, my body starts growing tired. If that's the extent of the lingering effects, I think I'm good to go."
And though the nationwide effort to save Austin's life may not have benefited her directly, she said she's heard of others who have been helped.
"I've been told about six different people who said they came to the registry as a result of my situation and have been called upon to serve as a donor for another person," she said.
Given her profession and her calling, Austin sees the donations that did save her life as something approaching divine intervention.
"The irony of it all is, at the end, when I needed someone to help me, the Lord put out the cord blood of two little ones for me," she said.
A companion article offers more about cord blood donations.
SOURCE: Jennifer Jones Austin, Brooklyn, N.Y.
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