A lifetime of tough health battles, plus the desire to stay alive for her young daughter, helped prepare 32-year-old Melissa Benoit for a grueling, unprecedented surgery to replace her infected lungs.
Benoit has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that can cause a buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs and lead to respiratory failure. Over the past few years, she had been steadily taking antibiotics to fight off increasingly frequent chest infections.
Last April, after a debilitating bout of influenza destroyed her lungs for good, surgeons at Toronto General Hospital in Ontario, Canada, removed both of them in a nine-hour procedure — and six days later, replaced them …