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'Did not think she would survive' | Teacher recovers from COVID thanks to double lung transplant

At only 36, Brandy Mills spent her entire life happy and healthy. Then she got COVID.

HUFFMAN, Texas — A Huffman ISD teacher is back in the classroom after a miraculous recovery from COVID. She nearly died from the virus.

Brandy Mills spent more than 100 days in the hospital, and doctors said she would never leave without a new set of lungs.

At only 36, Mills spent her entire life happy and healthy. 

Then she got COVID.

“I had to spend 105 days in the hospital," Mills said.

She thinks she got the virus from a concert last July. It was hitting her pretty hard when her mom found her.

“Something told my mom, 'hey go check on Brandy.' She went, and I was turning blue," Mills said.

Brandy was hospitalized for about two months. Her lungs were so damaged, that she wouldn’t survive.

“They said I needed a double lung transplant when I got downtown so I had to get on the list," Mills said.

Dr. Soma Jyothula with Memorial Hermann and UTHealth Houston took over her care, putting her on the transplant list, and in the meantime, on an ECMO machine.

“If we left her the way she was, we did not think she would survive before she would go to surgery," Jyothula said.

“ECMO was something really serious," Mills said.

Luckily, they soon found Brandy a donor, and her transplant day became even more special.

“It was on Sept. 30, which was my dad’s birthday. He had just passed recently in February," Mills said.

Mills wasn’t vaccinated, but now, she recommends it.

“I had to go to rehab, learn how to walk all over again," Mills said.

Now, she has new lungs and a new career.

“I was told I was never going to be able to work with little ones again until my immune system got better," Mills said.

She's now a paraprofessional in life skills at Huffman ISD, teaching at the same school her daughter attends.

“My biggest worry is she’s starting to think that she’s superwoman so I have to tell her every time, be safe still," Jyothula said.

“Here I am today, not even a year yet (since the transplant) and I am back to work, doing things I love to do, being with kids again," Mills said.

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