The Daily News ends the year on an uplifting note, putting a young Brooklyn woman who survived a rare five-organ transplant surgery on the cover this morning. 22-year-old Kristin Molini is eating real food for the first time since 2005, when her rare medical condition, intestinal dysmotility, intensified. The malady paralyzed her digestive organs, and she had to rely on an IV feed that destroyed her liver. "The first thing I ate was a piece of saltine cracker and a Cheerio, and that was like, 'Oh, my God!'" Molini tells the News. "You start out [eating] like a baby, but you're like a kid in a candy shop."
It was a long road to get to this point for Molini. She had been on organ donation lists for years, but her rare blood type made it difficult to find a match. In May, the call finally came: The family of a 6-year-old Mississippi boy, killed by "a traumatic injury," would donate the new liver, stomach, pancreas and large and small intestine she needed. Molini was rushed into surgery that same night. "It was probably the longest, most emotional day of my life. I was crying, I was bawling," Molini says. "I didn't know if I was going to wake up. As I'm rolling away from my family, I'm just saying goodbye, and I'm crying. And I see this little cooler come in and I'm like, 'Oh yeah, that's for me.'"
The operation took 13 hours at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia, where a team of three surgeons, two anesthesiologists, and four nurses performed the rare all-night surgery, cutting open Molini's abdomen, severing her organs one by one and then lifting them all out at once. They then replaced them with organs from the donor. Only 300 such "multivisceral transplantations" have been performed worldwide since the 1980s, the News reports. Molini's now up to 80 pounds and says she's going out for New Year's Eve: "I'm stoked about that. I never got dressed up. I lived in my pajamas....I never lived that 18-, 19-, 20-year-old life.
I get to plan my life now. I don't know what the future holds, and that's the fun part... Before, I didn't even know if I had a future."