Sen. Sharon Runner thought getting a new set of lungs signaled the end of the worst of her battle with a rare auto-immune disorder.
Then came recovery.
"It's been a long haul," the Lancaster Republican said today. "It takes a while. I'm still not 100 percent, but it's great to be able to breathe, to be able to walk further, to be able to do the things that I used to be able to do."
Runner's comments came as she returned to the Senate floor for the first time this year. Her office announced in January that complications from limited scleroderma, a condition she has had for years, landed her back on the transplant list. The risk of infection kept her away from the Capitol as she waited for a double lung transplant, which occurred Feb. 24.
She thanked colleagues for sending cards, flowers and good thoughts throughout her recovery, as well as carrying her legislation while she was away from the Capitol.
"I'm so grateful for the love of this family here in the Senate," she said.
But she said she was especially gratefully for the family of the woman whose lungs she received, urging people not registered as an organ donor to sign up.
"You give life to so many people when you decide to make that decision to give the organs to those in need," she said.
Runner, a former assemblywoman, was elected to the Senate in a 2011 special election held to fill the seat vacated by her husband, who won a seat on the Board of Equalization. She decided not to run for re-election this year.