By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — In Wisconsin, a woman who had COVID-19 is finally at home after historic surgery; the state’s first double lung transplant.

As Carmen Lerma left the hospital, she had words of gratitude for those who saved her.

“Every single one of you here really made a difference. I mean, I wouldn’t be here today, so thank you,” Carmen said.

For the first time in four months, Carmen can truly take a deep breath thanks to her doctors and nurses.

The virus destroyed her lungs when she caught it in July. She spent the next 45 days on a ventilator in the intensive care unit, and eventually needed a double lung transplant at UW Health University Hospital in Madison.

When she was released on Thursday, she saw her husband, Hector, for the first time since she went into the hospital.

She said until it actually happened, she wasn’t sure she’d ever breathe on her own again.

“Amazing. I never thought that I would be able to do this again,” she said.

Hector said he just wanted to hold Carmen again; that they used to do everything together and he missed her so much.

Doctors will have to keep an eye on Carmen to make sure her body continues accepting the transplanted lungs. She said this has been a rough journey, but with a great ending.