"My family just about broke out in tears," she said. "They expected to be waiting much longer, so when they came out to let them know everything went well, they thought something went wrong. They just about gave everyone a heart attack."
"Doctors said it couldn't have gone any better."
Shepherd said her recovery is going well and she's slowly getting her life back. She undergoes biopsies every week to make sure her body doesn't show signs of rejection.
"On Monday (Jan. 7) I had my first sign of rejection. They pull out four good pieces and I had one tissue that shows sign of rejection, but it wasn't enough for much concern or treatment at this point. Most people show some sign of rejection at some point," Shepherd said.
Shepherd tries to walk about an hour a day and is doing her best to remain active. She's not allowed to be out in very cold weather, and isn't able to visit public places without a mask.
She's planning on resuming her online college work in February and is pursuing a degree in the medical field.
Her 14-inch incision down her chest, along with a 6-inch scar from where her pacemaker was put in and three holes in her chest where holes were put to drain fluids -- are all healing as well.
"It's been a really scary road, but I know how lucky I am," she said.
Friends and family have set up a website to post updates and help raise funds to offset medical bills.
To learn more, visit www.giveforward.com/ashleysnewheart.
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