This web page is reserved for people with first-hand experience receiving a stem cell transplant. If you’re looking for someone to describe what it’s like to receive a transplant – you’ve come to the right palce.

We’ve interviewed more than two dozen transplant recipients since beginning this project in 2009. And while we’re grateful to them all for freely sharing their stories, we never have the time to allow them to describe their experience in depth. So we have carved out this space for those experiences to be shared.

We started by bringing together three of our adult stem cell transplant Alumni:

  • Jackie Stollfus, a lupus patient who received an adult stem cell transplant in 2010.
  • Tony Underhill, a scleroderma patient who received his transplant in 2012
  • Desiree Ramirez, a sickle cell patient who was given a stem cell transplant in 2016.

Below you’ll find their answers to a series of questions. They allowed us to listen to their discussions on a number of topics and experiences. We hope you’ll be encouraged to share your stories and we’ll update this page regularly.

Memorable Moments from my Transplant

“They harvested my stem cells. And I don’t know how y’all felt when I still got a scar right here on my arm where they put it. You got one too.”

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How Has Transplant Changed My Life

“Yeah. The good things that came out of getting transplant for me is I got to finish school. I’m a nurse now. And really, my life turned around completely. I just feel 100% better. I’m not on any medications or anything. I just feel like I’m moving forward in life instead of just being stuck in pain.”

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First Hearing about Stem Cells

I first learned about adult stem cell transplants when I was really, really sick. And my doctor told me later, I didn’t know this obviously at the time, but he told me, “Jackie, your body was trying to die.”

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Physical Symptoms

Symptoms, pain, and misery from people who’ve been there

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First Meal After Transplant

So, what was the first meal you guys ate after transplant?

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What to Expect after Transplant

Were you guys allowed to go home after your hospital stay, back to where you are?

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Recovery Time

How long did you have to stop working while you were sick? And during the transplant, did you stop working?

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Mental Toughness

“I told myself, I said, “Look this is not sampling pies and kissing babies. This is fighting for your life. That’s what this is. And I’m going to fight. I don’t care until my last breath. I’m going to fight.”

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Side Effects From Medications

When I was in the hospital, I couldn’t see. I thought I was going to be doing all these crossword puzzles and stuff like that. I couldn’t even focus on the TV.

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Visitors, Sterile Rooms & R2D2

“I’m dying in here and you’ve got R2D2 in here.”

Learn about the machine nurses used to sterilize the rooms during these patients’ clinic trials.

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