Stem cell recipients talk about the mental toughness needed to get through a transplant.

Tony:                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.” I’m not judgmental, don’t want to judge anybody, but a lot of people that get sick with either what you had,or what I had, or any of these autoimmune diseases, they want to sit home in that recliner lay on the couch, lay in the bed. They say, poor me, poor oh, woe me. You know, this has happened to me. Well, yeah. Guess what it did happen to you, but there is a light at the other end of the tunnel. If you’ll get up off your butt, off that couch, and get busy. Find you a cure. Find some treatment, stay in there, hang in there, fight.

Desiree:           Yeah because you have a lot of life to live.

Jackie:              Seems like we all have that in common; that we’re very motivated to get better and we were sick of being sick.

Tony:                You have to be. That’s what I said a while ago. As well as physically, it’s mentally just as important, the way I think it is. If you’re not prepared for it, if you’re not going to give it 100% to save your life, stay at home.

Desiree:           I definitely think it’s important to be determined throughout all this, because if you’re not, you’re not going to make it through it much like what you were saying. I mean, if you have that mind frame of, “Oh, I’m never going to get better”, or “Oh, I can’t do this. I can’t do that,” then you’re not going to.

Tony:                I never did feel sorry for myself, but I did ask myself and ask God every day, “Why? Why?”  After I had my stem cell, then I started getting better and things are going back to normal. I said, “I know now why I’m here. I’m here to help other people”. Just like what we’re doing right now. I mean, just think about how many people from this day forward, that us three are going to help.

Jackie:              Yeah, and you’re a nurse and I’m a therapist.

Tony:                That’s why we’re still here. I’m an old country boy raised on a farm. You can’t tell that by listening to me talk.

Jackie:              Do people call you? Do they find your name and call you?

Desiree:           Some people reach out to me on social media and my doctor has put certain people in contact with me as well. I try to help as many people as I can, but I don’t know. Some people, they do want to go through with it and they can’t find a match, and the other people are just like, “No, God made me this way”.

Tony:                Some people are scared. I’ve always been a pretty hard headed guy and a pretty determined guy. If I start something I’m going to finish it. I don’t care what it is. If I start  it, I’m going to finish it.