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Topic : 01/22 Cojo: Back from the Brink

Number of Replies: 216
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Created on : Friday, January 18, 2008, 02:23:44 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Steven Cojocaru, known to fans as Cojo, was the go-to fashion guy on the red carpet and lived a life of glitz and glamour. But that changed when he received the worst news of his life –- he was diagnosed with kidney disease and needed a transplant -- not once, but twice. Cojo chronicles his struggles in the book, Glamour, Interrupted: How I Became the Best Dressed Patient in Hollywood, and sits down with Dr. Phil to talk about his tumultuous journey. Then, Terri has been on dialysis for two-and-a-half years as she desperately waits for a kidney donor. She joins the show via Web cam to find out how Cojo maintained his positive attitude and how she can stay in the right frame of mind while waiting for a transplant. Plus, Alison and Danaye say their sister, Missie, has had two kidney transplants, and they’re worried she’s going to need a third because of her stressful lifestyle. The sisters say their mom, Janaye, is at fault for coddling Missie her whole life. What will it take for Missie to slow her life down and for her siblings to back off? And, meet a man who had a heart attack but checked out of the hospital so he could smoke a cigarette! His mom says she’s desperate to help him before he ends up in an early grave. Talk about the show here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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January 22, 2008, 10:34 am CST


I have read all of the posts from the point of view of those that live with or know someone with kidney disease and those that just care. I wanted to give a medical point of view. I am a registered nurse in an outpatient hemodialysis unit. I have worked in this field for the last 4yrs. It is my passion. Being able to help people get the treatment they need to sustain their lives and support them while they wait for a transplant if they are on the list is a great feeling. Thank you Dr. Phil for bringing this important subject to the attention of the American public. Organ donation is a must, and not enough people realize how important a donation can be for someone else. thank you again. To all of you who read this that are kidney patients or have family that is, my heart goes out to you. Thanks again Dr. Phil. You are the best!
January 22, 2008, 10:42 am CST

I can only hope ...

I haven't seen today's episode yet ... it won't be on for another three hours here.   But I'm really looking forward to seeing Cojo on Dr. Phil.  


I've been very disappointed with him ... I feel he's really missed an opportunity to be an advocate for PKD.   We need a celebrity who can get out there and educate the public on this disease.   How sad that this is the most common genetic, life threatening disease ... and yet no one has heard of it.


I was diagnosed with PKD at the age of twenty; however, looking back we now know that I was showing symptoms as early as age twelve.   I went through the stages of denial ... drinking myself silly and pretending that I didn't have a problem ... but eighteen years later, I feel that I'm at a good place with it.


As silly as it sounds, it's HARD taking medicine every day.   It's HARD being achy and irritable but still going to work and putting on a good face for everyone.   It's HARD knowing that you look fine from the outside ... and that no one who looks at you knows that your kidneys, liver, ovaries, etc. are full of large, painful cysts.


But I still consider myself blessed.   I still have almost 50% function ... and with good planning and health care ... and by taking care of myself ... hopefully I'll be able to put off dialysis for years.


I'm looking forward to today's show ... I hope Steven tells everyone about his experiences with PKD ... and maybe we can educate a few people in the process.

January 22, 2008, 10:43 am CST

To the hard-headed smokers.....

I was a pack-a-day smoker for 10 years. I have depression and I have a very stressful job (correctional officer), so believe me, I know every excuse in the book to smoke. It pisses me off to no end to hear people like Paul and his wife (and my parents) make excuses for why they have to have their cancer sticks. What people have to realize is that nicotine is a drug just like cocaine or heroin. It is just as addictive, and we all know how crazy people can get for a hit. I've been there, turning the house upside down in the middle of the night looking for a cigarette. It's pathetic. It is a DRUG ADDICTION.


When you make excuses such as "Oh, you have to die of something," or "I enjoy it too much," or "I can't quit, I have too much stress right now," or yada yada...You have to realize you are just making excuses for your drug addiction. You don't need a cigarette. You need nicotine. The tobacco companies are laughing at you all the way to the bank, not caring about how many people they have killed.


It makes me so mad how people choose cigarettes over other, more important things. My parents over the years have spent an ungodly amount of money on cigarettes, yet there were times when we didn't have money for groceries or Christmas presents. My dad has had countless heart and artery surgeries, but won't put them down. How pathetic is that?? Please stop being a slave to a drug dependancy, and stop giving money to your killers.


My husband and I have been smoke-free for 6 months now, cold turkey. It wasn't easy, and we had to try several times before we were successful, but we finally did it. But it sure wasn't as hard as people try to make it sound. If you can make it the first 2 weeks, you've got it. You just have to be aware like with any addiction that you will always have a certain weakness for it, and stay away from it to prevent relapses.

January 22, 2008, 11:03 am CST

redefine quality of life

For the last couple who was on today, the smokers who are parents who were not interested in changing their lifestyles:


I understand the sentiment of living a shorter, happier life than a longer miserable life.  I submit, however, that by making the lifestyle changes recommended to you that you would not only find the span of your life increasing, but the happiness in your life increasing as well.


I define it, in my life, as the difference between having a pleasant life and having a fulfilling, happy life.  I don't smoke, or eat much fast food, but I have my own issues day to day making choices that are more pleasant in the moment, but unfulfilling in the long run (long run being as short as later that day), or choosing behaviors that for a moment seem harder, but almost immediately make me happier when I choose them.


When you are strong and healthy from eating well and being physically fit, your joy in all things increases dramatically.  You barely miss what you have given up because you are substituting them for things that make you feel so good.  Over time, you stop missing those things all together.  You start with paying attention to how you feel after you have excercised versus how you feel after the Big Mac and fries.  You give attention to the energy that you have not smoking versus the temporary 'fix' from the cigarette.  You have security from having health insurance, paid for from what you have saved in cigarettes.  (I pay for my own insurance, out of savings right now, and have just found a plan that I am SURE is less than what you are paying every month for cigarettes!)  You have a closer relationship with each other and your children because you are walking together, or biking together, or lifting weights together every evening as a family.  Making yourself go is not as pleasant at the outset as sitting in front of the TV with a bag of chips, a beer, and your cigarettes but within 10 minutes of starting, the endorphines have kicked in and you find yourself joking with each other and finding out more about your children than you ever did watching TV.


And those are just the immediate benefits.  Long term, you get to dance at your children's weddings.  (Ballroom classes is another way you could spend your cigarette money that would be great fun, bring you closer to each other and get you in shape.)  You can play with your grandchildren.  You can find new interests in a life which is so rich and for which you have new energy and new respect.  You can get more joy from your sex life than you have in years!  (Excercise increases your sex drive and ability.)


And for your children, you will be teaching them that they matter to you.  That they should matter to them.  Do you wish for your children to grow up with the same health issues that you have?  You may be ready to die any day, but do you want your children to live only to 50?  If that.  You are teaching them that you are not important enough to you to take care of yourself and that they are not important enough to you to take care of yourself.  What do you dream for their lives?  Your behavior NOW can help make that come true or it can be an almost insurmountable barrier.


As a last thought:  to the husband - I lost a fiance a many years ago to heart disease.  He was 45 and his first heart attack was his last.  Smoking and family history were his biggest risk factors.  His eating habits weren't fantastic, but were not that bad.  Smoking is huge.  And to your wife - just because you haven't had the heart attack yet doesn't mean that it isn't on the horizan.  You could leave your children orphaned.  My cousin just lost his wife - age 44.  She was having trouble breathing and went to the hospital.  They suspected her heart and were going to do a scan, but while there, she threw a blood clot and was dead before anyone could do anything.  My cousin is devastated and their two children are only 11 and 12.  They now have to finish growing up without a mother.  You look alot like she did - reminded me of her in face, body shape, expressions - only the hair was different.  She had no previous symptoms.  She nor my cousin took care of themselves, physically.  Now her children are paying the price.


You can make it different.  And you may be surprised to find that what you think you are "sacrificing" is really the anchor that was stopping you from living a truly joyful life!  Feeling great is a better rush than a drag on a cigarette.  Having the energy to play with your grandchildren (who you are alive to meet) will bring you more joy than the moments of dread when you prep for excercise.  There are so many ways to be active, you can most likely find some activities that you actually enjoy rather than dreading - sports, walking or biking as a family, dancing, martial arts, weights, classes at a gym, etc.  And it will bring you closer than ever as a family and nothing in a cigarette box or fast food bag can ever bring you as much joy as that!


GOOD LUCK - I'm pulling for you!

January 22, 2008, 11:44 am CST

2X transplant receipient

i knew about cojo and hid kidney isues back when he was struggling with them. i also have had 2 kidney transplants. my first was a cadaver, my second was a living donor. the living donor was someone who worked at my transplant center and knew me throughout all my difficulties of the first surgery. he unselfishly gave me his kidney. i was i was 28 for my first surgery and had a small child. my second transplant was in sept of 2005. i am able to now keep up with my son, for the most part since i have other disabilities.


i was so sad to hear of cojo's difficulties and problems but honestly was so glad to know there was someone else who was struggling just like me. i am so glad he is doing better and brought such light to this issue of organ donation.

January 22, 2008, 12:34 pm CST


January 22, 2008, 12:39 pm CST

So Horribly Tragic

My brother died when he was two years old and donated his heart, liver and KINDEYS. If I knew, which I don't and can't because of Canadian law, that his kindeys had gone to someone who took them for granted like Missy seems to do, I would be absolutely appalled. In fact, I AM appalled at her mentality in regards to her tranplants. The fact that you can sit there and say, well i can always get another kidney, it doesn't have to be from my sister, is absolutely dispicable! If it doesn't come from your sister, it comes from someone who has DIED! Someone, as they were dying, said that they would give someone LIFE. Not to mention, in ontario alone there are 1600-1700 people waiting for an organ, 3 of whom die every DAY! Next time, one of those people could be you next time, god forbid. OVer half of those people waiting are waiting for KIDNEYS! Most wait YEARS for kidneys, you are soooo lucky to have a loving family who would go through such painful, lifethreatening surgery to save YOUR life.


I think Cojo summed your attitude perfectly when he said 'cavalier,' AND IT NEEDS TO CHANGE!

January 22, 2008, 1:01 pm CST


I sit here watching the show and just get so angry and teary.  My husband also was a heavy smoker for over fifty years.  I got the patch for him several times, he never even used one.  He would say he knows smoking is bad for you but he liked it.  Well to make a long story short he was suddenly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that was stage four.  He only lived six weeks from the diagnosis.  Now I am alone, hating it, lonely and struggling to keep things together.  Well he got his wish, he did not die healthy.  I get so mad at him sometimes he could still be here we could still be together.  Wake up people.  Stopping smoking couldbe the one greatest thing you can do for your health.
January 22, 2008, 1:04 pm CST

smoker who had heart attack

 I lost two brothers between 1974 and 1986 to heart attacks. They were both very active young men. One was 36 and the other 39 at the time of their deaths. They were well liked by many. They both smoked and were trying to quit, but unlike the gentleman on your show today they each had a single heart attack and were not afforded the opportunity of a long life. I know if they had been given another chance at life they would have drastically changed there smoking habits. It upsets me to see how uncaring he is about his own life, but with  each of my brothers' deaths I had to watch as a little bit of happiness sank from my mother's life. I had to inform my mother of my second brother's death and it was the most heart wrenching thing I had ever done in my life. If he can't try to change his lifestyle for himself , maybe he could think about his mother and try to get the help he needs for her sake. I was the youngest of three and still miss them very much.
January 22, 2008, 1:11 pm CST

What an IDIOT

I can not believe the gentleman that was on your show today that would except your offer to send him to an 8 week course or seminar (what ever you want to call it) to quit smoking.  If you had offered that to me I would have told you yes, in a heart beat. 


I too have had heart trouble in the last 5 years and have tried everything you can think of to try to quit. I have tried hypnosis, the patch, laser therapy and zyban as well.  The best I did was almost 2 years and for me that was the best I have ever done.  Can you tell me if there is such a thing here in Canada that you were so graceiously going to send that gentleman too.  I live in Prince George BC 500 miles north of Vancouver. 


I thank you for your time and please keep up the great work you do,

Bella Greene

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