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Oprah: The last time you were here you said to me that [this process] made you appreciate life more.

Cojo: I think about it and I was really naive. I thought that my tragedy ended with a nice little ribbon on it and we were moving on. But to save this kidney was a three-month ordeal. I was literally in and out of the hospital. ... So basically when you go through something as raw as that, then you really find out who you are. ... There were so many things that I had to learn, lessons that I had to learn with this ordeal the last three months. And one of them was vanity. I had to get over my vanity. And that was very traumatic. I looked like a pumpkin with blonde bangs—from steroids. And I had 17 chins and I was very, very conscious about that.

Oprah: Was that hard for you?

Cojo: Honestly, it was. I was torturing myself. ... But you know what? You get through it. I found there were two persons in me. The little bratty baby going, "I'm so fat. I look terrible." And then there was the adult who said, "Get over it. Get over yourself." ... I never wanted to be a role model. [I was a] very reluctant kidney poster child. ... But since it has been thrust on me for whatever reason, I do want to do a good job and I want to show people that you can have an illness, and you can get through it and you can work hard and have your life.
FROM: Brooke Shields, Wynonna Judd, Steven Cojocaru: A Special Follow Up
Published on September 27, 2005


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