Life after a transplant is different for everyone. Not just physically, but also emotionally. The whole process from the moment you get a match, either from a family member or friend or even when that phone rings and you hear the magic words, that they found a game, to recovery can be extremely intense.
I think the hardest part for me after my first Kidney transplant was getting used to all the anti-rejection medications and all the side effects that came along with it. I had many and still do today, nine years after my second transplant. What helped me hugely was all those groups out there for transplant patients sharing their stories and experience, even though not everyone had the same issues, you still felt like you were not alone.
I think many people would agree when I say that you do go through a bit of a dip, some of us suffer from stress and anxiety, which can lead to depression. The fact is that even though it is a great thing to have a transplant – it is like being given a second chance – it still is a huge change that happens to our bodies and knowing that this is not a permanent fix, well that is scary and stressful to have to always think about it.
Transplant rejection is a massive fear that we all have in common, then there are other things like, feeling tired quickly, being more prone to colds, cuts and bruises take longer to heal, and the list goes on.
One thing I have found interesting is how clients feel about having regular blood tests and how always on the night before blood tests, they tend to start stressing more than usual and drink more liquids than usual. They also never sleep well. No matter how many years have passed. It is normal, and nine years after my transplant, where tests are not as regular as in the beginning, I get precisely the same way.
It is entirely normal and I’m not sure it will ever go away; maybe yes, who knows. My advice is to find a way to relieve the stress as much as you can the night before.
o Put some music on, and dance like no one is watching. Doing this releases the neurotransmitter, happy hormones that reduce stress and cause our bodies to feel calm and happy.
o Watch a movie that will make you laugh and forget, even if just for a couple of hours, after all, they say laughter is the best medicine.
o Stress can stop one from sleeping. Studies have shown that reading can reduce stress quite a bit, so if you read for a good twenty to thirty minutes in bed before turning off your light, you will have a better night’s sleep.
These are just a few tips that have worked for me and hope they help. If you ever want to exchange stories, I would be more than happy to chat. Feel free to contact me.