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CHAPTER 11









                 ADJUSTING TO LIFE WITH



                   A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT






                ransplant is not a cure, it is another form of
                treatment. While family, friends, co-workers
                may think the recipient is now “good as
                new” and is cured, this is not the case.
        TMedication has to be taken regularly to
        preserve the transplant and this will be lifelong.
        There will be regular visits to the transplant clinic
        and uncertainty about the longevity of the new
        kidney.                                               sees them as “cured”. Some
           While improved health and well-being can seem      become self-critical, thinking;
        like a miracle after, perhaps, years of illness,      “I should not be feeling like
                       unrealistic expectations can leave     this, I should be happy, I’m so
                             the recipient feeling over-      lucky”.
                                whelmed. There are both          Many recipients find it
          “I should not
                                 physical and emotional       reassuring to know what is commonly experienced.
          be feeling like         changes to cope with        Many find themselves dealing with weight gain and
          this, I should          following a successful      fluid retention, a common reaction to anti-rejection

            be happy,             transplant.   Recipients    medication. Medication can also cause mood swings
                                 sometimes feel they have     and emotional changes that are difficult to predict
          I’m so lucky.”
                                to “bottle up” their feelings  and hard to deal with. The symptoms usually
                             as everyone around them          diminish once the proper dose is established.



                              WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOUR TRANSPLANT?

         Good communication between you, the members of your transplant
         team and all your healthcare providers is vital. There are what seems
         like countless questions, some big, some small, some feel silly, some
         complex. They need to be answered, not only for the benefit of your
         health but also, at times, just to put your mind at ease. Write down
         your questions to be discussed at your next visit. Transplantation is
         something new to  you; feel free to bring up any issue causing you
         concern.
            Often it is fellow recipients who understand what you are going through. There are huge benefits to
         being able to say it “as it is”, rather than always feeling under pressure to keep up a front to suit others.



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