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        “I feel pressure to be happy all
        the time after the transplant,
        is this common?”
        Transplant brings an end to dialysis treatment
        and to the schedule that often accompanied
        dialysis. Although it might sound bizarre,
        immediately following transplant routine can
        be “topsy turvey”. Some patients miss the chat
        with the driver, the company of other patients
        they have befriended and also the constant
        support from nurses and carers. Post
        transplant routine is very different, and can be
        daunting for people who find change difficult.
           A new routine will develop and evolve in
        time. Decisions may have to be made
        regarding work / retraining. It is important to have  family. When all the drips and drains are out, it
        a realistic vision of what you can change in your life  helps to record some of these thoughts. At a later
        and what you cannot.                                  date you may consider writing to your donor family,
           Recipients often speak of the desire to return to  through the transplant co-ordinator. Having a record
        normal. Often this is couched in terms of feeling     of your thoughts and emotions will make it easier
        and being as they were before diagnosis.                                     to do this. It is natural to
        This is unrealistic. Just as we cannot return                                wonder about the donor and
        to being a child, much as we may want to                                     even to dream about them.
        at times, we cannot turn the clock back. A                                   Since    the     donor    is
        transplant radically alters life, and, while                                 anonymous,      there   will
        aspects of life will return to “normal”, it                                  always be an element of
        cannot return life entirely to the way it                                    mystery. The Irish Kidney
        was.                                                  Association facilitates thanksgiving services for
                                                              both recipient and donor families. These services
        “Is it normal to think about my donor                 can be emotionally harrowing but hugely freeing

        and their family?”                                    for everyone involved.
        It is interesting how different patients process this.
        Some agonise about having someone else’s kidney       “I worry a lot about rejection!”
        before making the decision to enter the transplant    It can be scary living with uncertainty. The
        pool. A period of counselling can often help in       challenge for transplant recipients is to make a
        processing these feelings. Having dealt with it pre-  realistic assessment of what is involved in living
        transplant, they rarely worry about it afterwards.    with a transplant, clarifying what you can change
           Emotions run high following surgery. Most          (behaviour/ thoughts) and what you accept, for
        recipients will think about their donor and the       now and for the future.

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