Transplant indeed is considered a rebirth by many people. It definitely feels surreal to wake up healthy after a long term illness. However, there are several aspects of your health which will need to be taken care of. Any organ transplant needs lifetime monitoring.
Transplant is major surgery and most patients need painkillers for pain management for a few weeks post transplant. Your transplant team will be there every step of the way to help you stay physically and emotionally healthy. It might also take a few weeks for you to return to regular diet and daily activities after a transplant. You might be called to the doctor’s office for tests to ensure that you are recovering well and assess the risk of rejection.
Our innate immune system kicks in to attack against any foreign body. The same is true for any organ transplanted from either a deceased or living donor. There is some degree of rejection in every transplant, however the clinical significance of the level of rejection can be determined by your transplant team.
Rejection can be acute( immediate to 3 weeks post transplant and chronic ( gradual loss of the organ over months or years). Transplant patients are often put on one or more anti rejection medications called immunosuppressants.Immunosuppressants are drugs which act on different phases of the immune system thereby lowering the immune response against the transplanted organ.
Mental health: Anxiety and depression are very common after any major surgery. Organ transplant process can be pretty overwhelming to many people. It has health, lifestyle and economic considerations which can leave you feeling low at times. If you feel anxious about the medical treatment and any lifestyle or economic ramifications of the procedure, talk to your doctor and your transplant coordinator. Several patients are offered emotional support through support groups and counselling especially in the early phase of recovery post transplant.
Exercise and daily activities: It might take a few weeks for you to get back to regular daily activities. Many people return to playing sports, gardening, or hiking post transplant. However, you should consult your doctor about your physical limitations and when you can return to regular daily activities.
Nutrition and diet: It is quintessential to follow a balanced nutritious diet with whole grains, vegetables, moderate amount of proteins and fruits post surgery. There might be specific restrictions on salt and fluid intake. The transplant nutritionist will help you define a personalised healthy and balanced diet according to your needs.
Back to work or school: Going back to school or work after a transplant needs to be an open discussion with your transplant doctor. Many patients are able to resume work within a few weeks of a transplant. However, this will depend on the nature of your work, the risk of infection in your workplace, the kind of transplant ( kidney, liver, small bowel) etc.
Sexual concerns: Your doctor will typically advise you to wait for the scar to heal before resuming sexual activity. You might also find a change in your sexual libido post transplant. It is very important to discuss these changes with your sexual partner as well your doctor to clear any doubts you might have. It is very critical to remember that being immunosuppressed you are at high risk of infection which can lead to several complications. Oral sex, sharing of saliva and other body fluids can expose the transplant patient to potential infections which can be life threstening. It is therefore very important to consider the possibility of your partner having any kind of infection Qbefore indulging in any sexual intimacy.