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Transplant Recipient Information

Staying mentally and emotionally well

It’s important to understand what’s realistic for you to expect of yourself, the transplant, and the transplant team. It helps to have a plan for how you’ll cope if the outcome of your transplant isn’t what you expected.

Think about how the transplant may affect your relationships and how your roles may change. Even good change can cause stress or anxiety.

Here are some possible challenges you may want to think about. :

  • The kidney transplant may not work right away because it’s taking longer for your body to accept the kidney (called delayed graft function), or your body is rejecting the kidney (called rejection).
  • There’s a chance that the transplant may not work at all.
  • Life after a transplant can be demanding and stressful because of all the new medicines you need to take, side effects of the medicines, and getting used to new routines. It may take up to a year to adjust to your transplant.
  • Recovery from transplant is different for everybody. Some people will feel better right away, while others take longer to feel better. You’ll have good days and bad days. Enjoy your good days by doing things you like. Have a plan for how you’ll manage on days that are more challenging.

Through all of these challenges the transplant team will be there to help you.

Having a hard time adjusting to life with a kidney transplant is normal. Try to focus on what makes you happy and gives your life meaning. Examples of this may be:

  • your spirituality
  • exercising
  • spending time with family and friends
  • planning for when you can go back to work or school
  • doing things that you enjoy that you couldn’t do before

If you have a history of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, it’s possible that these may come back when you have your transplant. If you feel depressed or anxious, talk to your post-transplant team right away. They’ll help you find ways to manage these issues before they get worse. Your post-transplant team can refer you to a mental health specialist to help you.

There are many resources that you can access for help when you’re feeling stressed or are having a difficult time. Help in tough times is where you can find out how to connect with these resources. You can also call the Mental Health Line at 1-877-303-2642.

You can also ask to talk to a social worker at the transplant centre or ask about community resources such as the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Peer Support Program​.​

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