A kidney transplant is a medical treatment for kidney-related problems but it won’t fix all the problems in your life.
It’s important to understand what is realistic for you to expect of yourself, the transplant, and the transplant team. It’s helpful to have a plan for how you will cope if the outcome of your transplant isn’t what you expected.
You will also need to think about how the transplant may affect your relationships and how your roles may change.
Some of the challenges you need to think about are:
- 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 is a small 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 a new routine. It may take up to a year to adjust to your transplant but the transplant team will help you along the way.
- Recovery from transplant is different for everybody. Some people will feel better right away, while others take longer to feel better. You will have good days and bad days. Enjoy your good days doing things you like and make a plan for how you will cope on days that are more challenging.
Adjusting to life with a kidney transplant may be challenging for some people. These challenges are normal. Try to focus on what makes you happy and gives your life meaning such as your spirituality, exercising, spending time with family and friends, making a plan for going back to work, and doing things that you enjoy.
If you feel depressed or anxious, talk to your post-transplant team so they can suggest ways to help you manage these issues as they may get worse over time. Your post-transplant team can refer you to a mental health specialist to help you cope.
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. For more information talk to your transplant team.
Planning for the unexpected is a way for you to make sure that others understand your wishes.
Do you have someone to make decisions for you if you are not able to speak for yourself? You may already have a power of attorney for your finances, but this may not apply to your healthcare decisions.
Having a personal directive (sometimes called a living will or an advanced directive) is part of advance care planning and a way to prepare who will make decisions for you if you can’t make decisions for yourself. Take time to talk to your loved ones about your wishes for care.
Find out more about
advance care planning.