There’s plenty to celebrate following a successful organ transplant, but it can be a long road to recovery for recipients. An estimated 50% of transplant patients will experience at least one episode of substantial anxiety or depression within the first two years of the post-transplant period, according to the American Psychological Association.
Before a transplant, there are a lot of doctor appointments and medical tests, but transplant recipients might struggle with finding continued support – both medical and emotional – once their surgery is complete.
TransplantLyfe, a platform developed in partnership with Lyfebulb and global biotech leader CSL Behring, can help fill the gap, allowing recipients, donors and caregivers to connect online. CSL Behring is raising awareness about how to support transplant recipients as it researches potential new treatments in transplant medicine.
Here’s what Transplantlyfe visitors had to say about caring for their emotional well-being after a transplant.
- Alisha: “One of the things I try to do is schedule time for myself in the mornings. First thing when I wake up, I make space to have some alone time journaling, reading and doing some breath work. Whether I'm running to an appointment first thing in the morning or in the hospital, taking a few deep breaths is something I can always do to center and ground myself.”
- Meghan: “Whenever I'm feeling down, I try to either talk to a friend or make myself do something productive – even if it's just mild exercise or cleaning up one room of the house. The feeling of accomplishing something helps boost my mood.”
- Jean Marie: “I have a huge passion for photography! It's my creative outlet. It’s become even more important for my mental health during the pandemic.”
Poor or incomplete communication with medical teams can increase anxiety, studies have found. Maintaining communication with medical teams can help recipients stay on track with treatments, dietary needs, exercise regimens and emotional support.
Here’s what TransplantLyfe users said about connecting with their health care teams:
- Jim: “I am blessed with every one of my various doctors being the kind who give true engagement with the patient, making eye contact and really listening to me during our visits.”
- Brittney: “I am now almost a year post-transplant and have had pretty good resources and was able to get most of the answers from asking my post-transplant coordinator or the medical staff before I left the hospital.
- Alisha: “I worked with a therapist pre- and post-transplant and that really helped. For me, I really liked sensory stimulation in the hospital and was always holding bags of ice or cold cloths. Find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to ask your center about their emotional supports or to see a social worker.”
To connect with other transplant recipients, donors and caregivers, visit TransplantLyfe.