Preparing for transplantation can be an emotional and physical challenge. Knowing what to expect can help to ensure that your experience is a success. Here you can learn some valuable information that can help you prepare for what’s ahead.
Getting on the List…
Once you and your Doctor decide that transplant is right for you, your name will be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) national transplant waiting list. In order to do this, your transplant team will need to perform a series of medical tests, which may include:
Important Steps To Take…
Give your transplant team a list of telephone numbers where you can be reached 24 hours a day. Include phone numbers of friends and family who you might visit. Your transplant team will need to contact you as soon as your new organ is available and must locate you within one hour. If they can’t locate you within that time, the donor organ will likely go to the next person on the list.
Get Financially Ready
Your transplant center has people available who are specially trained to help you in financial matters.
Just knowing what to expect can help you feel better. Don’t be afraid to ask your transplant team a lot of questions, and talk to others who have had transplants—they can give you some ideas about what’s ahead. Read everything you can about the surgery and the medicines you will be taking.
Awaiting transplant can be a stressful and emotional process. Many people awaiting transplant feel nervous, fearful, or depressed. Many transplant centers have a psychologist or a social worker available to help you with any issues you may need to discuss. They may also be able to help your family understand what to expect and how they can help support you during this time. Support groups are also a valuable resource to turn to. Your transplant coordinator can help locate a group that is right for your situation.
Stay as Healthy as Possible
Waiting for a transplant can be very stressful. One way to combat this stress is to stay active. Follow the activity program suggested by your transplant team to keep the rest of your body—and your mind—healthy while you wait. Regular exercise offers several benefits while you are waiting for your new organ:
Take Your Medications
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, be sure you continue to take all of your medications as prescribed. This is a good habit to maintain because keeping up with your medications post-transplant is very important. Your post-transplant therapy will work to protect your new organ.