Transplant success long term

You too can enjoy a fulfilled long term survival post transplant.  We know because TRIO Philadelphia members are enjoying that today.  Come out and see for yourself, it’s a good contagious condition . . .

Transplant recipients and families enjoying life to the fullest at the annual donor awareness DASH held in April each year

Advice for post transplant long term success and healthy living:

1.     Take your pills on time every day.  Always make an effort to take all your meds as close to your regular time as possible.

2.     Keep appointments and stay in touch with your transplant team.  Even if you live far from your transplant center, or have a health condition arise that isn’t related to your transplant, it’s best to maintain regular contact with your transplant physician or coordinator.

3.     Exercise regularly, how you like, when you like, and with your doctor’s approval.  Many people enjoy many different types of exercise, so do what you enjoy most…just do it.  But as always, discuss any exercise program with your doctor before beginning.

4.     Eat well, according to the diet given you by your doctor or dietician.  Each transplant patient has a diet that is specific to him or her.  But with many of us, it’s even more important to watch our cholesterol, sugar, and fat intake.  Also raw or not fully cooked meats, fish, poultry or eggs are to be avoided.

5.     Wash your hands!  This is perhaps the simplest and most effective way to avoid getting sick and helping to keep others from catching any germs you may have.  Wash your hands frequently throughout the day…after petting animals, after using the bathroom, after working outside, or any time when out in public.  And frequently wash while fixing meals involving the cooking of raw foods such as meat, eggs, and fresh vegetables.  If you’re washing your hands 15-20 times a day, you’re probably right on track.  It’s also helpful to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you when you go out.

6.     Visit your dermatologist and dentist at least twice a year.  Transplant medications can cause skin cancer and other skin conditions.  Keep on top of them by visiting a dermatologist regularly.  Also be certain to wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher whenever you go out in the sun, even if for only a few minutes.  Transplant medications can also cause gum disease, resulting in potential tooth loss.  Visit your dentist and be sure to brush and floss daily.

7.     Stay in touch and involved.  Don’t let your new life with its new challenges keep you from doing what you love.  Within the limits your physician has set for you, enjoy what you’ve always enjoyed and be with those you love.  You’ll find greater happiness and longer life.

8.     Keep educating yourself.  Simply, you can never know too much about transplantation and how to be healthy following transplant.  Listen to other success stories and learn from them, as just one of many resources available.  Trust your transplant team and discuss what you hear or read from other sources such as the Internet or fellow patients before making changes.

9.     Develop a network of other recipients. Form a network of transplant friends.  You can often get support and information from other recipients that you cannot get  anywhere else.  You can also become a source of information, support, and even inspiration to those who have been recently transplanted.  Keep in mind that everyone’s experience is unique.

10.   Give back.  Now with over 100,000 people in the U.S. needing an organ transplant, there is more need than ever to help promote organ donation.  You, as a recipient, are in a unique position to give your own perspective and express this need to others in your community.  There are numerous resources to help you do this, from the Organ Procurement Organization in your area to various non-profit groups, such as TRIO, who work closely with those touched by organ donation and transplantation.  Another organization is Donate Life America, http://www.DonateLife.net,   You can also find valuable information on government websites, such as  http://www.UNOS.org and http://www.OrganDonor.gov.

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