5 More Practical Tips to Thrive After a Kidney Transplant

In part 1 of Practical Tips To Thrive After a Kidney Transplant I discussed the pertinent things that you need to keep your kidney working at its best. The last 5 tips will focus more on emotional and mental health to keep you in a good frame of mind during recovery. So here, we go!

1. Be patient

As I mentioned previously, your body just went through major, invasive surgery. A foreign organ was just added to your body. It takes time to recover. For me, my mobility was better, not normal, by week 2. Sleep gradually got better and eventually, I was able to drive again. Your mobility and your independence will take time to recover, in the meantime extend lots of grace to yourself, your body, and those around you.

2. Accept the help

Whew, this was a hard one for me to get. I have always been an independent person, even as a child. So, imagine having to ask for someone to make your food, help you walk, get your groceries? It was a struggle for me. Even as a dialysis patient, I had certain independence that I prided myself on. My dear mother, a saint for putting up with me, was my caregiver for nearly two months. While it may be challenging, remember that accepting help will prevent you from causing injury or harm or stressing yourself out.

3. Celebrate EVERY win

Are you finally able to walk without assistance or a walker? Celebrate that. Able to cook for yourself again? Woohoo! Every small win moves you closer to normalcy and living with your new kidney and it should be embraced.

4. Rest, relax, and restore

Yes, sleep will be hard, but once you find a comfortable position, take this time to get as much rest and relaxation as you can. I’m the type of person who can get busy with new projects and always has the urge to find something to do. I was smart, most of the time, and took frequent naps to restore my body and spirit. Don't fight the message your body is telling you. This is key to having a balance with your emotions and helping your body heal.

5. Do your best to experience gratitude

Previously, I talked about the assumption that gratitude is the only emotion you should feel. There’s no joy in false gratitude, but there is something to be said about feeling your emotions (negative or positive) and keeping a good perspective that you did get a second chance at life – and that is an amazing thing! It will help you balance the not-so-fun times.

Take your meds, take it easy, drink your water and accept and ask for help. Experience every emotion that comes your way, it's a wild ride, and take note – that way you can pass it on to someone else who will fortunate enough to be in your shoes one day.

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