Keeping a positive outlook is important, but not always easy. If you can, try doing things that made you happy before transplant.
Or, you might try learning some new skills. As is true while you wait for your transplant, keeping busy will help your recovery time pass faster.
The transplant recovery process is undeniably stressful. If at any point you feel unable to cope, seek help. Resources are available to support you and your family:
- Talk to the social worker on your transplant team. He or she will be available to talk to you about any concerns you may have and can connect you with resources to help you.
- Attend support groups. This is an opportunity to talk to others who have also gone through a transplant. In sharing experiences, you may learn new ways of coping with your own challenges. It also may be comforting to you to know that you are not the only one feeling the way you do. It is always important to remember, however, that you are an individual and just because someone in your support group had a certain experience, it doesn't mean that you will too. Use these meetings as an outlet for sharing and camaraderie. Do not act on any medical advice you may receive without discussing it with your transplant team.
- If you don't like attending support groups, consider seeking individual counseling. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers offer this type of support. Not all mental health professionals accept insurance. Check with your insurance company to locate a professional near you who accepts your insurance plan.
- Connect with others with CF who have had the same experience you have had using CF Peer Connect. CF Peer Connect is a one-to-one peer mentoring program for adults with CF and their family members.
- You can also connect with and learn from many others at one time by attending community conferences, including NextBreath, which provide an opportunity for the CF community to connect, share, and learn from peers through open and honest dialogue.
I think it's best when clinicians encourage transplant patients to explore ways to preserve their mental health when undergoing such a life-changing -- yet possibly traumatic -- experience. Meanwhile, patients should consider the circumstances in which they will be able to implement activities and have several alternatives.
-- Jenavese Armstrong, adult with CF, from the CF Community Blog