It is easy to lose your motivation for eating healthily, exercising and taking all your drugs correctly in the years after an organ transplant. However, it is important to remember that a healthy lifestyle, including all these things, can extend the life of your transplanted organ, and give you a good quality of life.
Outcomes vary, but many transplant recipients live happy and healthy lives.
“Whenever I go skiing, I go skiing with my donor because for me, whatever I do, my donor comes with me. I definitely like to do good things with him [the organ donor], and I think I’ve done quite a few, and I definitely feel that whatever I do with my life, I have to do some good things in his honour” Liz Schick, liver transplant recipient.
To stay motivated, you could join a local support group (usually set up through your transplant hospital), where transplant recipients can share their experiences. Many transplant recipients also find it rewarding to volunteer as mentors or give talks to new transplant recipients, who may need encouragement and emotional support at the start of their transplant journey. Most countries also have patient societies for each transplanted organ which support transplant recipients.
Transplant recipients also meet up every year for the national and/or World Transplant Games. The World Transplant Games Federation promotes international friendship through sporting events for the transplant recipient community. This can provide a unique opportunity to meet other transplant recipients and see what can be achieved after you have received your transplant.
You might also find it helps to set yourself goals for eating more healthily or improving your fitness – use the transplant360 web app to track your progress. The transplant360 web app also includes a medication reminder to help make sure you never miss a dose of your anti-rejection medication.
No matter how long you have had your transplanted organ, you should always talk to your transplant team if you feel demotivated. They may be able to provide you with suggestions or advice to make it easier for you to take care of your transplanted organ and your health in general.