After all the preparation, receiving your transplant may seem like reaching the top of a mountain. While it is important to celebrate this milestone, your path to recovery can be a long and winding road.
Until your immune system is able to protect you automatically, you will need to take conscious control of your health. Many of the changes in your daily life are restrictions. These can be frustrating and difficult at times. It might help to focus on how your choices are strengthening your body, restoring your health and nurturing your spirit. Concentrate on what you can do versus what you cannot do. Remember that the changes are temporary.
During the first three to four months after your transplant, it is very important to take extra precautions to protect yourself from the germs that are around us all the time; in the environment, on our food and spread by people and animals. See Infections and Treating Complications for more information on infection warning signs and treatment.
General tips for preventing infection
- Wash your hands often.
- Insist that family and friends practice good hand washing.
- Take daily showers.
- Keep your mouth clean.
- Have someone clean your house before you come home from the hospital. And have others do the daily cleaning of your home.
- Avoid cleaning up after pets.
- Avoid contact with plants and soil.
- Take extra precautions in public spaces - use protective gloves, alcohol wipes.
- Take extra precautions when around children.
Follow food preparation and menu plans as directed by your health care team.
- Ask your transplant team about prepared foods and dining out.
- Avoid exposure to daylight.
- Avoid food, lotions and other products that irritate your mouth, stomach or skin.
The more careful you are in following your doctor's orders, taking precautions and watching for warning signs, the better it will be for your long-term recovery.
Act fast to address early warning signs and minimize complications
- Don't ignore or underestimate symptoms. You cannot be too careful.
- Call your medical team as soon as you notice any warning signs.
- Provide as much detail as you can.