Few parents expect their children to develop heart disease. So when her daughter Alex started gaining weight at age 7, Tammy Benton was concerned -- but not overly concerned. Working with a pediatrician, she tried to encourage Alex to eat more healthfully.
"I didn't talk 'diet' to her," recalls Benton, 46, of Essexville, Mich. Instead, she pointed her daughter to better choices such as fruit instead of candy. Alex did lose some weight but eventually gained it back. By the time she was 14, she weighed...
The time before the transplant is the best time to devote yourself to preparing mentally, physically, and financially. This article can get you started.
Getting Into the Organ Transplant Mindset
An organ transplant's psychological impact must be addressed. While your transplant team can tell you what to expect, they probably haven't experienced it firsthand. It helps your health care team to know what you're going through, says Penelope Loughhead, LMSW, a transplant social worker at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
Along with sharing your thoughts and needs with your team, Loughhead aIso thinks it's beneficial to talk to someone who has gotten an organ like the one you are waiting for. When you're ready to connect with someone this way, ask your transplant team's social worker to help you.
While the waiting time for your organ transplant might seem difficult, you can use this time to come to grips with what's going on, says Gigi Spicer, RN, director of the Virginia Transplant Center at Henrico Doctors' Hospital in Richmond, Va. Typically, she finds, it takes candidates a few months to get used to the idea of the organ transplant and how it will change their life.
Though everyone waiting for a transplant needs time to cope with the fact that his or her health isn't what it was, Spicer advises candidates to adopt an optimistic attitude. Something like: "I am not the disease. I am still who I was. I just happen to have this problem, but my problem can be worked with and my life can be richer."
Looking at Your Lifestyle Before an Organ Transplant
Often, organ transplant candidates need to make some substantial lifestyle changes, such as losing a moderate or large amount of weight or stopping smoking, says Spicer.
That can be hard for some, Spicer says. Candidates are often willing participants in the high-tech aspects of an organ transplant but may drag their feet on lifestyle changes or deny that changes are even necessary.
That's when you need to cultivate a little perspective, recommends Spicer, and decide on just what the transplant is worth to you.