Skip to content
Font Size
A
A
A

Returning to Work After an Organ Transplant

Most people who get an organ transplant can go back to work. Settling back into your old job can help you feel like yourself again -- and it pays the bills, too.

Jeffrey D. Punch, MD, chief of the Division of Transplantation at the University of Michigan Health System says that he encourages his patients to go back to work. "I advise people to do as much as they can," Punch tells WebMD. "It's healthy to be more active and involved."

Recommended Related to

Living With Immunosuppression After an Organ Transplant

Your body's defenses are always on the prowl for germs and other foreign organisms. Unfortunately, this means that your body is not a very well-mannered host. It treats your life-saving transplanted organ just like it treats a mere freeloading germ: It attacks. Organ rejection is your own body's misguided attempt to protect you. That's why there's immunosuppression. Immunosuppressant drugs can block the effects of these natural defenses. They usually allow your body to live in relative harmony with...

Read the Living With Immunosuppression After an Organ Transplant article > >

But readjusting can be a challenge. You may not slide back into your job as smoothly as you like. Though you may be sitting in the same chair behind the same desk, things may not feel quite the same.

Starting Slow After an Organ Transplant

If you've been sick and out of work for some time, returning can be hard. People working in very competitive fields may feel out of the loop after an organ transplant. Your co-workers may seem to have left you behind, Punch cautions.

If you're recovering slowly or worried about returning to work, Punch recommends that you start with a volunteer job. It will ease you back into the working world, but won't demand too much of you. After all, people do have complications sometimes, and you might need to go back to the hospital for a few days.

"If your only job is volunteer work clipping hedges at a church, no one will be too mad if you can't show up," Punch says. "But if you're an attorney trying a big case, it can be a problem."

Dealing With Coworkers After an Organ Transplant

Going back to work after a long absence can make you feel like the new kid in school all over again. You're craving to feel normal, but can't because everyone is treating you so strangely.

Barry Friedman, RN, administrative director of the Solid Organ Transplant Program at the Children's Medical Center in Dallas, says that many people don't understand how common and how successful transplants are. They think that a transplant recipient must still be gravely ill. Or they treat you like a fragile medical marvel.

So it may be up to you to tell them otherwise. Living with a transplant often means that you have to become an educator, too. Talking openly with your co-workers and boss about what it's like to have a transplant may make everyone feel more at ease.

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
chest x-ray
7 early symptoms.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
Breast Cancer Overview
Symptoms and treatments.
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.