Feeling depressed 2 years after successful transplant

Posted by krsunny1 @krsunny1, Apr 4, 2022

I had a successful double lung transplant in 2019.
Over the past few years, I ‘ve struggled a lot with side effects of the transplant medications. Thankfully, I am beginning to feel better physically and am gaining strength. My issue is that I have started feeling very lonely and sad. Not sure exactly why, but it could be because I retired about a year ago and I have a lot of free time. Curious to know if any other transplant patients have experienced the same thing.

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Hi, krsunny1. I am 5 years post heart tx. I had to retire 11 years ago due to my heart condition and boy it was a real adjustment. I no longer had all the activity I was used to: people saying hello, sharing a lunch break, celebrating birthdays or one's children and grandchildren. So add to that the intense and ongoing trauma of an organ transplant. I started working with a psychiatrist 2 years post transplant and am now on anti-anxiety meds. It was a shock to me that I would need this but I did. I decided I wanted to feel better, to think better and to love my fsmily and friends better.
I've learned to fill my time with passions I enjoy – mainly studying and writing. I'm a complete nerd here.
I'd be happy to talk with you and share more if you wish.
My best to you. Feel better. A lot is up to us!

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@estrada53

Hi, krsunny1. I am 5 years post heart tx. I had to retire 11 years ago due to my heart condition and boy it was a real adjustment. I no longer had all the activity I was used to: people saying hello, sharing a lunch break, celebrating birthdays or one's children and grandchildren. So add to that the intense and ongoing trauma of an organ transplant. I started working with a psychiatrist 2 years post transplant and am now on anti-anxiety meds. It was a shock to me that I would need this but I did. I decided I wanted to feel better, to think better and to love my fsmily and friends better.
I've learned to fill my time with passions I enjoy – mainly studying and writing. I'm a complete nerd here.
I'd be happy to talk with you and share more if you wish.
My best to you. Feel better. A lot is up to us!

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Estrada53: Thank you for your response. Makes me think I should touch base with my psychiatrist again. It has been quite a while. I would definitely like to stay in touch with you and talk some more. Kathie

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@krsunny1

Estrada53: Thank you for your response. Makes me think I should touch base with my psychiatrist again. It has been quite a while. I would definitely like to stay in touch with you and talk some more. Kathie

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Kathie, please don't hesitate to reach out. You can personal messsge me and we can stay in touch.
Ellen

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@krsunny1
I have no quick answers but prior to my heart transplant I had an unsuccessful valve surgery. After that, I received many cards and notes and most contained bits of encouragement. While I appreciated them, I had a deep conversation with a friend in NYC. She told me it was okay to feel negative emotions like anger and sadness. So I wrote a long Facebook post to my community outlining the negative emotions I felt. (I have since dropped off of Facebook and no longer have access to said screed.) I remember it felt good to tell people I was angry or sad and to describe where the emotion came from and what I was doing about it. In that vein I encourage you to share with those of us who will listen. Resist easy answers because I feel the path out is often winding and rarely follows another's footsteps.
Best always,
s!
Scott Jensen

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Thank you Scott. I will consider your suggestion. Best wishes to you as well

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Hello @krsunny1 @estrada53 @scottij I like this conversation. Don't you think everyone that goes through a life-threatening situation or illness feels like us? (Add the isolation and fear of the covid pandemic and it amplifies the feelings). Also, is it possible that our immune suppression drugs contribute too? @estrada53 did your psychiatrist give you any words of wisdom on how best to get through our PTSD that you can share? The emotional rollercoaster of being terrified that your life is over….and then unbelievably grateful for being saved at the last minute is something we all need to deal with. Not easy. I think all of us share the same thoughts and feelings so you are definitely not alone @krsunny1

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@krsunny1 Hi yes to your question as I am now 4 years post Heart Transplant and had to retire because of it. I don't think mine is as much lonely but kinda like when your kids all are grown up what we call empty house syndrome. At first we are like the center of attention both with our Transplant team and all those who really were worried of our pending possibility of leaving this world. It probally hit me most about a year post as I really needed to decide what life was going to be like going forward. No longer working at a job I loved and the initial attention we got had now subsided. For me I found my new outlook at life thru my Church. Now with tons of time on my hands I needed something to do. Well actually it was about this time my Church (with a bit of push from me) decided to start livestreaming and I was one of the reasons as when I was in the Hospital I really missed going to church and my Pastor at the time helped convince me to set it up. Well it's now blossomed into quite the time filler as with my former background in Communications really gave me a sence of purpose. Now I don't miss working as much and when Covid hit it worked out great as many for a while loved being able to still see the services.
So long story short My suggestion is find a hobby or something you love and either vollenteer to do it or somehow figure a way to fill your day with something to take your mind off of what your missing. The beauty of either a hobby or volleteering is you chose how much time you can spend doing it.
Hope that helps I know for me I'm busier now than when I was working but I get to pick the hours mostly except when church service is in session but even then when I couldn't attend I did it remotely from home. I hope you find something you love to do . Also I pick up my love of Golf also. Nothing like getting outdoors and social distancing is not a problem if covid is a concern
Blessings

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Yes, yes and yes:) I am two years post kidney transplant and have dealt with a lot of emotions, I don't always know what to do with. I believe they arise from a combination of things. Certainly, the roller coaster of feeling your Life Energy slowly leaving, day by day, as your body prepares to die from organ failure; then experiencing the immediacy of Life coming back to you, by way of a gift you can never repay….. it is amazing, terrifying, and life altering. I would imagine a lot of us are in those in-between years of – not old but certainly not young – with children leaving our homes and starting their new lives. Many have faced career changes and/or retirement. Our old lives don't really fit anymore. Which can lead to some depressed thoughts and feelings, to which I always respond, "How can you feel anything but gratitude to be alive?" Which then leads to guilt.

I think transplant is a lot of things. It is a miracle. It is an amazing gift of life, which I have done nothing to particularly earn, nor can I repay it. It is an adjustment to living with, what often feels like a pregnancy to me – carrying something that is not really of my body. It is taking anti-rejection drugs that keep my body damped down , not exactly at the top of its game – where it would destroy my new organ – but functioning higher than it was before surgery. I have not cured my body. I have altered it, added to it. It's a lot to process. I think the body springs back from transplant in a matter of hours but the psyche has to catch up and it takes a while. And I think it is important to allow ourselves time to feel sad about the parts of our life that we no longer have. We have experienced loss, trauma, and a miracle.

I know the end of one chapter in Life, is the beginning of a new one, and the attitude we choose to, either embrace it or shrink from it, will greatly influence what that Life looks like. I am trying to redefine my role at work, to more of a part-time endeavor. I am working out most days, building muscle, as it is suddenly very important to me to feel Strong. I am spending more time in Nature. I am making time to do the things I longed to do, when I was in kidney failure and could barely walk across a room without having to sit down to catch my breath. And each week, I see at least one friend for tea, a nature walk, crafts, or at book club.

Blessings on your journey!

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Thanks for sharing. Experiences we can all learn from.

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@stephanierp

Yes, yes and yes:) I am two years post kidney transplant and have dealt with a lot of emotions, I don't always know what to do with. I believe they arise from a combination of things. Certainly, the roller coaster of feeling your Life Energy slowly leaving, day by day, as your body prepares to die from organ failure; then experiencing the immediacy of Life coming back to you, by way of a gift you can never repay….. it is amazing, terrifying, and life altering. I would imagine a lot of us are in those in-between years of – not old but certainly not young – with children leaving our homes and starting their new lives. Many have faced career changes and/or retirement. Our old lives don't really fit anymore. Which can lead to some depressed thoughts and feelings, to which I always respond, "How can you feel anything but gratitude to be alive?" Which then leads to guilt.

I think transplant is a lot of things. It is a miracle. It is an amazing gift of life, which I have done nothing to particularly earn, nor can I repay it. It is an adjustment to living with, what often feels like a pregnancy to me – carrying something that is not really of my body. It is taking anti-rejection drugs that keep my body damped down , not exactly at the top of its game – where it would destroy my new organ – but functioning higher than it was before surgery. I have not cured my body. I have altered it, added to it. It's a lot to process. I think the body springs back from transplant in a matter of hours but the psyche has to catch up and it takes a while. And I think it is important to allow ourselves time to feel sad about the parts of our life that we no longer have. We have experienced loss, trauma, and a miracle.

I know the end of one chapter in Life, is the beginning of a new one, and the attitude we choose to, either embrace it or shrink from it, will greatly influence what that Life looks like. I am trying to redefine my role at work, to more of a part-time endeavor. I am working out most days, building muscle, as it is suddenly very important to me to feel Strong. I am spending more time in Nature. I am making time to do the things I longed to do, when I was in kidney failure and could barely walk across a room without having to sit down to catch my breath. And each week, I see at least one friend for tea, a nature walk, crafts, or at book club.

Blessings on your journey!

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Thanks for Sharing and very well put. So many emotions we have experienced and what a Blessing to have others here to share our ups and downs with. There is definitely something special when as a group we realize we are not alone.
So @krsunny1 isn't great to realize we all share in this wonderful journey .

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