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Jul 25, 2018 · Pre -Transplant Diet and Exercise Ideas in Transplants

I have had two liver transplants at Mayo Rochester. I am also a Physical Therapist with a specialty certification in Aquatic Physical Therapy. I have found from professional and work experience, that gentle aquatic aerobic exercise in therapy pools (warmer than lap pools) is very comfortable for patients and there are very few health risks. Something to consider before seeking this out is if you have an open wounds, ostomy sites or issues with fecal/urinary incontinence. Don’t worry about not being able to get into and out off the pool because most Therapy pools have a lift or a walk in/out ramp to make it easier. Often times for patients with extreme muscle wasting, this is a great way to ease back into exercise without stressing the joints too much and is often very relaxing. Plus, I may be biased here, Aquatic PTs are super friendly and fun! The goal with this is to refer you to a community based exercise program. Many hospitals have this integrated into their Rehabilitarion program in some way, shape or form.

I could not swim after either transplant because I had a rather large wound to heal, but what I did in the hospital was request a PT consult and started walking right away. It comfortable at the first, but the more you walk the better you will feel. I learned that the hard way after my first transplant where I refused to get out of bed and sat and pushed my PCA button whenever I had increased pain.The second time around I was walking a mile post op day 1 and had the PT bring in a little bedside bike pedal to use whenever I was sitting up and watching tv or reading. And depending on your platelets post op, you can begin gentle upper extremity stretching in a variety of positions which helps with healing, swelling, and mobility. I always tried to adhere to what is common referred to as “Sternal precautions.” This is a basic set of guidelines given to patients who have had open heart surgery but came somewhat apply to lost liver transplant patient with some modifications. Briefly, they are:

1. Protect your sternum. Hug a pillow to your chest or cross your arms over your chest when you laugh, sneeze, or cough.

2. Be careful when you get into or out of a chair or bed. Hug a pillow or cross your arms when you stand or sit. Do not twist as you move. Use only your legs to sit and stand. You may need to use a raised toilet seat if you have trouble standing up without using your arms. Your healthcare provider may teach you to use your elbow for support as you move from lying to sitting.

3. Ask when you may take a bath or shower. You may need to use a bath chair if you have trouble getting into or out of the tub. Do not use a grab bar. Depending on where you are transplanted at, they may have different protocols for when you can shower after surgery.

4.Do not lift or carry anything heavier than 5 pounds. For example, a gallon of milk weighs 8 lbs.

5. Try to use both arms and hands for any reaching or grabbing of objects around you. Do not let anyone pull your arms to help you move or dress.

6. Do not push or pull anything. Examples include a car door or a vacuum cleaner.

7. Do not drive while you are healing. Your surgeon will tell you when it is safe for you to start driving again.

Depending on how you heal, you age and previous strength and flexibility prior to transplant, the PT can modify these to fit your particular needs.

After two liver transplants I have learned that physical fitness and diet are keys to living a long healthy life after transplant. Whenever I don’t want to go swim my 2 miles in the pool or eat my greens, I always remember that I am not just doing this for me, but for the person and the family who gave a part of their life so that I might live a little long!

Be well,

Teresa H.

Mar 31, 2018 · fighting off a minor condition, like a cold in Transplants

I may have had the flu, but the flu did not have me!

Mar 31, 2018 · fighting off a minor condition, like a cold in Transplants

I caught Influenza B this last February , only 4 weeks after transplant. I think my family was freaking out because they just got me back and then I catch this deadly flu. I started with symptoms that I thought were allergies…runny. Law and excessive watery eyes. The minute my throat started to tickle, I went immediately to my PCP for a flu swab as well and respiratory panel and chest X-ray. I had influenza B. But they didn’t take any chances and I was started on a 10 day. Purse of Tamiflu and a 5 day Z-pack. I made sure to get plenty of rest. It when I was awake I made sure to keep moving so nothing would settle into my lungs. I stayed super hydrated and had orange Airborne twice a day. Also had Throat Coat Tea and Breathe Easy Tea by Traditional Medicines. Also tried to keep my protein levels up by making mixed berry smoothies with Greek yogurt and protein powder and orange juice. (felt great on my throat and has lots of vitamin c and antioxidents)…it took about 2 weeks to get over it since I was on such high doses of immunosuppressants. I was also on an additional antibiotic for some cellulitis that developed under my incision. Despite all that I survived. The key for me was nutrition, rest, gentle exercise, and proper medical management! Feel better soon. I also took OTC sudafed, Tylenol, Claritin, and mucinex.

Mar 30, 2018 · Wanted: Organ Transplant Recipients Who Have Been Hit By a Car in Transplants

Hey stranger! How’s your favorite guy doing?

Mar 30, 2018 · Wanted: Organ Transplant Recipients Who Have Been Hit By a Car in Transplants

I had horrible puritis before my most recent transplant. Also used the triamacolone cream as well as a Lidex ointment. They also had me use UV light t help with it as well. Didn’t cure it, but made it timetable until the new liver was available.

Mar 29, 2018 · Wanted: Organ Transplant Recipients Who Have Been Hit By a Car in Transplants

Yes! My bili was sitting around 30 at the time. I was severely ill but not a high enough MELD score to be at the top of the list. I was covered in sores and extremely anemic. My hepatic encephalopathy was getting severe. I would sleep all day and only get up to go to appointments or to take my son to and from school. I was hardly alive but trying my best to be a good mom because I could no longer work and my husband needed to work to support us and provide health insurance. Our son also goes to Catholic school so we had that to pay for as well. Faith and hope are very important to my family! I recently started a blog to help me write my book. I have only blogged 9 times (?) I think so far but thoughts on how this series of health events has occurred and how it relates to my faith flood my mind daily so I want to keep posting and ultimately hope it will cummulate in a book or speaking of some sort for those who need hope the most. I know you can’t post links but my blog site is http://cupoftea690793898.wordpress.com
Copy and paste to browser if you would like to read!
Also on Caringbridge under Teresa Tostenrud Hoff
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tetesatostenrudhoff

My phone and computer will be off the next few days for the celebration of Good Friday and Easter. God Blessings to you all and I will keep all who have suffered and conquered as well as those still suffering in my prayers! God Bless!

Mar 29, 2018 · Wanted: Organ Transplant Recipients Who Have Been Hit By a Car in Transplants

All is good! Thank you for your help!