Returning to work
If you are planning on going back to work, your transplant team may advise you to wait three to six weeks after your surgery. You may be given limits on what you can do at work at least in the beginning (for example you should not lift objects that weigh more than 10 pounds). If you need to find a new job, ask your social worker to connect you with a career counselor.
Now that you feel better and have more energy after your transplant, you may want to take a trip! Your transplant team may ask that you wait 2 to 3 months before taking a major trip. Talk to your doctor about anything you should consider before traveling, for example, getting enough refills on your immunosuppressants to make it through the whole vacation.
If you are traveling outside of the United States, talk to your transplant team about vaccines or shots you will need, foods you should stay away from, and the safety of drinking water. Your doctor may suggest you wait 6 to 12 months before traveling abroad.
You can start driving 2 to 4 weeks after your transplant. The reason for the delay is that some of the medicines you have to take right after transplant can cause tremors and vision changes. When you start driving again, it may be smart to have someone ride with you.
After having a kidney transplant, your transplant team may ask that you not have sex for 4 to 6 weeks after your transplant, or until the place of your surgery is completely healed.
For women who had a kidney transplant, you may now find that your menstrual periods are more regular, and as part of this you may be more likely to become pregnant. Your doctor will tell you to avoid getting pregnant until one year after your transplant. Ask about what birth control method would work best with your new kidney.
Keeping your new kidney healthy
To keep yourself healthy, and to make sure your new kidney works well, the following are extremely important:
- Take your immunosuppressants and other medicines exactly how your doctor told you.
- Know the signs of infection or possible kidney rejection, then contact your transplant team right away if this ever happens.
- Avoid being around people who are sick.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Eat foods low in salt, fat, and cholesterol.
- After you are cleared by your doctor, start an exercise routine such as walking, or biking.