One of the biggest side effects of immunosuppressants is infection. You are more at risk for getting infections because the immunosuppressants decrease the strength of your immune system. Another common side effect of immunosuppressants is stomach upset. Talk to your doctor about your side effects, and you may be able to change the amount of the medicine that you take, or switch to a different medicine if needed. Even though they cause side effects, immunosuppressants are very necessary drugs. They are responsible for keeping your new kidney healthy and working.
You do not have to deal with these feelings alone. Getting a kidney transplant is a major life change, and it is normal to feel stressed and anxious about big life changes. Reach out to your family and friends for support. Your transplant team can also refer you to a mental health specialist.
Though kidney transplants are often successful, there are some cases when they are not. It is possible that your body may refuse to accept the donated kidney shortly after it is placed in your body. It is also possible your new kidney may stop working overtime. Having a new kidney is a major change for your body. Your immune system , which protects your body from germs and harmful cells, recognizes your new kidney as a foreign tissue, and may try to reject it.
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To help prevent your new kidney from being rejected, your doctor will give you immunosuppressants, which are medicines that decrease your immune response so your body is less likely to reject your new kidney. Immunosuppressants are also sometimes called anti-rejection medicines. If you are told by your doctor or healthcare team that you are having a rejection incident or episode, it does not mean your new kidney is not working or your new kidney will be completely rejected. Changing the amount of your immunosuppressant medicine can usually treat this problem.
If their accounts can show that they have made good, it can help them feel in control and perhaps they can move on. It can make them feel that the experience was not merely random, that it really does mean something and that something constructive can come of it. This also allows them to feel that the disruptive experience is over. I longed for this type of reassurance when I was waiting for my transplant. However, I can vouchsafe from experience that, because a narrative is a lens, it allows us to see some things, but not others. Shared linguistic repertoires and acceptable narrative plots may serve to silence and oppress Ezzy They also affect one's identity Denzin Redemption through meaningful suffering and the ideal of an improved life afterwards can become more important than what happened when one was ill or the nuances of who one becomes afterwards.
As meaningful as such an illness narrative might be to the narrator when first telling it, its power wanes because it is not entirely accurate. Shortly after my transplant people would often want to know what happened to me. I myself wanted to understand the extraordinary events that had so altered my life and so I told over and over the medical narrative of how I was ill, what I had suffered from, how I had got my new kidney and how well I was afterwards. And whilst telling it I felt muzzled. There were many things I could not identify, that lurked just beyond my frame of perception.
There were other things I could not speak about, because it seemed like bad luck or because, as I learned early on, my audience would not want to hear about them. One of the things that slipped through the cracks was a consideration of a persistently liminal identity.
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According to Van Gennep liminality is a temporary ritual state in which one withdraws from society, undergoes purification and then reintegrates into society in a new role. This reintegration is often seen as a type of rebirth. Illness can be understood as a type of liminal state because it usually requires that a person be isolated from society to be healed. Once someone has withdrawn from society, we expect them to return to society improved by their experiences, literally and figuratively, as if they had left a ritual liminal state.
And yet illness is not a ritual. The interaction between the liminal and non-liminal states in society can be seen as a relationship between anti-structure and structure Turner This is why rituals at the end of a liminal period are so important to impose structure once again on formlessness. In modern Western society redemptive narratives might be part of our rituals of recovery that allow people who have been ill to reintegrate into society and to bring an end to their liminal state.
Such narratives provide closure. However, recovery and reintegration into society might not always be straightforward. Certain types of catastrophic illness, such as organ failure and cancer, require long-term tertiary treatment and alter one's future identity. After such a disease has rampaged through one's life one can never again be free of medical treatment and one is rendered vulnerable, because one knows it can happen again.
For this reason life after a dread disease can also be described as a type of limbo or liminal state Crowley-Matoka ; Little et al. Both renal biographies I consider are compelled to confront the issue of ongoing liminality after a transplant. They deal with this in different ways because it carries different meanings in the biographies, but the outcome is much the same because the significance of this liminality is profound to both narrators.
Published biographies become published because there is a perceived readership for them. The two biographies of my title presuppose more than one type of readership. Both are aimed at readers who may undergo a transplant, or already have undergone one. They might have relevance for the family and friends of such people too.
Popular culture can be a powerful resource in health care, with patients turning to other patients to draw on their experience of a disease in order to acquire knowledge about how to cope with its lived experience Helman However the biographies are also directed at other audiences who are not renal.
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The celebrity account, by Steven Cojocaru , is aimed at readers who are interested in Hollywood glamour and gossip and who like to follow the lives of famous people. Such readers are keen to follow accounts that are exciting, especially if they show the traditional path of how a famous person overcame adversity. Cojocaru is a Hollywood fashion and celebrity correspondent, who has also appeared on the Oprah and Dr Phil shows. Many people would read his book because they enjoy news about celebrities and they want to know more about him. Janet Hermans's spiritual guru biography has a specific type of religious readership in mind.
Its ultimate role is not to inform readers about transplantation, but to encourage them in the practice of a specific type of religious faith. It is difficult to write an account of an illness that avoids incorporating one or other type of narrative form or bypasses any belief system. I have not yet succeeded in doing this. My medical account has developed into a dysfunctional family drama. My redemptive tale has become a quest narrative.
Any meaning one derives from one's experience of illness is going to be informed by one's own values and cultural context Toombs Additionally, if a biography is to be published it needs to be potentially profitable and this includes having a larger, rather than a smaller, readership and using popular narrative forms. For this reason, when one relates an account of illness, one adapts it to some extent to what one imagines the hearer will want to hear Frank ; Weingarten I have come to see that the audience co-constructs the meaning of the account and if the account is a confessional one, the audience is the witness.
They are intrinsic to the ritual. The reintegration into society and the redemption that would result cannot happen without the one or other type of audience acknowledging the event. Because the two accounts are so different from each other in terms of structure and intention, I shall look at them first separately and then compare some points of similarity.
To allow space to explore themes I shall focus mainly on three aspects: In both cases the titles are microcosms of the accounts as wholes. In addition to this, both biographies represent life after transplant as different from life before illness and this is where the biographies take on redemptive qualities.
They make sense of this in ways that may seem dissimilar at first, but that share some important similarities. Janet Hermans's biography uses a parallel chapter structure to explain a religious concept through a real-life event in the form of a parable. It does this through breaking the events around Hans's transplant into eight chapters, each dealing with a different stage of the transplantation process and each followed by a chapter that handles a related theme in a Christian spiritual process and explains the connection.
Each pair of chapters is preceded by short passages from the Bible, which focuses what follows. Although the renal chapter always precedes the spiritual chapter, the Bible verses always precede the renal chapter, effectively sandwiching the renal account between biblical messages that have very clear religious intentions. This shows that the biographical part is primarily a vehicle to illustrate something spiritual. In the end, there is one overarching spiritual journey of redemption. Hermans's title, Perfect match: A kidney transplant reveals the ultimate second chance , uses typical themes in transplant accounts perfect match and second chance to make a connection between her husband's transplant and her religious beliefs.
These typical themes are significant because they influence how we portray transplantation. Transplantation is typically described as a second chance at life, which can misleadingly make it sound like a type of return or rebirth. One is not born again; instead one's life continues, although possibly not in the way one expected.
From my experience, having a second chance at life can be rather burdensome and imbues even the most basic decisions with weighty importance. Receiving a perfect match can also imply a moral responsibility. If one has a second chance, one had better live up to it. Hermans keeps her renal and religious sections in separate chapters, preventing readers from inferring that religious beliefs will cure one's kidney problems. In her renal biography, medical problems are cured by medical solutions.
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However, the renal sections become symbolic: Toxins in the blood are equated with pollution in the soul Hermans In other words, a logical leap has been made from physical problems to moral ones. It is a short step from this albeit one that Hermans does not take to saying that if you are ill, you have done this to yourself, because there is something spiritually wrong with you. Another theme is that of what illnesses really represent. If kidney failure represents moral turpitude, it could be very easy to see kidney failure and moral turpitude as interchangeable.
Hermans does not mention the cause of Hans's reduced kidney function, possibly because it would take on a symbolic value of sin when seen in the context of the parallel religious narrative. In the light of what the kidney represents — the Holy Spirit — in Hermans's parable Hermans Hermans also does not talk about how her husband experienced the news that his kidneys were failing, because it falls outside the scope of her account which is about the possibility of salvation and the significance of donation.
The renal part of her account is concise and medically oriented, so there seems to be no space for an account of ESRD to be told, only that of recovery and redemption. This would be something very personal and subjective that she would have experienced another way, as a care provider, instead of the patient. In addition, the account of Hans's ESRD could overwhelm the account of the donor, Erik's, donation, because with chronic kidney failure people often suffer for a long time and so much relentless misery tends to leave its mark permanently.
An account that included a discussion of the impact of kidney failure would, in my experience, render a narration extremely messy. And even now I am overwhelmed with terror if I have an unexplained spike in my body temperature. Although I have a high-functioning transplanted kidney and have had it for over two decades, part of me is still living in ESRD. It could be argued that the account of dysfunction is missing only because Hermans uses her husband's kidney transplant as a parable to illustrate a religious concept.
However, it is important to realise that we all edit our scripts for various reasons. No account is ever complete. Her account is only about the transplant itself. In fact an element of contradiction is apparent in her descriptions. He is no longer the old Hans, full of toxins, but a new and different person. This implies that Hans returned to his pre-ESRD state, which seems at odds with her previous description and, indeed, with the religious message of her book.
The uncertainty of Hans's future post-transplant is difficult for her to write about partly because it does not truly fit her parable of salvation. He has been saved, but his salvation could be taken away at any time. Hermans does not explore this, but leaves the reader with this perturbing thought in the final paragraph: Liminality deriving from an illness can be difficult and painful to articulate because it is not neat and tidy, nor is its persistence dependent upon one's behaviour.
If, in one's spiritual belief system life itself is seen as a liminal phase before heaven or hell, that may make it easier to understand life after catastrophic illness as a liminal period. Cojocaru begins his account with the failure of his first transplant and ends it with the tenuous success of his second one.
Uncertainty is a dominant theme throughout his account, unlike in Hermans's. His title, Glamour, interrupted: How I became the best-dressed patient in Hollywood, raises two crucial issues: The central struggle for Cojocaru in his book is how to reconcile his new damaged identity with his old professional persona of celebrity, particularly as his highly competitive fashion career is all about creating perfection.
Interruption is a form of disruption. It implies that life resumes after the interruption is over. An interruption is, furthermore, by definition, brief. Cojocaru treats this idea in a fairly complex way, because he had two transplants. After the first one, he tries desperately to escape persistent liminality and to return to what he knew before success at this would be the end-point in a typical transplant narrative , but he cannot and he loses his kidney.
He treats his second transplant differently. In his first chapters he backtracks to how he discovered that polycystic kidney disease was destroying his kidneys and how he tried to deny this reality, preferring to lose himself in his high-powered job. Cojocaru spends a significant part of his book coming to terms with the idea of ESRD.
He is at first so appalled by being flawed that he retreats into a state of denial that almost costs him his life. His greatest battle is to change his attitude to his new circumstances. One reason he rejects the idea of illness so strongly is because of what he does and where he lives. Success in Hollywood depends on external beauty and perfection. Surviving there is all about beautiful veneers. Illness is anything but glamorous, as he explains: If I went public with my disease, would the A-list turn its back on me? Illness is a type of dirty secret, a hidden pollution, and Cojocaru tries very hard to keep it hidden.
When he is forced to accept his condition, he struggles to find a kidney and a friend eventually donates one to him. His language during this time is filled with stage and film imagery. And so he reveals his flaw to the public. This is cathartic and imagery of renewal becomes dominant. However, to have value in his world, he needs to be able to do his job and to be entertaining. He tries and fails. His narrative becomes saturated by irony.
Cojocaru the narrator is a knowing, ironic voice that has lived by Hollywood mores, but who mocks and reveals them. Cojocaru the narrated is an innocent who tries to live the Hollywood dream. This theme is an ironic reference to his first book, Red carpet diaries: Confessions of a glamour boy , in which he gives readers glimpses into the extraordinary workings of behind-the-scenes Hollywood whilst describing the allure of glamour and his own star-struck awe at being admitted to the inner circle. However his persistent denial about the seriousness of his condition and the finality of the losses he has sustained causes him to treat his new kidney roughly and he loses it.
He is still trying to live the movie plot:. I was going to pick up right where I left off seven months earlier, put my life back on like a perfectly cut French suit. Everything would happen according to my master plan, no restrictions, no change of habits. It was suffer the transplant, go on Oprah and you're cured—almost like Oprah was a shaman who had given me the final healing I needed.
His elderly mother donates the second kidney and this time, filled with guilt and fear, he tries to treat his transplant differently. Not only does he have to master a complex medical regime, but he has to re-evaluate his glamorous life in the face of bodily frailty and imperfection. In the course of his book he battles to come to terms with what has happened to him and his life and to accept that he can never go back to what he was before. At the end of his book he attempts to gain a type of closure and meaning from his experiences. His last chapter describes his return to health in a different way from his first transplant: Instead he returns to assess and to change it.
Previously, on moving to Hollywood he had reinvented himself through fashion Cojocaru Now he reconstructs himself through writing to obtain meaning from his circumstances. He has to accept a truth that has been almost unbearable: However, this in itself is an often-used movie plot. He attains a degree of acceptance in coming to terms with not having what he had wanted. Nonetheless he is still keenly aware of his loss and his changed identity.
This is a wonderful account for anyone contemplating organ donation. I highly recommend this book.
Life after transplant
I would also recommend this book to anyone who is curious about organ donation. She writes straight from the heart. This book is inspiring!. The author does an excellent job of relating in detail her pre-donor and post donor experiences and feelings. I have a list of about 20 questions to discuss with two friends who have donated kidneys.
Several years ago, my husband's Aunt donated a kidney to her brother. It was interesting to read the donor's point of view. The journey may have been difficult, but you can't put a price on saving another's life. May God bless these people who give so selflessly.
Department of Surgery - Kidney Transplant
I was super excited to read this book being a donor just over a year ago I was anxious to read all the details and I have to say while do sting a kidney is not a decision to take lightly,In doing so it is almost mandatory to go into it with the humour expressed by the author throughout the process! Well done Ms Adams! Thank you for a great read. As a kidney donor myself, I enjoyed reading of another's journey down this path. Lilli shared her thoughts and fears, and the mixed reactions from family, friends, and coworkers in such an authentic way.
She put words on paper to the many things I felt but hadn't been able to verbalize. This would be a helpful and informative read for anyone considering joining the living donor club. See all 30 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. A Story of Living Kidney Donation. Set up a giveaway. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime.
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