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Resource Guide for Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant
Certainly emotions may be heightened at this time. Undergoing SCT may be an anxiety-provoking experience. It requires much from the patient, his/her family and friends, both physically and emotionally. Virtually everyone experiences some degree of apprehension and fear throughout the process. It is common to feel alternating emotions such as worry, hope, anger, excitement, fear, or even self-pity. Learning about the anticipated course during hospitalization and possible complications can certainly cause anxiety for patients and their relatives, but knowing this information is extremely important. Most transplant centers provide handouts or other resource materials about possible transplant complications. Patients and their families are strongly encouraged to review this information prior to transplant. As frightening as it may seem, knowledge brings with it power and a sense of control.
Patients and their caregivers should consider ways of coping that they find helpful. Asking for help to get through this experience is normal and appropriate. If you feel that your level of stress is overwhelming, discuss this immediately with your physician. All patients will be seen by a social worker prior to transplant. Professional help can positively impact your emotional well-being and will directly and indirectly impact your overall treatment experience. Although there are many different ways of coping, you might find the following suggestions helpful:
Often patients and families facing a transplant appreciate being “linked” to a stem cell transplant peer support volunteer. This is someone who has had a transplant and is willing to share his/her personal experience. By listening to someone else’s story and their practical suggestions, you can often better prepare for your own journey. The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link and other organizations have established services that create this match-up whether by phone, e-mail, or written correspondence. It is helpful for caregivers as well to talk to others in similar circumstances. This peer to peer support may be an important complement to medical care (see Resource Listing).
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