nbmtLINK - National Bone Marrow Transplant Link
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Resources and Support
Resources

Survivorship Guide for Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant
Coping with Late Effects

Adjusting to the New Normal

Figuring out how to incorporate the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes of the transplant into our lives is complicated and takes time. Often, our sense of who we are is challenged. We may need to discard some of the old notions that we had about ourselves, adjust some of our goals, and make some modifications to how we live. For some people, experiencing the new reality post transplant is extremely stressful. There is no easy template to deal with fear of recurrence, chronic health conditions, changed stamina, and changed perceptions of self. However, over time, a large majority of survivors do incorporate the changes of the transplant into their lives, and a new normal emerges.

One of the greatest challenges for me after the transplant was learning to identify with and like my new self – the one who is not very athletic, who gets sick easily, who has bags under her eyes. For a long time, I kept wanting to apologize for this new self because, in some sense, I didn’t see it as the real me. Now I can look at this new self with more acceptance, but liking the new me is still a work in progress.

I can no longer wind surf, kayak, mountain climb, mountain bike, downhill or cross country ski, or jog. I can walk, snorkel, swim, hike, garden, and bird watch.

The transplant tremendously impacted my perspective. I used to think I was invincible. The transplant was humbling.

The new normal is not a bad normal, just different. Perspective is everything. Life goes on. This is how I am now.

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