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

Quality of Life Post Transplant

Quality of life is complex and is tied to many factors, including the extent of emotional support, personal belief system, financial resources, access to good medical care and other resources, as well as your own coping abilities. The presence of ongoing physical problems also greatly influences quality of life.[5] Assessing the change in quality of life before and after the transplant is complicated by the fact that shifts in expectations and priorities may change how a survivor evaluates his or her quality of life.[6] Also, deterioration in health or sexual functioning may be counterbalanced by strengthened social bonds or enhanced spirituality, all of which go into the general mix that makes up what we call quality of life.

Overall, survivors do more poorly on many measures of quality of life when compared to individuals who have not undergone a transplant. [2] [4] Despite this, however, 60% of survivors are satisfied with their lives and report good to excellent quality of life in the initial years post transplant.[2] As survivors get further away from the transplant, they tend to report a better quality of life.[5]

Several survivors reflect on their quality of life after transplant:

Before the transplant I took my good health and so much else for granted. Now, I deal with many small lingering health issues, but I use a different measuring stick to evaluate my life. What I once would have considered only acceptable, I now consider good, and I appreciate both the big and the little things more.

The transplant experience helped me grow as a person. I learned things about myself and fellow humans that I would not have considered prior to being sick. I think I am a better, happier person as a result of the experience.

Overall, I feel a bit depressed more often than before. I become anxious easily now in the face of unexpected changes in plans.

I am weaker in mind, body, and spirit. I continue to try to strengthen all and accept that both age and illness take their tolls.

I’m actually a happier and more well-balanced person than I was before the transplant. I treat myself better and try not to take things too seriously. I don’t always succeed, but I do recognize when I’m blowing things out of proportion.

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