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Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Frequently Asked Questions
13. What can I do to prepare myself mentally, physically, and emotionally for the transplant?
Getting yourself and your family prepared to meet the transplant challenge can feel like a full time job. It takes a great deal of energy and effort. On an emotional level, preparing for a transplant may entail spending time with friends and family, rallying social support, and taking time out to be alone to experience one's feelings. Counseling may also be helpful in coping with difficult emotions and making important decisions. On a physical level, this may mean eating a healthy diet, getting good dental care, and maintaining an exercise routine. On a practical level, it may mean choosing a transplant center, organizing caregiving arrangements, and obtaining items for a hospital stay.
Put together a notebook or binder to record information from your health care visits and/ or take a tape recorder along with you. Take a family member or friend with you during discussions with your medical team. They'll provide backup support in understanding what was said. Don't hesitate to voice concerns.
Aside from the physical examinations and testing that you'll undergo, family and "support team" readiness is very important. Discussions between hospital staff and family will be helpful. Also, questions about finances, employment, delegating responsibilities, and more should be addressed within a family setting. Prepare children (as patients themselves or as children of patients) to cope with the transplant. This is done through education and simple (not scary) discussions about the procedure. Frequently offer children a chance to ask questions about the transplant. Request age-appropriate material from your health care team to help children understand. Attend information or educational sessions at the transplant center to learn about what you can expect before and after transplant.
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