During and after your stem cell transplant, it’s common to feel worried and down. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can help yourself and get more support if you need it.
While you’re still in hospital isolation, it’s common to feel low. It’s natural to feel this way, especially if you’re physically unwell.
Some people feel down about being isolated in the room or ward. You might also feel cut off from your family and friends, or anxious about whether the transplant is working.
Often these emotions will change over time – sometimes you just need someone to reassure you that what you’re feeling is normal.
There are some signs that might mean you need more support to cope with how you’re feeling. Let your transplant team know if during the last month you’ve often been bothered by:
They’ll make sure you get the help and support that’s right for you.
Try and go easy on yourself – have short periods of activity followed by rest. It helps not to rest too much during the day as you may find it harder to sleep at night. Relaxation exercises might make it easier to get to sleep.
Look for ways to break your day up – this might just be reading, watching TV, or chatting to staff or visitors. Some patients say they find it helpful to use social media to keep up-to-date with friends and family, or to write a blog about their experiences. You could always connect with others on our online community.
It also helps to do some light exercise to keep yourself mobile – even if that’s just walking around your hospital bed.
Read our leaflet Dealing with isolation for more tips.
There are many ways to get more psychological support if you need it:
Find out more about looking after your emotions.
During your stem cell transplant, having a strong support system from family and friends can be very helpful. It can be a really stressful time, and even close relationships can change along the way.
It’s good to get support for you and your loved ones. The people close to you can speak to the transplant team or their own GP, and use tips on our pages for parents, family and friends.
‘I think it was harder for the family than it was for me. You’re locked in your little bubble – safe. But everyone on the outside has to get on with the real world.’
Nigel had a transplant in 2013
While you’re in hospital, you may have conflicting feelings about seeing your friends and family. Some people find they want to protect their friends and family from seeing them while they’re unwell; others get worried about people bringing in infections.
As long as they’re following the hygiene and isolation procedures, visits from friends and family can be a great way to cheer you up and make you feel supported. See how you feel each day and let your family know if you’re not up for visitors.
‘We limited our visitors to a few close friends and family who offered positivity and support.’
Una, wife of a transplant recipient
Ask a few people close to you to update your wider friends or family for you. That way you won’t lose touch with anyone, but aren’t under pressure to be in contact with everyone if you’re not feeling up to it.
If you feel comfortable with computers, you could update a blog or Facebook page to keep your friends and family in the loop. Comments and ‘likes’ can be a great source of support.