I think this is the biggest question I get all the time and certainly the one I think about most. I think physically, this has been easier than I thought it would be. I spent the better part of a year, playing soccer as frequently as I could and hitting the treadmill when I skipped soccer. I took great care of my body and I was healthy. I even played a full soccer game for a Virginia Tech Alumni team in Arlington Thursday night, the day before the Friday I was called in for transplant. I felt and looked (I'm being modest) great!
Now, compare that with the many folks that I see who enter the Georgetown transplant institute who are often stuck with a much more morose case. Many people are jaundice, many people are barely able to move well or walk, many people look sick and look to be in pain. You can see from the expressions on their face, the lack of emotion and life. Whatever brought them into the transplant institute, has taken a lot out of them and it's not a pretty sight.
Think about the quality of life that you imagine these people to have and it almost makes me feel guilty that I was so healthy feeling. However, this actually I think makes is more mentally challenging on me, than on them.
I've got lofty expectations. In many of the transplant cases, the people who were hurting with a very poor quality of life, come out of transplant and feel much better, even almost immediately. Now I don't know for sure, but I would think this gives them a mental boost. When I came out of transplant, I felt much worse. I couldn't do anything on my own (even breathe). I had to be assisted to go to the bathroom. I wouldn't be playing soccer or running for months (I couldn't even imagine it then, or now, just quite yet). The drugs that I was on were significant and heavy. I was on steroids, anti rejection meds, anti bacteria meds, anti viral meds,...you name it.
The worst was the steroids. I started having huge mood swings. I would get angry....very angry with people driving recklessly in their cars even if it was not impacting me. I was sad because I could not control my emotions and I knew this was very uncharacteristic for me. I would say things that were mean. I knew they were coming out of my mouth and I did not mean it however I would just blurt out stuff without thinking.
Now I know the medicine is supposed to be leveling off in the coming months, so I'm looking forward to that and hopefully more restful sleep, more normal thoughts and feelings. All in all, i'm still very fortunate to be given such a healthy liver and fortunate to be recovering so well.