2. Take your medicine
Unlike some medicine, such as painkillers for a headache, it is imperative you stay on top of taking any medication you are prescribed in relation to a lung transplant.
You will likely receive pain medication. There will be pain after the surgery. The pain medication may not be able to completely remove the pain, but it should help. The goal is to keep the pain from becoming unbearable. If the pain keeps you from functioning, you will not be able to recover.
There will be a list of “anti-” medications. Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Your immune system will be suppressed to allow your body the chance to accept the new lungs, so these medications will attempt to keep you safe from tiny foreign invaders during this time.
Most importantly you will be given immunosuppressive drugs. Your body’s immune system will see the new organs not as saviors but as invaders and will attempt to reject and destroy the transplanted lungs. Immunosuppressant medicine will suppress your immune system to the point where your body will accept and learn to use the lungs.
These anti-rejection drugs will be with you for the rest of your life. During your recovery, your doctor should work with you to experiment with finding the appropriate level of immunosuppressive drugs so that your immune system does not reject the lungs but still has the capability to protect you from bacteria and viruses.
Again, it is extremely important that you take your anti-rejection drugs consistently and on time. Even if it is a decade after the surgery, if you skip taking your medicine, you risk the possibility of your body rejecting the lungs.