M.A.G.I.C. Tips on Recovering from an Organ Transplant

Editor’s note. If you have read my other blogs then you know I had a heart transplant on August 21, 2007 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. The following tips are from my personal experience and the guidance of the experts at Mayo.

Bob’s NewHeart Tips for Transplant Patients

Manage your recovery

  • Exercise daily. Shopping is activity, walking at a good clip on a treadmill is exercise. Exercise and a good diet are essential to a successful recovery.
  • Keep a daily journal of the following:
    •  Exercise. Track type and duration. Try for 60 minutes a day.
    • Medication dosages, frequency, changes, stops, new meds.
    • Nutrition. Track foods and liquids according to the limits set by your physician. At a minimum you should be watching liquids, calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium intake based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.
    • Vital signs. Purchase a quality blood pressure cuff at your favorite drug store and begin keeping a daily record of your weight, blood pressure and pulse.

Attitude. No matter what the challenge in your recovery a “can do” attitude is absolutely necessary. When you consider that you have just been given the gift of life a “Poor me” attitude makes absolutely no sense!  No matter what the challenge, and there will be many of them, you can do it!

  • You can and must watch your diet
  • You can and must exercise daily
  • You can and must take your meds on time and live a normal life

Gratitude. Appreciate the fact that the organ you received is a treasure. You have a responsibility to take good care of it. A family somewhere is grieving over the loss of the loved one who donated your organ, a loved one whose generosity and selflessness has allowed you to live.

  • Your caregiver has made a commitment to you, you must make a commitment to the caregiver.  He or she is deserving of all the cooperation and respect you can offer. Because you are recovering from a major surgery, you will make great demands on their time and patience. It is important for you to do as much for yourself as you can, without violating the restrictions placed upon you by your physician. Activity is good for you, even if it hurts.
  • Family and friends have your best interests at heart as well.  Show them you appreciate their concern and efforts.  One way to show gratitude is to follow the rules and live a great, long life.

Information. Because of the complexity of transplantation, you will have hundreds of questions.

  • No one is going to give you a packet that answers all of them. You must take it upon yourself to seek information on medications, insurance, nutrition and more.  Visit my Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative.
  • If you have access to a computer and can get on the Internet, you will find support groups, general information sites and medical information.  www.nutritiondata.com  for example, can help you track calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium content and more.  A group I just started on Facebook, Organ Transplant Initiative could also be helpful.
  • Most importantly, ask questions. Do not be intimidated by physicians or others who are guiding or directing your care. If you do not understand what they are saying, press them until you do. And, by all means, take notes.


  • The medical experts guiding your care know what they are doing. Yes, you should question them and yes, you should ask for clarification but remember that everything they suggest is for your own good. If, for example, you are told to consume no more than 1850 calories a day, do it! When you don’t you are only hurting yourself. Who gets hurt if you eat too much, gain weight and put added strain on your new organ? It sure isn’t the physician or nurse or cardiac rehab expert.
  • Follow the advice given to you by rehab experts.  Transplant drugs can have a negative effect on other parts of your body including bones.  In rehab everything from proper breathing to stretching has a profound effect on your recovery.

About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on November 7, 2007, in recovery. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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