adolescence or “the teenage years” are challenging even for children without health problems. Children with a chronic illness can have even greater difficulties when they become teenagers. In addition, behaviors that are a “normal” or “expected” part of the teenage years can put kidney transplant patients at risk for rejection or other medical problems.
The teen years are a struggle for most of the transplant team, but it can be more difficult if transplant occurs at this time in a person’s life. Some of the normal teen milestones might be delayed, such as driving, exploring sexuality, and experimenting with moral guidelines (or what some might call “rebelling”). Separation from their peers, isolation, and loss are all part of the teen transplant experience.
The kidney transplant team is very aware of these challenges. Visits to the team include evaluation, ongoing support, and guidance to foster healthy teenage development , coping skills, and the ability to follow the treatment plan.