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British Liver Trust
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Road to recovery

I am 33 years old and had a liver transplant in December last year. Thankfully everything went well and there have been no complications.

Before and after the cirrhosis diagnosis I was into keeping fit. It's only once my cirrhosis changed to decompensated that I lost most of the muscle mass I'd gained from training as well as loads of weight. I went from 14 to less than 13 stone within 3-4 weeks.

I was given the go ahead to start exercising again but avoid putting any strain on the abs. Problem is I still get some fatigue, seems to be quite common in post transplant patients.

I have been riding a bike a couple of days a week for the past few weeks but I think I overdid it last time around 10 days ago. I rode 12 miles and started feeling some discomfort around the liver area as well as being exhausted for the following 4-5 days. Tried running but was getting sharp chest pains everytime. Going to see a specialist about that but have already established it's not heart or lung related.

My question is, are there any others who have managed to get back into training following a transplant? How did you deal with fatigue if any? Im a healthy weight now just over 14 stone but most of it seems to have accumulated in my mid section so I'm looking to get rid of some of that as well as gain some muscle on my legs and upper body.

P.S. Are tattoos discouraged post transplant? I read somewhere they are not safe. I'll ask at the liver clinic on my next appointment in 3 months anyway but thought I'd see if anyone had any personal experience.

12 Replies

The questions about exercise are great. I'd love to know the answer to those myself. I've just started getting back into doing more physical exercise, but as you've experienced, i don't half get tired quick. I've put it down to just being unfit, so am hoping it'll improve - I too am also finding the weight accumulating around the midrift and would like to reduce it somewhat.

One thing else i've found is that my tendons, particularly in the ankles are not as flexible as they once were too, and various joints are a fair bit sore afterwards. This too i am hoping is just down to under use, so will see how it goes.

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Hi Kristian

Just a little update. I started doing 5 one minute high intensity exercises with a minute break in between (HIIT) a few days a week at the beginning of February and it's massively improved my fitness levels as well as getting my weight down. Since joining a gym last week, my sleep has also stabilised. Now I'm on 9 minutes HIIT + breaks and 3-4 days in the gym. Cannot believe how much more energised I feel compared to this time last month!

Hope you're keeping well.


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Oooh, might try that. Sounds pretty good and i could do with the fitness for the Transplant Games. By the way, are you intending to take part?


Haven't really looked into it to be honest but yeah why not. There doesn't seem to be much information on the official website. When is it exactly? I'll contact the liver clinic to put my name down.


Its the 2nd to the 5th August, in Birmingham. Each hospital will have its own team and team manager. I'm sure your transplant coordinators or the clinic will have their details or just do a search on facebook or the internet to see if one exists there.

To compete, you'll need to join Transplant Sport, but that is free. Your hospital's team manager will tell you the rest. Registration has just opened and runs to about the 18th May or there abouts.

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Hi I am post transplant 2 1/2 yrs and although I had other health issues post transplant that affected my fitness I can say that I still get very fatigue after doing too much. But when I look back I've come so far and my fitness has increased beyond believe. Don't rush listen to what ur bodies telling u. Continued good health x


Hello there,

Before my transplant in March 2016, I didn't have a sporty bone in my body. I was very ill and lost a lot of muscle mass combined with intense fatigue and tiredness.

Following surgery I decided to change all of that and become as fit as I could.

So, 14 weeks post surgery I did a 5k charity walk for the ward. Empowered by this, I remembered my transplant coordinator mentioning the British Transplant Games. At the time I ignored it, thinking I was never going to be fit enough for such things. But now, as my strength and muscle mass returned, I found out how to join the team.

Fast forward to August 2017 and as a member of the hospital team I won a medal ( you can see in my profile picture ). The winning wasn't why I went there, I went as a tribute to everyone who had saved my life. These were, the whole of the transplant team, my family and most importantly the donor who literally game me the gift of life.

I was amongst some amazing people. As you are interested in cycling, the Leeds team had Justin Grace ( liver transplant) , one of the Team GB cycling coaches. One of my team won the 800 metres gold athletics 6 months post op.

I think this is something you can certainly consider. You will be able to get fit but with a really worthwhile target. The message will be sent to others how good life can be post transplant but importantly, as with myself and others, its a tribute to everyone who got you there.






Chris Klug..


Have to take your hat off to this guy, pretty dangerous sport to be doing even without a transplanted liver.


Hi ko_1234

Firstly congratulations on your successful transplant. Secondly I've not had a transplant but I sympathise over the exhaustion. I'm not as young as you by a long way but I miss not being able to do what I want, when I want.

I can only suggest that you take things slowly and gradually build up the level you do. You may also need to look at what type of exercise is best for you, perhaps your specialist could give some advice.

Have a lovely Christmas this year. Last year must have been hard.


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Thank you G

You could say last Christmas was a little tough. 2 days post transplant in a hospital ward, tripping on opiates 😁. Nevertheless I was happy to finally have the surgery done but I did feel bad for my wife and daughter spending time worried sick without me. Anyway, all's well that ends well 😊. We'll make this Christmas twice as good.

Wishing you a lovely Christmas too.



Hi Klodian

I can imagine how bad it was and the recovery afterwards. Make sure you all have the best Christmas ever this year. It doesn't need to be fancy just being there with those you love and telling each other that you love them is fantastic. I had a spinal cord injury some time ago and the most precious gift I got was the obvious love my husband, two sons and other family and close friends so openly showed. We are not normally a showy family but their relief and help they gave me to fight to achieve to the best I could was incredible.

Sounds like you have that. Nothing is better.

All the best to you and yours for a great Christmas.



I think you've all done so well. Lots of love Lynne xxxx


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