preparing to travel with medical conditions

One thing that always gives us a bit of anxiety is traveling with a chronic illness. Laying in your own bed at home, surrounded by all your comforting items, whatever they may be, and not feeling well is hard enough but traveling and being on the move with no ‘home base’ is quite daunting. Our mom is from Scotland and every summer we go back for about two weeks. We see family, travel around a bit to close by countries, visit different Scottish islands, and eat tons of delicious food. While all of that sounds lovely and exciting, it’s a huge undertaking when you have autonomic and autoimmune conditions. Our doctor told us a while ago that as a basic rule of thumb, if it takes a normal person a week to adjust to jet lag, it will take us three weeks. That’s a little intimidating to say the least. There are certain steps we take to give us the best chance of feeling well for the trip but a lot of it is still out of our control and all we can do here is hope for the best and pray for no flare ups. We both suffer from factor IV liden (a gene mutation that makes us more prone to blood clotting). Because of this, we make sure to wear compressions, drink plenty of fluids on the plane & most importantly move our legs around a LOT while flying. An easy way to do this is to request a bulk head or an aisle seat so we can easily get up & walk around!

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There have definitely been times in the past when we might push too hard with sightseeing and exploring, then have a few down days as a result but this year we are planning on setting an achievable pace and planning a few resting days after any big activity or journey.

Monday morning bright and early we start our journey to Scotland, Belgium, Paris, England and Switzerland so this week we are resting, getting all our pills and medications in order, making sure we have excess of any supplements we take, and crossing our fingers we feel pretty good when the time comes to take off!

Tip: Our rheumatologist suggests that we each take a tamiflu when traveling to decrease our chances of getting a virus from someone on the plane, since both of our immune systems our weakened by our meds!

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