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This time of year, spring breakers are traveling to relax from school and work with friends and family. Travel in itself can be stressful, but if you add dealing with cancer into the mix, the idea may be too overwhelming and seem unmanageable. Traveling while you or a loved one has cancer can still be fun and relaxing with the right amount of preparation. When facing a rare form of cancer like mesothelioma, travel for mesothelioma treatment is common, but travel for fun doesn't have to be out of the question. Speaking to your doctor first is always recommended because each cancer patient has different limitations and needs. Once travel has been discussed and approved by the patient’s medical team, follow these other tips to make your travel as smooth and as fun as possible.
- Have the details of the trip pre-planned, which reduces on-the-road stress of figuring out where to stay, what to do, etc.
- Include lots of breaks in your trip schedule for resting and relaxing.
- Come prepared with the numbers and addresses of local hospitals and urgent care centers.
- Bring all of your medications (the ones you take regularly and the ones for flare-ups/pain), as well as a list of your medications and when to take what.
- Pack small packages of granola bars, instant oatmeal, and crackers to take with medications.
- Pack a cardigan sweater than can easily be slipped on to help keep warm.
- Bring a small pillow (and possibly a lap blanket) to stay comfortable during travel.
- Do some research ahead of leaving to discover restaurants that cater to any dietary restrictions (medical or self-imposed).
- Remember to pack hand sanitizer and to wash your hands frequently to avoid catching any wayward bugs.
As a last item to add, be sure to schedule an appointment with your usual doctor for a post-travel check-up to discuss any health difficulties you had while away. If you had a great time relaxing without any unusual symptoms, feel free to cancel the appointment, but you'll feel better knowing that it's already scheduled for when you get home.
Danea Horn is a resilient fighter of her disorder known as VACTERL Association, a speaker, and author of her upcoming book "Chronic Resilience: 10 Sanity-Saving Strategies for Women Coping with the Stress of Illness." Through her sickness, Danea has learned that her illness can be her greatest teacher. She shares her experiences and advice through her site, Chronic Resilience.