When you have a medical condition, you may have to face the decision between maintaining your health and travel. For someone like me, who has multiple chronic illnesses and loves travel, it’s a tough call. My heart pulls me to do the things I love – visit new places, experience new customs, try new foods, and feel adventurous. My body, on the other hand, may be giving me signs that I need to rest, eat food I’m used to, be close to my doctors and rest some more.
It’s a battle for me when that ever-present travel bug hits me, but my body won’t cooperate. Being born with wanderlust and then growing up to take advantage of it has spoiled me. I “expect” at least two trips every year, not counting my visits to Disney World. When my health was poor and it prevented me from going away, I got irritable and depressed.
But, I’ve learned things along the way. It’s been 9 years since the diagnosis of a neuromuscular disease and then a number of autoimmune diseases and other conditions. Sure it’s easy to wallow in a pity party if I can’t travel instead; I chose to put effort into more positive avenues.
It’s OK to cry or be upset. Talk about it and vent. Let someone pamper you extra special. Then focus on getting better, so you can go on another trip.
I recognize that anyone can get sick or hurt before traveling. I’m not alone in this situation and it can be much worse. In fact, my health condition can be much worse in general. If a planned vacation had to be canceled, it doesn’t mean I won’t ever go. It’s a setback, but when I’m feeling better, I’ll be there with bells on. I’m also grateful for travel insurance, which I always purchase.
If I’m not able to travel because of my medical condition, I plan my next trip. I’ll go through everything from the drive to the airport, to the restaurants I want to try, to the amenities in the hotel I want. Each detail becomes more special, knowing that I’ll feel well enough to soak it all in when I’m there.
Instead of a long trip that was planned, I’ll go on a short road trip when the doctor says it’s OK. Or, I may change the location if necessary (my body can’t handle the heat of the beach trip I had planned). This way, I’m still getting a taste of traveling.
I prepare for other trips by telling my doctor in advance. Your doctor can advise you on some things to avoid and some extra things to do in the months and weeks ahead of your vacation. For example, stay away from foods that can worsen your condition and get B12 shots for energy.
Be flexible with travel plans. Even if I can take my trip, I may need time to rest, or a visit to a doctor. It’s best to have these ideas in mind before you leave for your trip and explain that to others that you’re traveling with.
Enjoy every moment when you travel. I don’t find much to complain about when I go on vacation. I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity that the adventure is precious. And to me, each time I travel, it’s an adventure!