Vacation while receiving treatment

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  • #92951
    julietsai24
    Participant

    Marion had given a really a advice for the trip!!
    Thanks a lot!!

    #92950
    marions
    Moderator

    Michelle…thanks for reintroducing the subject of travel while undergoing treatment. I hope this thread will entice many other comments.

    Here are additional thoughts based on cancer.net recommendations:

    Talk to your physician to check you are fit to travel

    Some people with cancer may not be able to fly because oxygen levels and air pressure changes at high altitudes can be dangerous. Changes in air pressure during a flight can trigger swelling in the arms, legs, or other parts of the body for people who have had lymph nodes removed. To help reduce the chance of swelling, your doctor might recommend wearing a compression garment while traveling and/or to avoid tight-fitting clothing. It is also important to gently exercise your arms and legs and move around as much as possible during the journey.

    Sitting through a long flight is already a risk factor for developing a blood clot, and people with cancer, especially those who have recently had surgery or are receiving chemotherapy, have an even higher risk. Because blood clots are potentially life-threatening, you may not be able to take a trip that requires sitting for a long time.
    To reduce the risk of developing blood clots during long trips, get up and walk around at least once every hour to increase your circulation. Also ask the doctor if you should take aspirin or other medications before the trip.
    http://www.cancer.net/blog/2014-07/traveling-cancer

    Medication information
    You may also want to ask your doctor to write a summary of your medical/drug instructions, allergies, and diagnosis and treatment plan. Keep this summary and other emergency information, like emergency contact phone numbers, on hand throughout your trip.

    If you are traveling internationally, you might want to consider translating this information into the local language. Also ask the doctor to give you a medication schedule if you need to take a drug at a specific time and are traveling across time zones.

    Because you can never be quite sure where your luggage will end up, be sure to pack all of your prescription medications in your carry-on instead of a checked bag. If possible, bring an extra supply of your medications in case your return trip is delayed.

    It is also important to keep your medications in their original containers to avoid drug mix-ups and to show customs officials. If you have syringes and needles for injections, ask your doctor to write a note explaining why it is medically necessary to carry these supplies.

    Check immunizations
    Visiting an exotic locale or developing country may require particular vaccinations; however, some vaccines are not advisable for people diagnosed with certain cancers or who are undergoing chemotherapy or other treatment because their immune systems already are weakened.

    Plan for the unexpected
    Well before you leave, compile a list of a cancer hospital, doctor, and emergency facility at your destination—in case something goes wrong. This may be difficult if you’re taking a cruise, but notifying the cruise line of your medical condition and potential complications could alleviate problems later. Having the contacts beforehand will enhance peace of mind for all involved.

    Ensure your insurance
    Check with your insurance company to see what medical coverage it provides when you’re away from home. Find out if any medical care you may receive at your destination will be covered, and whether there are preferred, or in-network, facilities under your plan. You may want to purchase short-term traveler’s insurance and medical evacuation coverage. The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers and the U.S. Department of State suggest options for people traveling outside the United States. Keep your insurance card with you at all times.

    Get assistance
    To conserve your strength and minimize stress, reserve a wheelchair or other assistive transport at airports or train stations and ask to pre-board. Distances are often considerable between terminals, and the walk can be tiring.

    Prevent infection
    Wash your hands often and see that those with you wash frequently. Use sanitizing gels or wipes to clean surfaces and utensils. Drink only bottled water, avoid ice, and eat only well-cooked foods

    Maintain energy
    It may be hard to eat regular meals or find appealing food while traveling. Take along a stash of crackers, energy bars, or other foods to help prevent nausea and boost energy.

    Practice sun sense
    Chemotherapy, certain antibiotics, and radiation treatment can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Generously apply sunscreen and always wear protective hats and clothing when outdoors.

    Be flexible
    Fatigue is a big component of cancer and its treatment, and most cancer patients will have good and bad days. Pace yourself reasonably and don’t try to cram in too many activities. Allow ample time to rest and recharge.

    Don’t ignore symptoms
    Seek immediate emergency medical care if you experience a high fever, shortness of breath, sudden nausea or vomiting, or some new pain or symptom. Ask the on-call physician to contact your oncologist to discuss your medical situation and how best to respond. This is when all of your lists and advance work pay off.
    https://www.nccn.org/patients/resources/life_with_cancer/traveling.aspx

    Biliary Stent Information Card
    The risk of this complication is highest in patients with biliary stents, biliary drainage tubes and/or patients who have had an ERCP or other medical procedure on the biliary tree. However, all patients with cholangiocarcinoma are at risk for ascending cholangitis, which must be treated immediately. Untreated ascending cholangitis can result in fatality.

    Please click on the following link, fill out the information to the best of your knowledge and then click print. A card will print out which you should keep with you at all times, and show to any medical personnel who may be treating you.
    http://cholangiocarcinoma.org/biliary-emergency-information-card/biliary-information-card/

    Hugs,
    Marion

    #12680
    mvpratt
    Member

    Good afternoon,

    I am relatively new to the discussion board so please forgive me if I am talking about something that has already been discussed.

    With that being said I had not really thought about whether to take a vacation or not to vacation while receiving treatment until I came across a posting in a Facebook group. I do not have any great insights to share but am curious if treatment has been a contributing factor for others.

    I have taken a few vacations since my recurrence and I have to admit I did not hesitate to go on vacation. I did have to rearrange my chemo schedule to accommodate my vacation…. and I am shamed to say I did not plan the vacation around when I was having chemo… I just knew that I was going and worked chemo around the trip. I did have to consider how I would tolerate the heat for the summer trips and large amount of walking. I conceded to a wheelchair for long distance as I have a significant limp from the damage to my spine and I was going to a theme park. The other aspect of my vacation planning was related again to mobility constraints … I needed to rent a house or condo with minimal steps/stairs for the same reason. I made no other provisions. I do not have any stents to consider.

    After the discussion in the Facebook group I thought I would throw this topic out there and see if anyone else has thought about this, declined travel, travelled differently, or never even gave it a thought.

    Thanks
    Michelle

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