"Maskeuraids" - Making Traveling a Little Fun Again
This will be my first of several blogs about traveling with immune deficiency and chronic pain. Getting ready for extended travel has had its ups and downs. It runs the gamut from maddening to hilarious. Hopefully, some of what I say helps those considering travel.
Setting the table
I feel I should set the table a little for those that haven’t read much of what I have written.
Before I became a target of multiple myeloma, I was very physically active; running, weightlifting, basketball playing, and being a small business owner. Prior to running my own business, I was employed in international operations and sales for the home furnishings industry; so, traveled all over the world, and mostly loved it.
MM changed all that when it caused 10 of my vertebrae to totally collapse. My physical activity became almost non-existent, and chronic pain, a constant companion. Running and travel became treasured memories.
A lot of MM veterans told me that there would be improvements, where my imagined impossible, might become possible again. I didn’t believe them, knew I’d never be able to travel again, and really didn’t even see myself being able to ride in a car for much more than an hour.
Impossible becomes maybe, maybe becomes possible
After about 2 years had passed since diagnosis, and although pain, fatigue, and immune deficiency were all still my mates, I’d gained back enough health, where I was able to start actually planning and taking trips. Impossible was at least in my rear view mirror.
I started out with short day trips. Short became medium, and medium became longer. Sleeping away still presented a problem because I couldn’t get in and out of a bed, let alone sleep in one without extreme discomfort. A rented recliner or a trailer to carry my recliner were necessities.
Then one day after a lot of therapy and walking, I was able manage sleeping in a bed again. My trips then became a little farther and longer, with the culmination to this point, being a 40th Wedding Anniversary, fifteen-day, vacation to Denmark, Norway, and Croatia, which we just completed.
Houston, we have a problem
Unfortunately, two of my my longer “training” trips for the Europe trip ended in disaster. I got lung infections and pneumonia on both. I thought I had been careful using masks, washing hands, carrying wipes and gel everywhere, but evidently, I got sloppy a couple of times, and paid the price. It definitely made me rethink 15 days in planes and unknown environments.
One complication we discovered during this period, was that my Revlimid maintenance dose was becoming toxic, bringing my red and white counts down to dangerous levels. My medical team and I decided I should stop my maintenance ahead of the trip, to even have a chance of surviving without getting sick. We made the leap of faith.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?