Planning a Safe Vacation as a Cancer Survivor

In order to have more confidence while traveling, it is essential to be prepared. We have planned several vacations since both mine and my husband’s cancer diagnosis. Initially, it was a challenge, but I have become more organized and have successfully planned healthy vacations.

Every day is a gift

As a blood cancer survivor, I have learned that every day is a gift. Enjoy the moment. Are there places you would like to travel?

Plan for the unexpected

It is important to plan for the unexpected. Seven years ago, my husband became critically ill with sepsis, and we had to cancel our long-awaited trip to the Holy Land. Fortunately, we had purchased travel insurance and were able to receive a refund. To this day because of our medical conditions, we explore travel insurance which also includes coverage for medical care if needed.

Suggestions for an easy vacation:

  • Plan your vacation around your follow-up physician appointments and diagnostics. Your vacation should not conflict with these dates. Also discuss with your physician your vacation plans to ensure there are no contraindications.
  • Be aware if any immunizations are required in the area to which you are traveling.
  • For chronic medical conditions requiring prescription medication, pack in their original packaging or prescription bottle.
  • Plan safe tours. Consider realistic amounts of activity and walking options. Since my husband’s lung surgery, we need to consider his tolerance for physical activity. We will bring his pulse oximeter and oxygen concentrator to ensure that he remains well.

Take along essential supplies

In order to avoid unnecessary stops at pharmacies in unfamiliar areas, I plan for possible situations. Packing these essential over-the-counter items can prevent or alleviate many travel-related health issues so you can focus on enjoying your trip.

  • I include anti-itch cream should we experience itching from bug bites, rashes or other minor skin irritations. This helped after experiencing a rash from insect bites on the beach.
  • Cold medicine helped when my husband started with a cold while on a cruise.
  • Pain reliever for relief from headache, toothache or muscle aches that may occur during travel.
  • Ginger capsules or tablets are useful for nausea, motion sickness or queasiness from windy roads or boat rides.
  • Anti-diarrhea medication. In case traveling food may not agree with you, this medication can help and not interfere with your trip. It is exciting to try new cuisine when traveling.
  • Bandages and antibiotic ointment to treat minor cuts and scrapes.

Where to go next?

Having cancer has presented many challenges for the cancer survivor. We have survived the diagnosis, treatment and its physical and emotional effects. Now may be the time to consider the “bucket list.” Where would you like to travel? We have safely traveled on cruises with our children while following the above suggestions.

We have just made plans for the next item on my Bucket List! In November, we may have another opportunity to visit the Holy Land. Wish us luck.

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