I’ve traveled extensively over the majority of my life but Kilimanjaro will be my first major trip abroad since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Wow is it different!
Typically I would book my trip; the plane tickets, the stay, activities, etc. I would get the required immunizations. I’d apply for my visa. And then I’d impatiently wait until the last minute to pack and hop on a plane. That’s exactly how I did Africa the first time.
This time, it is so much more. In addition to planning a trip for five people and trying to corral everyone and raise money and , there is so much prep for all of the “what if” scenarios.
I need to strategically schedule the trip between two infusion treatments, giving me exactly 4 weeks of available time. After that I have to consider the recovery from treatment time and then I have to account for two days travel both ways. Suddenly my month long trip has become 16 days in country with 4 days travel.
I visit all of my doctors for clearance to travel and climb and put my body through hell for a few weeks and then need letters just to get my immunizations. People with MS aren’t recommended to get live vaccines so we have to weigh the pros and cons to my long term well being and if they choose that I should medically not have certain vaccines, I need letters for that too or else I may not get in country or allowed back into the U.S. (we’re already pressing our luck being in Africa and traveling through the Middle East…womp womp).
I need to make sure I have a double supply of all of my other medications just in case. With MS, I need to have steroids in case I start having symptoms. Then I need insulin for the chance that I need to take the steroids because steroids screw up my blood sugar. I need additional notes in order to then carry all of these drugs onto an airplane across multiple continents and countries.
As with any grossly physical endeavor, I have to make sure that I have everything to constantly monitor my body temperature. I don’t regulate my own temperature too well anymore so I need to keep tabs on it and especially not overheat.
Then you have to have the “what if” scenario plan. What if I have a seizure? Then I’m probably fine, just power through. But what if I have a relapse? Everyone on my trip has to know the protocol. I have to have doctors instructions and phone numbers. I have to have what hospital to have them send me too just in case I were to need it (that should also probably be conveyed to the embassy but I’m going to gamble and just have the plan).
Now I need a Xanax because just thinking about all of this is stressing me out which is never good as stress is one of the three major relapse triggers. I don’t even think I’ve considered half of what else I need. I thought writing this all out would help calm my nerves not fry them more! EEEEEEK!
Is this what it's like traveling with children?
Take one thing off my mind and head over to the Donate Now button at the top of the page and help us raise some money!