Summer, a time for pool parties, cook outs, mosquitos, heat and humidity, the beach, fried New England seafood and vacations. Vacationing when you’re living with cancer takes some preparation.
Before Mark and I left for Las Vegas a few weeks go, I needed to coordinate with my treatment schedule and make sure I was healthy enough to travel. It just so happened that I had appointments with my Endocrinologist, Cardiologist, Medical Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist the week before. All was fine, except for falling red blood counts, but thankfully a blood transfusion took care of that and I was ready to rock and roll, or rather gamble and eat!
When we were in Las Vegas the weather was very hot. Many people said not to worry “it’s a dry heat”. Well, heat is heat and when we were visiting it was 109 degrees WITH humidity. We made the best of it.
Because traveling does take some preparation, I would like share some items I take with me or things that I do on vacation that might be helpful to you as well:
- A thermometer. After experiencing Febrile Neutropenia, extremely low white counts with a fever, indicate signs of infection and will result in a visit to the hospital.
- Sunscreen. I have a bald head and do not wear a wig or any type of head covering in the summer. I slather sunscreen everywhere, but pay special attention to my head and anywhere I received radiation. I have lymphedema in my right arm and hand and usually wear a compression sleeve and glove, so I use lots of sunscreen on that arm if I’m in the water or if I’m not wearing the sleeve and glove.
- Medications. I take any oral cancer treatments along with my daily medications such as allergy, high blood pressure, thyroid, etc. I also take pain, anti diarrhea and stool softener medications. As I mentioned, I have lymphedema so I can’t forget my compression day sleeve and glove, my night sleeve and pump.
- Hydrate. I can’t stress this enough, especially in the heat. Being dehydrated can cause dizziness and weakness. It can also flare up symptoms from the illnesses you already have.
- Rest. Take time to rest or take breaks. I take it slow and feel refreshed after resting for a bit. I also alternate indoor and outdoor activities. It’s nice to rest in an indoor air conditioned space, especially when it’s 109 degrees!
I hope these suggestions will help when you are traveling.
My family and I will soon be heading to Long Island New York for my niece’s wedding. After the festivities, we will be vacationing in the city. I hope I don’t forget to pack and do all the things I suggested! Maybe I’ll just write a list so I don’t forget.
I wish you all a great rest of the summer. Enjoy!