Barbara Tako is a breast cancer survivor (2010), melanoma survivor (2014) and author of Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools—We'll Get You Through This. She is a cancer coping advocate, speaker and published writer for television, radio and other venues across the country. She lives, survives, and thrives in Minnesota with her husband, children and dog. See more at www.cancersurvivorshipcopingtools.com,or www.clutterclearingchoices.com.
Travel choices can be healthy, if a bit nerve-wracking, for a cancer survivor.
Travel as a cancer survivor? Travel choices can be healthy, if a bit nerve-wracking, for a cancer survivor. It is good to focus outward rather than inward when you can. I remember during chemotherapy eight years ago, I was told by my doctors that I could cross state lines to see a daughter perform in a music competition (that she actually won, says bragging mom) if I got out of the car every hour and moved around to prevent blood clots. Yikes! Years later I now travel worldwide with impunity. Well, sometimes and sort of — with precautions.
Where you go matters. When I travel to a country that is not a first-world country, I have more concerns and less desire to linger long-term — for health worries. Small towns or rural area medical facilities compared to medical facilities at or near a major city can be considerations too. Even when I just travel from state to state, it crosses my mind that I am not close to the doctors who "know me." Unfortunately, my hand-picked medical team does not vacation with me!
Identify issues specific to you. If cancer or cancer treatment has compromised your immune system, find out if there are any shots you would be wise to get before you travel. Do you have any restrictions? Ask your doctors. Also, ask your providers if there are any "just-in-case" medications the doctors want you to bring, especially if you are traveling outside the United States. Sometimes just knowing I have these packed in my suitcase helps relieve a little of the cancer travel anxiety.
Protect yourself. Travel insurance, also called trip insurance, has become more important for many reasons. We worry about rushing back to help aging family members. We worry about the possibility of having medical difficulties ourselves while we are not at home. Travel Insurance Review explains the different types of travel insurance available. Squaremouth searches many travel insurance companies for you to help find you the best rate and type(s) of coverage(s) that you need. Consider looking into these for peace of mind and financial security.
Do your research beforehand. I have learned to call my health insurance provider to find out what kind of coverage I will or won't have at a trip location, and I call my automobile insurance provider too if I will be driving abroad. It eases my mind to purchase trip insurance and sometimes this trip insurance needs to include medical emergency coverage because my regular provider won't cover certain out-of-country locations.
Above all, don't let cancer take your vacation and travel plans away. Since cancer, it is even more important to me to see what there is to see while healthy enough to get out there. It is important to let scenery and new experiences distract me from cancer worries and fears. I will not let cancer win, and I hope you won't either. I also will continue to take sensible precautions. With precautions, you can get out there and be careful out there!