Travelling with a chronic condition…and a toddler.

Holiday…travelling…everybody enjoy going away; I used to love to get on a plane and go in a different country, even since I became a mom it hasn’t really been an issue to travel with my daughter, we have been going away since she was six months old and very often just me and her. But everything changed since I have been dealing with chronic conditions. Now I start stressing about it weeks before I even leave, and of course I know it’s the worst thing I can possibly do with my conditions but there is no way of controlling it. I stress because of past memory, I had bad experiences before while travelling so everytime my mind goes there.

The only thing I can rationally do is to prepare myself, as much as I can. Before I leave I try to think of all the scenario I could possibly go through, to tell you a few that happened in the past : I fell sick at the airport on my way back, I experienced chronic pain while away on holiday, I had to go to hospital, I had to stay longer,… Next is preparing little kits that could be helpful in certain situations, for example my airport kit; I bring it in my carry on bag, normally a backpack and it contains: a change of clothes (including underwear), wipes, my “emergency medications”, a hot water bottle (empty), some kind of hospital paperwork that explains my conditions ( in case I have to explain it to staff at the airport, it actually happened!!), Rescue spray ( it’s a mix of Bach flowers that helps during stressful moments), lavander roll on, antisickness wrist bands, orange essential oil ( it helps with sickness). Also I bring in the carry on bag all my medicines in case my luggages get lost, stolen or flight are delayed so I don’t have to worry about missing them; and I bring an extra week woth of medicine on top of the days I’m travelling for in case I have to stay for longer. For my little one a lot and I mean a lot of entertainment and snacks, which obviously changed through her different stages but for example right now that she is two I brought for her: a colouring book with crayons, a few of her favourite character (right now the Trolls), a couple of books (if possible new ones so she is more into it), stickers, a magic board and of course an Ipad with a few games app for her age and some her favourite videos. It sounds a lot but kids get bored really easily, at least mine, so I rather have extras.

Things can still go very wrong, like they did in our current holiday, yep we are on holidays at the moment and let’s just say it hasn’t been the most lucky one but I’m trying my best to enjoy the positives. I think it’s very important to become realistic and know that chronic conditions are 24/7 and din’t take any holiday, ironically, so they can come anytime. Once more I had to visit the hospital while I’m away and I have been spending the past couple of days in bed while my family goes out and fun. Don’t take this wrong ,I’m extremely happy that at least they can have fun but ,of course I’m going to be upset about ruining my vacation time. Accepting that I will get upset when things go wrong and it’s ok if I do was one of the turning point about my journey living with a chronic condition. I had three amazing days of beach time with my daughter and enjoy every little thing, playing in the water, the warmth of the sun, a swim in the sea, her laugh and yes a bit of a tan!! This is all I want to remember! And the holiday is not finish yet so I might be able to enjoy a few more days.

A few other things I prefer now when I travel are:

*stay in houses rather than hotels. I fell like I have more freedom there if I’m not feeling well and also my daughter has more space to move. We can do what we want about food, eat in or out, whenever we want. I have a kettle for my hot water bottle or I can boil water on a stove. And other little things.

*know in advance where are the hospitals and which one have ER. Unfortunately I need them very often so once again I rather be prapered.

*Have netflix installed on my phone or Ipad. Seams silly but if I have to spend a few days in bed that’s one he things I do to distract myself.

*Document myself on what kind of food I can find there and if it’s necessary bring with me a few essentials. Seams silly but when I’m not well I can eat a very few things so once again better prepared than starved.

Even though I have to face a few extra challenges when I travel, I will not stop. It’s one of my biggest passions and something I love doing with my family.

Don’t stop doing something just because it’s a little hard, always look at the bright side of things; is it realistic to be like this everyday ? No , but that’s ok, as long as you try your best to live the life you want to live.

” Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in you sail. Explore. Dream. Discover. ”

Mark Twain

I WENT VEGAN

 

Honestly I feel like I tried everything in the past few years, be it for my health problems or just for general health. Specifically about food, I have been to a nutritionist a few years back that specialised in treating digestive system disorders with tailored made diets. What I’m going to write is just my experience, I’m no expert and I don’t intend to give advise.
I had some blood tests done and the results told me if I had any allergy, intolerance or simply my body didn’t agree too well with eating particular foods. I thought “great! this is gonna work!!!”. She sent me home with a list of foods that I could eat and another with ones that I couldn’t. Unfortunately the first one was very tiny compare to the second. The nutritionist wanted me to cut almost everything, without considering my likes and dislikes, how much food I eat or how my body works; for example I have a really fast metabolism, I loose weight very easily and find it hard to put it back on. After a month of this diet, I was unhappy and grumpy all the time, lost weight (when I really didn’t need to) and didn’t feel any better. I still went on with it, I was allowed to reintroduce some food items but it still didn’t work for me. After 3 months I gave up.
Have you ever heard of “intuitive eating”? It is basically rejecting any diet mentality and honoring your hunger with what you feel is right for you, listening to your body when it’s full and when it’s hungry. When I was in a really bad flare with my chronic pelvic pain I found eating really difficult and skipped most meals. Obviously that didn’t have a good impact on my general health. I was staying at my parents’ because they were helping me looking after my daughter while I was in too much pain to do anything. I have spent a long time in bed which gave me the opportunity to look into different dietary approach. When I looked into veganism I immediately felt that it would suit me, at least for this period of my life. When I went back home I jumped ino it immediately; that was the first week of May. So it has been now a bit over two months and it’s going great, I listen to what my body needs, following the principles of being vegan. I learnt how to cook many yummy meals and snacks. There is nothing that I miss or crave and I learnt a lot about nutrition My energy levels are higher and I don’t experience fog brain anymore. My digestion is effortless now and I don’t feel bloated all the time. And I’m actually just enjoying eating much more.
Do I think everyone should go vegan? Did I force my family into becoming vegan? No and No! What I think is that you should just listen to your body and make the best choices for yourself. My husband is not interested in trying this approach to food and I let my toddler decide what she wants to eat. Interestingly enough she really loves fruit and vegetables , she likes beans and similars but she also loves eating dairy (milk, cheese,…) and doesn’t enjoy substitutes ( almond milk, coconut milk,…). I think when she is a bit older she can make her choice and decide which direction she wants to take about food.                                                                                                                                              I also started sharing pictures of my food online, I think it’s fun and makes me love cooking these delicious meals even more. And you get to know people that are on a similar journey who are willing to help and support eachother.
The most important thing is look after your body because you only get one and it will take you through life so it should be your most “valuable possession”. Love yourself!