It’s upon us — that wonderful time of the year when everyone is thinking about summer, and escapist dreams abound. We’re all rushing to book pedicures and buy rather uncomfortable-looking bikinis. And yes, that includes me.
After a long year of taking no time off and strictly work, work, work, I am finally taking a “wee break.” The plan is to relax for a good 10 days, avoid the sun (I became a vampire at age 25, and pale is my color), and oversleep like a pro. Yet, as an endometriosis patient, traveling comes with its own set of overwhelming challenges.
Following are some of the difficulties we can face and some tips on how to overcome them:
Painful limbs, courtesy of endometriosis, and carrying weight you don’t need
I’m prone to overpacking, lugging around my bags, asking for no help, and walking with intention. This sort of behavior generally results in sore flare-ups and anxiety I never asked for. The key to remedying this is to pack lightly. Instead of throwing in all of my favorite clothes, I preplan my outfits to ensure I wear everything at least once. In the past, I have been guilty of traveling with several pairs of trousers I don’t end up wearing. I’ll also be settling on a maximum number of shoes. I tried my best to stick to two pairs, but who was I kidding? I packed three.
Unless you own an e-reader, books can be quite heavy. The same applies if, like me, you are a magazine fiend. The best thing to do is stick to the smallest, thinnest formats. Also, do you know what weighs zero? Podcasts and audiobooks.
Traveling is a painful exercise at multitasking: getting to the airport on time, and making sure everything important is packed and easy to reach when necessary, for example. It all can quickly lead to stress. Allowing for ample travel time, getting up extra early, and aiming to walk slowly rank highly among the ways to avoid unpleasant flare-ups.
I had one of the most painful episodes of my endometriosis life in New Orleans, surrounded by strangers and — big mistake — with no medication on hand. The moral of this story? Pack any painkillers you take at home.
If you rely on CBD, it’s probably best not to travel with it, since local laws on its legality vary. Just ensure that if the worst happens, you have some tools packed to help you cope.
Insomnia and sleep disruption
A bed that’s not our own, an especially loud city, or simply new surroundings can affect quality of sleep. I rarely sleep well while on holiday, which is why every suitcase I pack now comes with a “comforting section.” This may include a hot water bottle, cozy pajamas, an eye mask, and even valerian in pill or tea form to aid in relaxation after a stimulating day.
On holiday, overexertion is a dangerous game for those with endometriosis. Planning everything before traveling can be the best guarantee for a trip that feels like a treat rather than a challenge.
Personally, I am activating the “endo-warrior on holiday” mode right this minute. Cross your fingers for me, I shall see you on my return from Spanish shores.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.