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  • Writer's pictureMadi Noss

Passport to Paradise: Travelling with a Chronic Illness

Travelling with my family, we always went at a slower pace; like me, my mother has debilitating illnesses. My brother and father were very understanding about needing breaks and going slow. 

I am now 23 and am going on vacation with my partner, their sister and their girlfriend– three able-bodied people and no other disabled people.

For some context, here are a few things to note before this vacation:

  • I am on a medication which cannot cross borders; thus meaning I will not be on this medication for a week and will be taking an alternative.

  • This is not my first vacation with only able-bodied people; this is my first vacation with only able-bodied people since I have been on a medication regimen that has worked.

  • My partner’s sister and their girlfriend are very understanding; this isn’t about understanding- it’s about how to pace yourself enough to keep up.

The first day was a travel day. My partner and I were at the airport by 4:00 am for our 8:25 am flight; I had taken my meds at 3:00 am when we woke up, so I was medicated before we left. We zipped through security because we were there so early- a good tip to avoid standing in lines for hours. Once we got through security and arrived at our terminal, we found some food and began our wait for their sister to come from their connecting flight. 

This was the easy part for me. I could get up whenever I needed to stretch, and I could move around because there was enough room to. Once we got on the airplane, it became harder. I was seated at the window with two people towards the aisle. While in the air, my joints were all swollen. When it was time to get up, I was still swollen and was now stiff. 

We made our way through the Punta Cana airport and found our luggage- my partner took mine and I rolled theirs. We got our car service, and it was a 30-minute drive to the resort. 

We were greeted at the resort, given a welcome drink, and a tour. I decided this was a good moment to pace myself, so I slowly walked behind. We were then shown our rooms, and we took a moment to rest. 

After taking a rest, we changed into bathing suits and headed to the beach. 

We went into the water for a bit and then laid down in a cabana– another moment taken to rest. 

We went to the pool, had dinner, and then we were back in the room by 8:30 pm. I was asleep by 9:00 pm. 

The second day was easier. We went for breakfast, then to the pool to lounge for a few hours. We got lunch and then went back to the room to rest. Taking these resting moments is a great way to keep yourself from flaring. The days were the same every day. We went to the pool or beach, ate, and rested. 

The one thing I’ve learned from being chronically ill is to rest when there are free moments. Taking these breaks, whenever possible, has become my daily ritual. This is especially true when on a vacation without my regular pain meds– sometimes, even taking a day off is a good idea. 

In short, I’ve always felt the need to keep up, take breaks, make time for rest, and prioritize alone time to pace myself. 

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