Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I did not fall off the planet.

I know I disappeared with no notice. I'm sorry. I usually blog daily but we went on vacation and there was minimal internet. We were in Iceland which was wonderful. But I didn't bring my laptop or phone because my laptop is heavy and my phone would have been very expensive. I did bring my new color nook (which is an awesome new toy) but I had problems updating and I forgot the power cord. (If you want an awesome new toy go get a color nook from B&N for $250 and you can get online - to an extent - and read books.

But I digress. We had a great time. I had a significant birthday which means it ends in a 0. I definitely recommend Iceland for a relaxing vacation.

However my health and travel are not a good combination. My carry on luggage consists of a pharmacy of prescription pills and pain patches. It doesn't leave room for much else. Then there is my back which does not like standing in line or sitting in cramped plane or bus or taxi (with no suspension) seats. When you travel there is lots of these activities which means my back hurt.

Also there is my lovely lymphedema arm which is usually just annoying. Air travel is very bad for lymphedema. I met a woman recently who had no lymphedema problems for years and then she went on vacation and her arm blew up. 19 years later she still has to wear a sleeve daily and tape her arm every night. My arm is usually under control but I was careful to wear my sleeve on the plane there. I also made a point not to carry much with that arm (but my other arm still has remnants of tennis elbow so I really couldn't carry much at all). I even got a shoulder pack as a purse so my husband could carry my purse and not feel like a dork.

The first day we were there we went on a half day city tour which was a great idea. Until I got off the bus and was looking at my camera and didn't see the curb and fell flat on my face (in front of people that I'll never see again so I am only minorly mortified). I did scrape my palm a tiny bit but it caused my shoulder that I injured this summer to become extremely painful again. I used lots of ice on this trip.

On our third day of three trip I completely overdid things. We went into Reykjavik and went shopping and looking at the sites. We decided to walk back to our hotel because it was nice out and we could see more. But I was exhausted and had to lie down for a few hours with ice to recover.

For the rest of the trip, I was very careful about carrying things and wore my sleeve and gauntlet (to compress my hand) on the flight home. One of the big activities in Iceland is hot tubs and thermal pools. However lymphedema should not be exposed to a lot of hot water. I wore a sleeve while in the water, avoided the really hot ones, and kept my arm out of the hot water as much as I could. Today I am home with minor back and shoulder pain. I am going to go to the gym to help remove all the fatty foods that we ate from my body.

If I had been healthier we might have tried glacier walking and hiking but that was not to be. So travel and post cancer bodies can be compatible but with limitations. I have always wanted to go to Iceland and I am glad to say that I did. I did nt let my health prevent me from going. But now I am back and life will resume.

No doctor appointments this week but two next week and one back treatment and another doctor the week after. Just something to look forward to.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, congratulations! Those zero birthdays are a big deal! I thought the half century one was just terrific. And Iceland sounds very beautiful and fun. All the best! Here's to many more happy birthdays. Robin

Megan Stengel said...

Congrats on the zero bday! Glad you had a great vacation!

Betty said...

Caroline,

My friend with back problems says the "first class sleeper" saves her. She has three of them, Here is a link: http://www.amazon.com/Travelon-1st-Class-Sleeper/dp/B000U80WJQ.

Hope it works for you.