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Travelling out of country with Terminal LC?


lsaut

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Likely a long shot, but figured I would ask. I'm getting overwhelmed trying to plan some trips for my dear step dad in the near future. He has finished chemo (just before Christmas) and is feeling good. He doesn't plan to do anymore treatment and is having a full scan and tests done at the end of this month. After we see the oncologist again, we want to be able to quickly go on a trip if possible. He would like to go South (Myrtle Beach or an all inclusive or cruise) and I would love to make that happen. Has anyone done this or are the roadblocks too great?

Thank you!

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I know several lung cancer patients/survivors who have taken trips during treatment or while living with lung cancer.  I will forward them to this post to add their own comments. But definitely travel.  Do all the things you/he wants to do now.  Life is simply not long enough for any of us.

From my experience as a caregiver and later as a patient here are some tips:

  • Be sure you have a list of nearby hospitals and emergency care facilities where you are traveling to
  • Pack personal pillows and any kind of medical transport devices (canes, wheelchairs, walkers, etc..) if possible or secure it where you are going 
  • If he is on oxygen, find out what the travel requirements are for that.  You may need to secure more at your vacation destination.  
  • Pack extra medication and over the counter meds for any side effects--some international destinations may not have the kind of OTC meds you are used to.
  • Take lots of pics and have a great time

Good luck.  I look forward to hearing how your trip(s) went!  

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Katie has great suggestions.  I have traveled more in the last 5 years with cancer than i did before.  You need to enjoy life when you can. 

I went to Hawaii during chemo.  Just be sure to ok it with his dr and get a summary of treatment to take with you. 

I still wear a mask every time i fly as a precaution. 

Best wishes! 

Lysa

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Although I am on targeted therapy and not IV Chemo, I am Stage IV Lung Cancer survivor and I traveled to Mexico in June and have traveled to NYC in May and California in November. No problems, however I was very careful about who/what I touched (our immune systems are pretty low) and I made sure to walk around a bit while on the airplane. I also know of a family friend that just traveled to St. Maarten while on Chemo and she was just fine and enjoyed her trip!   I kept my meds in my carryon and kept my oncologist informed of all plans.  Have fun!!! 

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Hi, I have traveled several times after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Make sure his blood counts are good then help him pack. Does he require oxygen? If so you have to arrange to have it available where he lands, you can't take your tanks with you. If no oxygen then you travel like you always have using precautions not to pick up any bugs along the way. Have a wonderful trip!

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Thank you, everyone! It'll likely be me, my 3 yo and possibly my husband. No oxygen, no meds really. What do you do for insurance? I understand no pre-existing conditions (ie the cancer) but I worry about him falling and breaking something  and needing care. Going to talk with him more tonight about options. 

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Isaut,

Traveled during active treatment, why yes, we've done that!  A Hawaii Island cruise, 3 transatlantic cruises with long jaunts in Europe after, an eastern and western Caribbean cruise.  Why cruising?  They have doctors, safe drinking water, safe food preparation and the ship is a destination with entertainment, activities, and other passengers to meet and interact with.  Here is what my oncologist did to insure we had a medically safe journey.

  • composed a letter to be used, if necessary, by shipboard doctors to explain my medical condition in detail.
  • prescribed a "take along just in case" broad spectrum antibiotic (Levaquin - 500mg) to take at the first sign of a chest cold or congestion.

In addition, my doctor gave me sound advice on purchasing broad coverage travel insurance.  Moreover, he strongly suggested I not purchase insurance issued by the cruise line because of the weak medical coverage limits and a lack of medical evacuation coverage.  We buy Travel Insured International policies.  Buying their Worldwide Trip Protector policy waives pre-existing condition coverage if the plan is purchased within 21 days of making your vacation deposit payment.  There are other companies who offer similar coverage but be careful of the fine print.  We've filed a claim for trip interruption and it was paid pronto.  But read every word of the policy language before you purchase any coverage from any company.

Others have offered excellent advice and Katie's suggestion for over-the-counter medication for headache, colds, sore throat, digestion and other minor illness makes a great deal of sense. They have these items on a cruise ship but since you are a captured customer, you'll pay a high price for them.  One more suggestion about cruising.  All ships today have a multitude of automated hand sanitizing stations.  We never fail to pass one without sanitizing.

Go have some fun in the sun!

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hi Isaut,

About travel insurance: Your step dad  can probably get travel insurance.  Tom's advice about reading the fine print is excellent. There are some policies that will cover pre-existing conditions with certain limits.  For example, you might have to buy the policy within a certain number of days of making the first payment on the trip, and also you probably have to be able to travel on the date you buy the insurance. Being a survivor of 3 cancers, and having had to cancel a trip  due to late occurring treatment side effects (and lose some money despite  having  travel insurance), Ive gotten to be a careful reader of fine print.

I suggest the site insuremytrip.com on which you can compare a lot of different policies from different companies. Be sure, as Tom advises, to look at the actual policy and not just the summary.

Happy travels!

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  • 1 month later...
Likely a long shot, but figured I would ask. I'm getting overwhelmed trying to plan some trips for my dear step dad in the near future. He has finished chemo (just before Christmas) and is feeling good. He doesn't plan to do anymore treatment and is having a full scan and tests done at the end of this month. After we see the oncologist again, we want to be able to quickly go on a trip if possible. He would like to go South (Myrtle Beach or an all inclusive or cruise) and I would love to make that happen. Has anyone done this or are the roadblocks too great?

Thank you!


I have taken several cruises since my NSCLC diagnosis on 2011 without any problems. Also numerous long distance car trips. I always make sure to get out every couple hours to exercise my legs.


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