149/365 – Things people with myasthenia gravis need for the Camino de Santiago

Having now done two stages of the Camino de Santiago, I thought it would be useful to compile a list of things anyone with myasthenia gravis who is considering doing the walk, or indeed any hiking, should consider taking. This compliments all the standard things you should take like good quality hiking boots and socks, a comfortable backpack and a pack of cards.

Medication 

Bit of a no brainer really. As with everything you do in life, the first priority has to be medication (unless you are one of those very lucky people in remission). Make sure you take enough with you for the whole journey as it is likely there will be many places you stay where there is not a doctor nearby. 

Walking stick
If your vision is affected, one or two walking sticks will help with your balance as some of the paths on the Camino are quite tricky to navigate. Also, if your muscles are weak, they will give you an added boost. 

Factor 50 sun cream and a hat

If you are on aziathioprine your skin will be thinner and more prone to skin cancer so protecting yourself is essential. As most of the Camino is in Spain, it can get very hot and there are many stretches that are very exposed. 

Good quality sunglasses

The sun is strong in Spain and you will be spending a lot of time in it so invest in good quality sunglasses that will protect your eyes.

Light long sleeve tops and trousers 
For the same reasons as above, long sleeve tops and trousers are useful for keeping your skin covered. As it gets very hot, it’s a good idea to get the walking trousers which can be unzipped as shorts. For the same reason, light weight long sleeve tops are important. There is also the option of UV protecting tops which a doctor friend of mine recommended.

MG card and/or a label for your bag
If you plan to do the Camino on your own, or with people who don’t know about your condition, it is important to carry your MG card in case of emergencies. Also, another idea is have a tag on your bag that alerts people to your MG so that they know right away if something goes wrong.

Quick breakfast snacks

Sometimes you may have to walk for a while before breakfast so it is worth taking something you can eat right away if you take your medication first thing in the morning. 

Ear plugs

I would recommend not sleeping in dorms as sleep is so important for strength and from what I have heard it is a struggle to get much in the large dorm rooms. However, if you feel this is an essential part of your Camino, it is probably worthwhile investing in some earplugs. 

Tennis ball

Like a compact foam roller, tennis balls are brilliant for massaging aching and tired muscles. They can be used when you are on your own against a surface or someone else can use them for you but they definitely help your tight muscles relax and recuperate.

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