When I first had the diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis four years ago this month, one of my first thoughts was I’m not going to be able to do any extended travelling.
Before I left home for university, one of my bedroom walls was covered with magazine cuttings of places I wanted to visit. The more exotic the place, the more likely it was to feature in my shrine. And while I’ve managed to visit many wonderful places over the years, there was one kind of trip I pined for then and haven’t managed to do yet. The gap year – a year away from the stresses of everyday life to re-evaluate what I want from life.
After the MG diagnosis in 2013 and starting medication to treat it, I realised that taking off to the explore for a year was very unlikely. This was mainly because the longest prescription I could get at the time was a month. Even a 10 day holiday proved problematic and needed careful planning. My travel dreams were in tatters, but my focus shifted to getting well.
As I reduced my meds and my condition stabilised, I was told I would be able to increase my prescription length to 3 months for all but aziathioprine – the drug that suppressed my immune system. While 3 months wasn’t a year, it was a lengthy chunk of time that gave a lifeline to my travel dreams. If only I could get off the aziathioprine.
And that’s what I did – slowly, slowly, with several set backs and with the support of a very encouraging consultant. Once that finally happened at the end of 2016, Elaine and I were already planning our wedding. Honeymoon destinations had come up with the discussion of some travelling at last but it was going to cost enough to get married.
Then one day we just decided, let’s do it. Elaine had wanted to travel too, and with her own health issues calming down in harmony with my own, the timing seemed perfect. As did the shorter period of travel – 3 months – so that I could come home to get another prescription and we could celebrate Christmas at home (not to mention my mum’s 70th birthday).
So here we are – 3 days into an (almost) 3 month trip to Nepal and south east Asia. We’ve already seen so much and I’m so very glad I didn’t hold off for the indefinite one year break. I have enough meds to last the time and a few extra just in case. I also brought a bottle of pyridostigmine with me in case my symptoms flare in the exotic climate. I can only hope nothing happens to them during the trip.