Information provided on this site does not constitute medical recommendation or advice. The site exists only to try to help individuals as they search for information; never should anything on this site replace what everyone needs: consultation with and treatment by a doctor or appropriate health care professional. I make no representation with respect to the contents of this site and specifically disclaim any warranties, including but not limited to expressed or implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular usage, application or process.










Blog Posts on this website

Writing About Lupus
By A. G. Moore


Nothing Ventured

Acetylation
Tacrolimus for the Skin? 2/14/2014
The Lupus Gene 2/1/2014
Mineral Oil and Lupus
SLE and Cancer Risk 12/30/2013
Where Does It Hurt? Peripheral
      Neuropathy and SLE     12/21/2013

Flu Jab; Flu Shot; Lupus       12/13/2013
Illness and Choices 12/1/2013
Lupus and Clinical Trials 11/23/2013
Multiple Autoimmunity 11/8/2013
Prednisone Withdrawal 10/28/2013
MAS, More Common in SLE 10/18/2013
To Treat or not to Treat 10/9/2013
Plasmapheresis for Lupus 10/1/2013
HPV and the HPV Vaccine 9/27/2013
Does IVIG Offer Promise? 9/16/2013
Just Another Patient 9/13/2013
Communication Matters 9/7/2013
The Fall Equinox and UV
Treatable, if Identified
Is Belimumab Effective?
Autoimmune Encephalitis
Family Links and SLE
Osteoporosis and Steroids
Rare, But Serious in SLE: Guillain-Barre
5/27/2013 Sticky Blood, Hughes, APS
5/23/2013 The Skin and Lupus
5/14/2013 ANAs in the Lupus Puzzle
5/10/2013 The Older Patient

4/28/2013 Lupus: Signs and Tells
4/20/2013 A Good Night's Sleep
4/8/ 2013 Brain Fog

3/29/2013 Lupus and Travel
3/20/2013 Lupus Patient Compliance
3/11/2013 Lupus and Drug Allergy
Sulfonamides (Sulfa Drugs)

3/1/2013 Lupus Pancreatitis
2/16/2013 Lupus and Sulfasalazine
2/9/2013 Lupus and the Gut
2/1/2012 Lupus and Stress
1/26/2013 Lupus: Assessing
          Disease Activity

Lupus and the LUMINA Study
Living in a Lupus Bubble
1/2/2013 CNS Lupus and Emotions

Lupus Treatment
12/28/2012 NSAIDs
    A Cautionary Tale

12/20/2012 NSAID/Cipro
     Interaction

12/10/2012 IL-6, Lupus and
    Tocilizumab: Cytokine Storm

12/8/2012 Medication Alert
12/5/2012 Rhupus
 
11/28/2012 A Gene For
     Autoimmunity?
11/24/2012 Infection and Lupus
11/14/2012 Zebras, not Horses


Archived Blogs

10/25/2012 Prednisone

        Equivalents

10/25/2012 Prednisone and

        
HPA Suppression
10/24  Lupus and Hair Loss

10/23 Lupus Panniculitis
10/21 Prednisone and
 
     Drug Interaction
10/20 Weight Gain
      and  Prednisone
10/18 Lupus, Fatigue
        and Muscle Weakness
  

Autism and Lupus 8/2012
Azathioprine
   9/2012   
Hospital Rankings U.K.
9/2012
Hospital Rankings U. S.                                                                               
Lupus Book 10/2012
Lupus Breakthrough 9/2012
Lupus Causes 9/2012
Lupus and Emotions 9/2012

Lupus and Epstein-Barr 8/201
Lupus and Gender 9/2012
Links
10/2012
Lupus Nephritis Update 10/2012
Lupus and Pesticides  9/2012  
Lupus and Prednisone 10/2012

Lupus and Vaccines
9/2012
Lupus and Vitamin D 9/2012
Methotrexate 9/2012
Mycophenolate 9/2012
Neutrophil Extracellular Traps
Periodontitis and Lupus 9/2012

Photosensitivity 8/2012
Plaquenil 9/2012
Plaquenil and Quinoric 9/2012
Rituximab 9/2012
Staph and Lupus 9/2012
Lupus Symptoms
What is Lupus?
10/2012
X Rays and Lupus 
9/2012

A. G. Moore
                         
Information provided on
this site is for informational
 purposes  only; nothing on
the site is meant to substitute for a
doctor's advice. My articles do
not suggest a course of treatment
nor do they prescribe  medical
care. They are written to
encourage patients to educate
themselves and to have a
productive dialogue with their
doctors. No  website mentioned
on these  posts is either 
explicitly or implicitly endorsed
.












































































































Lupus and Travel
By A. G. Moore 3/29/2013


The Guardian Angel Cathedral, Las Vegas, NV
My Husband and I Were Married Here

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith
Public Domain

It was about twenty years ago when I first traveled with lupus. I was in medical limbo at the time: the symptoms of lupus were evident but the disease had not yet been diagnosed. My husband and I were vacationing in Las Vegas, his favorite destination. We had been married in that gambling oasis and returned to the city every year, if circumstances permitted.

Las Vegas is Disney World for adults; real-world problems, like money and bad news, are remote and don't seem to matter. As we walked around the city we knew so well, changes were evident. Old standbys, like the Dunes hotel, which had been our honeymoon retreat, were gone. In the place of these old Vegas institutions were more magnificent, resort-oriented complexes.

There were other, less obvious, but nonetheless pervasive changes that intruded into our trip.

We were walking along Las Vegas Boulevard--the Strip--one afternoon. As was our habit, we eschewed the use of taxis and buses. I struggled during our stroll to match my husband's energy and my own pre-lupus standards. It has always been my inclination to keep personal battles private, but there was no hiding the fact on this outing that I was lagging.

Finally, my husband turned to me, and said, with his inimitable economy of expression, "It's like you're half a person."

We'd already been in Las Vegas for a couple of days when this insight hit him. It had taken that long for him to realize that, much like his beloved Las Vegas, I had changed. Our vacation was the first time since I had become ill that we had been thrown together so much. Back home, in our every-day lives, we both had jobs outside the home--his entailed a lot of overtime. While he knew before the trip that I was experiencing health issues, the intrusive nature of those issues had not been obvious. But now they were unavoidable.

As we explored our Vegas haunts and sought to build upon memories from the past, my husband understood that the past was gone. He was confronted with a new reality: a new version of Vegas and a modified version of his wife.

It's spring now and we are planning a trip to Vegas. Our annual pilgrimage was canceled once or twice in prior years because of health issues, but this year we're ready. The World Series of Poker puts on its main event in late spring and early summer; my husband likes to be in Vegas for this tournament.

Lupus is background noise; it's something I deal with as I go about my life. The trick is to keep this nuisance in the background and not let it derail my plans. There are certain actions I take to try to insure this will be the case.

The preparations I make for my trip may not be appropriate for other people with lupus, but I think many of these pre-trip measures may serve the needs of some who are living with lupus.

Some of the things I do to get ready for traveling are:

  • Buy comfortable shoes and plan to wear them, no matter how they might look with my clothes. Break in the shoes before the trip. Even if old shoes look O.K., often the cushioning in the sole is not as good as it once was. I plan to do a lot of walking and I need to have joint support.

  • Get extra medication and pack it in at least two places: my carry-on and my suitcase.

  • Start my medication (low-dose prednisone) before I leave, so a stress-induced flare is less likely.

  • Chill out, as much as possible, to relieve the inevitable stress of preparing for a trip. In my case, this means going to my reliable psychologist/hypnotherapist over the next couple of months for sessions. The therapist will give me post-hypnotic suggestions and help me to practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation and breathing exercises. I use the services of this very skilled and sensitive professional the way some people use medication: he's an effective intervention and, unlike drugs, doesn't have associated side effects. I've posted some links below to websites which describe the very real, therapeutic benefits of hypnosis--whether the goal is to reduce stress or alleviate pain.

  • Locate a doctor in the Las Vegas area who will be available should I get sick while I am on vacation. This is the first year I am doing this. I've been sick in Vegas and this is a kind of scary thing to go through on my own. Having a recommended physician on hand will give me greater confidence.

  • Pay extra $  to sit in airplane seats that have more leg room. Seems like an indulgence, but this really helps with joint and muscle problems. Airlines may assign free bulkhead seats to passengers with medical issues. However, the last time I flew and took the bulkhead seat I was not comfortable. Though I could stretch my legs I could not move the seat back. When neck, joint, and back pain are present, seat flexibility is important. I usually bring a small pillow to support my neck. It's a five hour flight from New York (where I live) to Las Vegas. Added on to that time is surface transportation before and after the flight. With all of this, getting to a destination can be so arduous that by the time I arrive I am already in bad shape. So investing in comfortable seats ends up being more a necessity than a luxury.

  • Stay hydrated. Blood clots are a risk for anyone on a long flight. Most people with lupus and those who are on steroids face an increased risk. Dehydration increases the chance of developing a clot and so does immobility. I try to get up frequently and stretch my legs. The longer the flight, the more important these measures become.

  • Bring some good quality surgical masks (OSHA rating N95) in case someone around me on the plane is sneezing and coughing.

  • Bring non-latex examination gloves and my own soap to protect super-allergic skin. The gloves are not likely to be used but the soap--and my own shampoo/conditioner--are essential travel accessories.

  • Carry a letter from my doctor which indicates to airline screeners that I have a restricted diet and must carry special food on the plane. Then pack that food in my carry-on case.

  • Bring a variety of hats for cover up just in case a restaurant/airline terminal has bright fluorescent overhead lighting. A good, broad-rimmed hat also comes in handy for protection from the Las Vegas sun--although this is a lupus antagonist I have learned to avoid.

  • Make sure the hotel has a small refrigerator reserved. I usually buy a few supplies on my first day in town so that I don't get into trouble by eating foods that I shouldn't. Hotels will usually provide a refrigerator free of charge if there is a medical need.

My pre-trip activities obviously are geared toward my specific needs. There are travelers who may have more of an issue with blood clots or immune suppression than I do. There are people who really do have to stay out of crowds and who have more problems with mobility. Careful planning and a conversation with the doctor are always in order.

In preparing to write this brief essay on travel, I looked up a few websites which address the challenge of traveling with lupus. Some of these sites have practical, useful advice. I've listed three that I found interesting.

Several sites describe travel adventures which amaze me. One, Wherever with you, is authored by "Kate", who has lupus. Her article, Traveling with Lupus, describes a journey into the Australian heartland. Kate understands that some people might think she's crazy to embark on her adventurous vacations, but she explains that she makes accommodations to keep lupus flares at bay. Although I can't imagine ever emulating her activities, I do admire her spunk and courage. http://whereverwithyou.com/2013/01/23/traveling-with-lupus/

Below are links to two of many websites which cite studies on hypno-therapy. The studies described below show demonstrated benefits when hypnotherapy was compared to control groups that had no therapy and to groups that had an alternate non-pharmaceutical intervention, like meditation. Of course, your doctor should always be consulted when you are considering introducing any treatment modality. Also, the doctor is probably the best place to get a referral. Word-of-mouth and advertisements are not reliable sources.

Two sites which discuss hypnotherapy are:

Lupus and Travel

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