Friday, July 12, 2013


Tis the season where it seems everyone is going someplace on a vacation. School is out for the Summer and so families of course take vacations during this time. Plus it's the season of warm weather and people are drawn to beaches, mountains and the like. Friends and family and Facebook friends are all taking vacations and posting pictures of their wonderful adventures.

I just can't travel anymore; at least for now. For me, the obstacles are too many and it's more than I can handle logistically, physically, mentally and every way imaginable. My gal pal asked me why that was the other day when we were talking. So explained what my personal IC obstacles are:
  • Having to self-catheterize 5 times a day means shipping all those supplies to whatever location I would be going to. That's a BIG box of stuff! Then there's the issue of just dealing with that while not in my own home. 
  • Driving as we all know is a challenge, especially if you are going to be in the car for days at a time to reach your destination. Sitting in a car, finding bathrooms on the road are all issues we all deal with. I know there are ways to problem solve this (bathroom locator apps; portable travel potties, etc) but the idea of a road trip just is not something I feel prepared to take on right now.
  • Flying presents its own challenges as I have 2 InterStim so I always need to have a pat down going through security; not that big a deal. But what puts me off most is getting on an airplane and then sitting on the tarmac for long periods of time because once you push back from the gate, they will not allow you to get up to use the lavatories. All my friends and family that have flown recently have had this happen, sitting on the plane, stuck on the tarmac lined up to take off for 45 minutes, 1 hour and 2 hours. That's a problem for me. I could ask my doctor to put in a Foley catheter, but that's another whole can of worms regarding going through security, emptying the bag while traveling, being able to take it out once I arrive and put another one in for the return trip home. It's just too much.
  • Upon arrival at said destination, sightseeing, laying on a beach all are challenges. It's very difficult to self-catheterize when I'm not at home and there aren't always bathrooms where you might want to go. Again, it's an issue. If I can't self-cath while I'm out and about, then I spend the whole time looking for bathrooms. No fun.
  • Just the physical toll traveling takes on most IC patients, and me in particular, is very high. Heck, on days I go to the doctor and I'm out for half a day, I come home exhausted and collapse. The stress and physical toll traveling would put on my body, is again a major challenge for me.
These are just some of the challenges I would have to deal with if I wanted to travel. I think there are many IC patients that have many, if not more, of these issues. Heck, going the movies isn't even manageable for me, so taking a trip is just too overwhelming. 

Yet, many IC patients have posted on Facebook about some wonderful vacation trips they are on or planning! Some have said it has been very difficult and are dealing with added pain and flares but are still glad they went. I AM IMPRESSED! When I see IC patients planning trips, working to problem solve how to go about taking their vacations, I am in awe of these people! They are to be commended and it gives me inspiration that if an opportunity comes up in the future, maybe I could find a way to problem solve my way to a vacation. Right now, for me, is not the time, but I have hope that maybe I too could take a vacation in the future. I will hold this in the back of my mind for the future. Remember how inspired I am by the IC patients that have not let their IC stop them! 

There is even a greater message to take away from those IC patients that just go for it and take a much needed vacation. If you can problem solve your way through all the challenges that traveling puts in your path, then think of all the other challenges we face that we can use these same "tools" to overcome. If you could do it for your vacation, you can do it for other things in your life that are important to you.

I am Impressed and Inspired by all of you that are not letting your IC stop you from enjoying a nice vacation! Happy Summer to everyone, no matter what you do with it!

"Before IC"
Vacation to Barbados 

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