traveling with Lung Cancer

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traveling with Lung Cancer

by melissa_w_2 on Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:00 AM

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Hi

I am 31 yrs old and diagnosed in Feb 09 with Stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to my spine, ribs, long bones and scapula. I have had one treatment of chemo so far and 8 rounds of radiation to help with pain. I should have more chemo scheduled by now, but have had several distractions (blood clots, spine surgery, pancreatitus). One of my goals is to travel to New Zealand this year. my friends and family are concerned about travelling so far away from our doctors in my condition, especially since it won't be until September. I just feel that i should be taking advantage of each day when I am feeling good. I don't know anything about the healthcare system in New Zealand...but I am sure they have fine hospitals if I needed to seek medical attention. Please let me know your thoughts

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by Chessie on Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:00 AM

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I understand where you are coming from being only 31.  But to take such a risk in a foreign country to me would be out of the question. 

Not just the travel part, but the differences after you get there.  Like the water, food, etc.  Not to mention what happens if you have something else go wrong.  Their treatments could be completely different and you could end up in a facility your insurance won't cover.  That would leave you totally responsible for the costs, whatever they were.

As a stage 4 patient myself, I can tell you I wouldn't do it.  Too much at risk.  I'd rather stay home and enjoy my life than to risk making it shorter in some foreign place.  If you are strong enough to travel, why not in the states, assuming that's where you are. 

Whatever you decide, good luck to you and God Bless you. 

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by ForOurMom on Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:00 AM

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Hi,
Good luck to you on your treatments.

I think its great to have the travel plan in mind, but at the same time must do your homework and talk to your doctor. My mom't doctor encourages to travel depending on the state she is in. My mom is much older than you but the diagnosis was the same as yours and during the last 20 months or so she has had spans of time where she was able to travel but chose not to.

Talk to your doctor and see what you will need for the travel. Chemotherapy and radiation can leave you extremely fatigued, and the fatigue itself can leave you depressed; but if you are up for it and your doctor is ok with it and can help you pre-find facilities in NZ that can offer you services (and if you are ok with additional $$ if your insurance doesnt cover it), I say good luck and bon voyage!! enjoy things as much as you can, it is the best medicine.

bests,

FOM

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by Linda4242 on Sat May 02, 2009 12:00 AM

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Hi~

   I also have Stage IV lung cancer and am feeling well on Tarceva, but I would not fly, and agree with the person who first responded to your note.  Also my son and grandson live on Kauai, and I am in California, if I feel well enough to travel I will somehow take a boat!  Remember, that even if YOU are well, people catch various repiratory diseases on aircraft ALL the time!  The air is recirculated and the cabins are only pressurized to about 8,000 ft altitude.  Please reconsider the trip.  If your lungs are already compromised, as mine are, and your feeling well, it might not be wise to risk what you still have. 

  If you do decide to go, there are probably precautions you can take.  Take care!

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by melissa_w_2 on Sat May 02, 2009 12:00 AM

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Hi Thanks for your response; it turns out that my boyfriend is a commercial pilot and he said that the air on the airplane does have a constant supply of fresh air and is pressurized. This is just a myth that it is recycled. You are correct that the cabin altitude is 8000 ft. The likeliness of catching a respiratory infection because of recycled air is an urban legend.

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by Linda4242 on Sun May 03, 2009 12:00 AM

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Thanks, Melissa, you made me go back and research to find out about the quality of cabin air in jets, and what I discovered, is that the air is filtered so that the TB germs are killed, and that the filters are generally high quality, so that "if you are sitting far from an infected person" you [a  healthy person] probably will not catch anything.  Unfortunately, many of us on this site are not healthy, particularly regarding our lungs, so extra care (like not flying, or taking your own air supply along) is best. The best sources I can find do not convince me that the filtered air is safe for lung cancer patients.  But, I do know more than I did before, so thank you!

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by alberta on Mon May 11, 2009 12:00 AM

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On 4/23/2009 melissa w wrote:

Hi

I am 31 yrs old and diagnosed in Feb 09 with Stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to my spine, ribs, long bones and scapula. I have had one treatment of chemo so far and 8 rounds of radiation to help with pain. I should have more chemo scheduled by now, but have had several distractions (blood clots, spine surgery, pancreatitus). One of my goals is to travel to New Zealand this year. my friends and family are concerned about travelling so far away from our doctors in my condition, especially since it won't be until September. I just feel that i should be taking advantage of each day when I am feeling good. I don't know anything about the healthcare system in New Zealand...but I am sure they have fine hospitals if I needed to seek medical attention. Please let me know your thoughts

Hi Melissa.

I am much older than you and have stage 4 lung cancer. I was on oxygen continuously (8L) and still managed to travel. that was a hassel, requiring much support from my doctors (letters & forms etc for the airlines) but it was doable. I went to Europe for 2 months, and took 2 cruises. If you have someone with you to help you manage, anything is possible. You have a choice to either "live" with cancer, or let it control your demise. I chose to live with it. I have been on first line Tarceva for almost 2 years now, and there is no sign of the cancer either on my XRay or my blood work at his time. Also I no longer require oxygen! The Tarceva causes rashes and sores, and does weird things to your hair, skin and nails, but it sure beats the alternative. Good luck to you if you choose to travel. Live your life and find all the positive things you can to fill each day. Sometimes there are miracles. Have a safe and happy journey.

Bob in Canada

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by bushgirl on Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:06 AM

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Melissa.....go,go,go!

Your life is about Living with Cancer, not waiting at a bus stop for the Non-Cancer route!

New Zealand has an excellent health care system...a Canadian colleague and friend has been an Oncology nurse practitioner there for decades....she would not stay there unless the work she does is up-to-date and challenging.

Remember: you'll only regret what dream you didn't pursue, no matter the outcome..go for it, girl!

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by sister5 on Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:49 AM

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Go for it. I have 111B lung cancer and will be leaving for Europe on November 13th. This could be my last trip of my life and I don't plan to miss it. Quality is what I am looking for.

RE: traveling with Lung Cancer

by veejet2 on Fri Nov 12, 2010 01:30 AM

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Hi i was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and given 3months to live that was 14months ago,i was also told no travel but this year my partner and i hav been to vietnam,malasia,thailand,norfolk island ann perth,we have just returned from la and a 14 day cruise ti hawaii and mexico,are you  taking apricot kernels i am and have reduced my tumour from 17cms to 2cms google it is a life saver, and if you feel well enough do it, we did nz last year.  by the way i am also back at work and play golf twice a week,cheers

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