When I was having flare-ups more frequently, before my surgery and before I started following Jessica’s naturopathic plan of care, I didn’t really connect the dots of my IBD flaring up during travel.
I remember one trip in particular, and as I reflect some ten years later, I see how my Crohn’s would flare, and my vacation would end up being a disaster. Don’t get me wrong, I “always” put up a good front—for my kids’ sake, mostly. I wanted them to have a good time, and I “had to be strong,” etc.
…memory lane, trip from hell…
Ten years ago, in early summer, we left our home in Vermont and drove to Philly. The next day we drove straight through to North Carolina. I did a lot of the driving, and chewed endless quantities of sugarless gum — you know, the kind you get at the gas station that has aspartane in it, and even though you never chew gum at home, you are desperate to stay alert to alleviate the driving. The kids were all happily reading in the back seat, chatting with my husband, and feeling excited the closer we got….
As we got closer to our destination—Ashville—I began to feel bloated and crampy. I wasn’t drinking water, and was eating fast food… Fast forward: Day 3 of our vacation, and I’m still in our beautiful little cabin, lying in bed with severe cramps, low-grade fever…. Friends would stop in and say hi, but I was mostly alone, hearing the voices of the families going off on canoeing day trips, or such.
…hindsight is easy, reality isn’t…
It’s easy to look back now, and say, “I should have packed my own food for the trip, avoided fast food and chemical-laden gum, gotten tons of sleep, taken the train (!), or flown….”
Let me tell you about my trip to the writers’ retreat in Florida:
I splurged on van carpool ride to the airport, flew down after my usual breakfast I call Paelo Stew (chopped nuts and fruit with fresh almond milk), drank tons of water (using my stainless steel water jug to not use so much plastic or paper), drank black tea with just a smidgen of organic half and half cream—my ONE allowable treat/no coffee, packed organic fresh-ground peanut butter for the trip (under 3 ounces for carry on), some wheat-gluten-free crackers, an apple and a ziplock bag of nut-raisin mix.
When I got there, I got settled and had a late snack: boiled egg, iced tea, carrots and hummus; I went for a walk, did some yoga, met with the writers, etc, and got to bed early. Note: that night, Suzanne, our writing guru 😉 made a beautiful black bean soup. Nope. As much as I craved it with grated cheese, fresh cilantro, and topped with sour cream, I did not eat it. I had packed some really good turkey from my food coop at home, and I just ate that.
When some of the writers asked me why I wasn’t eating the main course, I sipped my unsweetened organic cranberry juice mixed with soda water, and told them I had a serious case of a Crohn’s disease, and they were all so respectful and talked openly about it with me. I talked about being on the Paleo since last June, and that got a lot of response… Many people supported that diet. No sugar is not that hard anymore!
For dessert, I had one square of dark unsweetened chocolate one day. I ate oranges from the farmer’s market, and had grilled mahi-mahi one night. When we went out for dinner in St. Augustine, I had three delicious chicken tacos with no cheese and no rice or beans, but they gave me guacamole instead!
I walked 2-3 miles a day (natch, being on the beach was nice), did yoga, had some downtime by myself one afternoon reading on the beach, and all in all, it was a huge success—I’ll even post a video link that was made by photographer, Jeff Woodward, of our group to show you how beautiful it was there! I didn’t get to have one of the shiatsu massages because I was one of the staff, but I took her card, and plan to go when I save some money.
Don’t be discouraged by travel this summer, be in control!
Tomorrow is a big day…. We all get a wee bit revved up when a trip is on the horizon. For me, I also get a bit anxious and fearful of having a flare up on the road. I’m not alone, and I don’t want my readers to feel alone either!
While travel is great, I have had numerous family vacations when my Crohn’s flared up and left me in bed, throwing up, having to run to the bathroom…. Oh dear.
About ten years ago, I was on a business trip at a printing press in Manitoba, Canada, and I was flaring up, and got a migraine in top of it. It was so embarrassing, too! I had to tell the CSR I couldn’t even do the press check I was paid to be doing! I flew all the way out there.
How to avoid stress when you travel…
I’m packing for my trip to Florida tomorrow, with editor, Suzanne Kingsbury, where we will have a long weekend in writing paradise 😉 with 7 wonderful writing clients. I need to exude confidence and well being. First of all, all the writers on the retreat know I have Crohn’s and was very sick eight years ago… I keep no secrets:
NUMBER 1: eliminate stress that comes from secrets!
2. Rest every afternoon; go to bed early, walk on the beach… People will give you space.
3. Watch what you EAT carefully when you travel. Avoid trigger foods! I am packing a good supply of snacks that I know I can tolerate.
In the photo, you can see what I’m packing: ….
Grape seed oil extract, vitamin D, L-Theanine (a calming extract of green tea; helps with my anxiety about flying); my daily pills: phyto multi vitamin, herbal adrenal assist, turmeric, mag-citrate, and Omega 3 ; at right is Ultra Flora Balance probiotics, and Echinacea and Goldenseal —if I catch a cold and get sick. I also bring Arnica gel and homeopathic Arnica tablets for sub lingual use in case I get injured (last trip I whacked my knee and bruised it and the Arnica worked well!).
I’m SET for the trip!
Drinking lots of water, eating tons of oranges, extra sleeping, walking and doing yoga daily will help alleviate the stress of travel…
I’ll post more about what I’m eating down in beautiful St. Augustine.