Patient Perspective: tackling the warmer months

Patient blogger Vickie has joined us again to tell us all about how she tackles the warmer weather and all those important things to remember whilst on holiday abroad.

Hi all, it’s me again! We’re almost in August now, the height of Summer! Where has the time gone? 

With the warmer months, we have lovely blue skies, sun and longer nights. Summer is a lovely time with lots to do; going to the pub with your family or friends, a nice evening walk, watching the sunset, going to a park as well as spending quality time outdoors are just some of my favourite summer activities.

However, we must remember to look after ourselves. We should always use sun protection. I tend to use factor 30+ as I burn easier and I go red, but I don’t use a specific brand. There are so many to choose from, you can even order it online now. 

Another thing that helps me get through the warm weather is water; hydration is key in weather like this. I was never a lover of water years ago but now that’s all I drink now (apart from the odd cup of tea of course!). It also helps with my headaches and makes me feel refreshed.

We have a blood disorder, so we have to take care of ourselves.

The same applies if you are in this country or if you go abroad. The last time I went abroad was about four years ago. My husband, children and I went to Greece, and we fell in love with the country. It was incredibly hot, so as soon as we arrived we dumped our suitcases in the hotel room and went to the local shop to buy bottled water… lots of it!

When abroad, I always check to see where the nearest hospital and pharmacy is. The reason I do it? You never know when you might need them! It’s always good to be prepared. 

I can’t remember the travel insurance I used at the time, but I do remember it being rather expensive. It was relatively cheap for my husband and children, but as soon as I mentioned blood cancer the prices went through the roof! It’s so unfair. But, that was four years ago, and I’m hoping travel insurance is more reasonably priced and there are more insurance sites to choose from. 

If I needed help regarding travel insurance, I would ask for advice from Leukaemia Care as they will be able to guide you. Plus, there are so many different groups on social media now, you can always ask for advice from anyone who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and has been abroad. But, I wouldn’t go abroad without insurance as you wouldn’t be covered and then if you did need any medical help, that would become expensive.

When travelling abroad you cannot forget your medication, the one thing that you cannot live without. I remember going to Greece and putting all my medication in a clear bag to be scanned. However, I did have a letter from my GP and haematologist to prove these tablets belonged to me and that I need to take them. Imagine if you didn’t have any proof from your GP, I don’t know if you would be allowed to take them through customs. Please don’t forget your medication and proof from your GP they are for you.

 Going abroad sounds hectic as there is a lot for us to take with us and to remember. But once all that has been done, and you arrive at your hotel, the holiday is about to start. Relax, give yourself a break and chill out. We have a lot to deal with, going to hospital appointments, blood tests, side effects from our medication and lots more. The holiday is about unwinding and not worrying. 

When I am at home on those hot summer days, I find it hard to deal with the heat. I have fans in every room to keep me cool, especially on those warm, muggy nights, but it’s always a great excuse for an ice lolly or two! 

I also use a wet flannel on my head or the back of my neck as that cools me down as well. You can also buy these water spray mists in a tin that basically spray cold water mist at you. They are great for cooling you down, too. I have one next to my bedside in case it’s too hot for me. I spray it on my face and the back of my neck and it cools me down and helps me feel refreshed. 

We can enjoy the lovely weather as long as we prepare ourselves and be careful.

If at any time you need any advice, Leukaemia Care is always there to help you. They have been there for me and I would always use them.

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