Long-term international travel with MS

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Long-term international travel with MS

Postby surfbird » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:19 am

Hey everybody,

MS has made me realize life can change on a dime and we have to make the most of our healthy bodies while we have them. So...my hubby and I have decided we're going to drop everything and travel around Europe for about 4-5 months, leaving in November. Whoo hoo!!

I'm interested to hear about any stories, tips or advice you may have about doing something like this with MS. Did you get traveler's insurance?

I am thankfully symptom-free, so I don't need to use walking aids, cooling vests, or anything like that. I've secured enough Betaseron to take with me.

One thing I'm wondering about is my regular blood tests. I'm supposed to get my blood tested every 3 months to be sure the Betaseron isn't messing with my liver. Do I just walk into a hospital and ask for a bloodtest? Would they do that for a tourist? How much does something like that cost? I'll likely be in Italy the time I have to do the test.

Thanks in advance for any info you can share :)
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Postby jimmylegs » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:04 pm

awesome! i would definitely DEFINITELY get the travel insurance. not sure about the testing though.

when i was in oz and wanted a vit d3 test i just went to the student clinic. they didn't really understand what i was talking about so i had to write the requisition for the doc and she signed it. and that was dealing in english.

so i guess maybe see if you can do some research to find out about walk in clinics or similar? and make sure you are prepared to deal in the local language a bit? i am by no means a pro on italy but when i was there i didn't run across many english speakers. your usual liver panel has what, AST ALT ALP, anything else?

hahaha i just put ALT in google translate

english: alanine aminotransferase
italian: alanina aminotransferasi

ALP...
english: alkaline phosphatase
italian: fosfatasi alcalina

AST...
english: aspartate aminotransferase
italian: aspartato aminotransferasi

i love how you can listen, too :)

<shortened url>
my approach: no meds so far - just nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory whole foods, and supplements where needed
info: www.whfoods.com, www.nutritiondata.com
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Postby hannakat » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:03 pm

Sounds absolutely WONDERFUL! What an opportunity. For 2 or even 3 more months do you really have to worry about it? If your tests have been good so far, I say relax and enjoy the trip.
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Postby tzootsi » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:23 pm

The trip sounds great! We've been to Europe several times, it's unforgettable. In case you need some travel advice, here are two very good web sites:

http://www.fodors.com/community/
http://www.slowtrav.com/

enjoy!
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Postby Dahlia » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:38 am

yes, definately go !
I was in Italy recently for 2 months. I am not on meds and had no problem getting travel insurance. I managed to lift my heavy baggage onto trains and walk just about all day long. Go for it ! Have a great trip
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Postby surfbird » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:53 am

Thanks everyone! I do feel very fortunate that we're taking this trip. It's risky in that who knows how long it'll take us to find jobs again when we come home, but you know what? Life is short! Work schmerk.

Jimmylegs, that was so funny listening to the translations. Good for me to have those in my arsenal!

I am considering skipping my blood tests but my husband and dad are both against me doing anything against the doctors orders. They take good care of me :) I'll figure something out, and if it doesn't work, I'm sure I'll be fine! Just thought it would be a good idea to get some feedback here.

I looked into travel insurance briefly but not at the fine print - so there's no problem getting that with a pre-existing condition? Dahlia, where did you stay while you traveled (hostels, hotels, etc)? We are looking high and low to for ways to stretch our dollars.
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Postby jimmylegs » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:59 am

i had to get extra insurance for people with a pre-existing condition.

like this:

Unlimited emergency medical benefits provided any medical condition/related condition has been stable for 90 days prior to your departure date.

For insurance purposes, stable is defined as any medical condition or related condition (including any heart or lung condition) for which there have been:
-no new treatment, new medical management, or new prescribed medication; and
-no change in treatment, change in medical management, or change in medication; and
-no new symptom or finding, more frequent symptom or finding, or more severe symptom or finding experienced; and
-no new test results or test results showing a deterioration; and
-no investigations or future investigations initiated, or recommended for your symptoms; and
-no hospitalization or referral to a specialist (made or recommended).

i think i paid around $600 CDN.
my approach: no meds so far - just nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory whole foods, and supplements where needed
info: www.whfoods.com, www.nutritiondata.com
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Postby Dahlia » Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:14 pm

I had to pay extra for insurance as well - but the total was only about $330 AUD, and Australia also has a reciprocal Medicare agreement with a few countries including Italy. The process of obtaining medical insurance was made a little more complicated for me because I'd been in hospital - ironically not MS related, but in the end all was ok because I waited out the period required to get the insurance. So yes there are details in the insurance agreement you need to check, and I do think you need to have insurance when you travel......
I stayed in hotels. I was there during high season. Accommodation can be very expensive in Italy. And some hotels I stayed at were not that great......and nowhere near the standard in Oz. Not sure when you're planning on going - but, going in the cooler months might make accommodation a little cheaper. August is holiday time in Italy and this means that cities like Rome are often abandoned by the locals - consequently some museums and restaurants close. The local folk go on holidays to the mountains and seaside - so that means it can be harder to get accommodation in these places during this time.
I had a quick look for cheaper accommodation and ‘convent’ accommodation could be an option try, http://www.monasterystays.com Italy is a fantastic place !
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Postby ActiveMSers » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:53 pm

Surfbird, you may find the travel tips I've posted on ActiveMSers helpful. I've been to dozens of countries and you'll find particular advice about CRABs and insurance (along with a bunch of other tricks). Have an incredible time! Holler if you need any specific destination advice.

http://www.activemsers.org/tipstricks/t ... ithms.html

Dave Bexfield, ActiveMSers
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