Traveling? You should be aware that drug laws vary dramatically not only from country to country but between states. The consequences can be severe. Read more on my article for RheumatoidArthritis.net here: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/beware-of-different-drug-laws/?utm_source=notifications.
It seems forever since I posted. My husband and I just back from an almost-three-week adventure and the couple of weeks prior to that were very busy with work and getting ready for the trip (more about that below).
One of the “joys” of having a chronic illness is making plans around your medication schedule. As we were going to be gone for such an extended time, I had to make sure that both my husband and I had enough of our prescriptions to last us (per the Hobbits) there and back again. Part of the issue was that both of us had just started new medications so it was going to be too early for a refill but we’d run out during the trip. I’d managed far enough ahead on our other medications that I got refills right before we left, so we had a full supply to see us through on those.
With prescription medications (especially specialty medications such as Xeljanz) there are limited options for addressing this. With my husband’s new medication, I could have gone to our local pharmacy and had some extra pills “loaned” to us against his next refill. I’m not sure if all pharmacies do this, but our local pharmacy will make some accommodations in special circumstances like these or if, for example, a physician refill authorization is late in coming. Since the Xeljanz comes from my specialty pharmacy, this was not an option.
As noted in earlier posts, I got both a two-week sample from the manufacturer and my doctor’s office provided a sample bottle as well, which was enough to solve my problem. For my husband, I took a cue from my Xeljanz experience and called doctor’s office. They had originally provided a small sample bottle of the new medication, so I asked if they could provide us a couple more to see us through the vacation, which they did.
I have to say that switching to Xeljanz when I did was very opportune. Otherwise I would have to figure out how to manage my pre-filled Orencia injections through multiple security screenings and keeping them cold over the course of trip. I had already decided to take one injection early before we left on the trip then just be late for the next one scheduled for two weeks later. Fortunately I didn’t have to deal with that situation.
Together, my husband and I take 18 prescription medications on a daily basis (plus a plethora of vitamins and supplements). On top of those (which got placed into the daily pill minder boxes), there was another bag full of the “occasional” medications that I needed to take along, just in case. Those included such things as prednisone, prescription pain relievers and muscle relaxers. In addition to those prescriptions, there was yet another bag full of “travel” medications that our new doctor had prescribed including Cipro, Tamiflu, and something to address stomach viruses. We had most of a bag of just prescriptions.
But about the trip … It was terrific.
From Dallas we flew to Miami Beach where we spent the night. The next day we boarded the Norwegian Epic for an 11-day trans-Atlantic cruise from Miami to Barcelona, Spain with a stop on day eight at Madeira, a Portuguese island where the wine by the same name is made.
The cruise was wonderful with great food and lots of fun things to do (especially in the evening), but I remarked to my husband that it reminded me what living in a luxury retirement home must be like. As we were on the ship day after day after day, things got pretty routine and revolved around meal times. One of the highlights was a guest lecturer who does documentaries for PBS who spoke on the history of the railroads, Grand Central Terminal (which I love), and the Packard automobiles.
After the cruise we stayed a couple of days in Barcelona. We had visited once before a couple of years ago when we were on our last cruise, but this time we figured out the subway system which made getting around to all the sites a whole lot easier. Barcelona is an amazing city and one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever visited. Renown for its Gaudi architecture and Picasso museum, we spent a large part of a day visiting the beautiful Catedral de Barcelona.
From Barcelona we traveled to London. We used to spend Thanksgivings in London, but haven’t been to London since 2012, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity of being on that side of the Atlantic and visiting it again. Last time it seemed like the whole city was under construction for the Summer Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, so it was nice to visit again to see the improvements since last time. I’m pleased that many of the subway stations are becoming “step free” making the city more accessible to those of with mobility issues. We visited some favorite haunts and restaurants, took in a showing of the latest Jeeves and Wooster play which is classic British humor, and stumbled into the premier showing of Godzilla in Leicester Square just as the stars made their appearance on the red carpet. In all, a good time.
The trip was capped off (thanks to airline points) with a first-class return on British Airways which is the closest I’ll ever get to being treated like royalty. As an American it was almost embarrassing to be treated to that much service. But it was my birthday so I enjoyed every minute of the 10-hour flight back to Dallas.
I am pleased to say that I did extremely well over the trip, even with all the tramping around cobblestone streets in Barcelona and London. I was sore and my joints were starting to be a bit swollen after Barcelona so I took a low-dose of prednisone while in London (three days of 10 mg, followed by three days of 5 mg) which seemed to calm things down. I can only conclude that the Xeljanz is working because the issues I had been having on Orencia are no longer there and I barely thought about RA the entire time I was on the trip. I have a follow-up visit to my rheumatologist next week, so we’ll see what she has to say. (My one concern is that I put on 13 pounds after starting the drug, the majority of which was before the trip, so I can’t blame cruise-line food.)
So, back home again. I apologize to those bloggers that I follow who posted some wonderful posts in my absence. There were connectivity issues on the ship and while traveling so while I got to enjoy the posts via emails for the ones I subscribe to, I wasn’t able to post a comment. Now to get caught up on work and laundry and all those other parts of my life that didn’t go “on hold” just because I was gone.
It’s great to be back. I hope whatever adventures you’ve had in your life have been good. Thanks for checking in.
Well, I’m back. Given the great advice not to publicize vacation plans on the Internet, what I didn’t tell you was that I have been on the most fabulous trip. Truly a trip of a lifetime. I’m still reeling from all the sights and experiences (and time-zone differences). I wish there was space on this blog to really share all the incredible experiences we had.
On May 10, my husband and I flew to Barcelona, Spain where we spent a couple of days before boarding the beautiful Norwegian Epic for a seven-day cruise in the Mediterranean. We spent a day at sea (read “spa”), then had port calls at Naples, Rome, Florence/Pisa, Nice/Cannes, and Marseilles before returning to Barcelona. After landing at Barcelona, we flew on to London where we spent another six days, returning home on May 25.
I can’t even start to describe all the wonderful things we did. The entire trip, from start to finish, was simply incredible. We have been planning the trip for over a year and it was truly the trip of a lifetime. (I certainly won’t have the money or the stamina to do anything like it again!) Just imagine visiting the Coliseum, the Vatican, and St. Peter’s Basilica and Square in one day! (And that was just Rome …)
The really good news is even with the stress of traveling, tramping about hours each day, eating weird stuff and sleeping even weirder hours, the RA remained largely at bay (a concern since I recently went off all medications except an anti-inflammatory).
Oh, and the reason for the trip? I had one of “those” birthdays. You know the ones where the first number of your age changes and the second number becomes a zero? I was so busy having a good time, I didn’t even notice. 🙂
It was a wonderful, wonderful trip, but it’s always good to be home. I’ve missed being able to check in with all my blogger friends on a regular basis.
I’m so excited. I got some new luggage.
When you think about it, getting new luggage is a pretty big event. It’s not something you buy an extra of, like a new shirt.
If you’re a young traveler and it’s your first set, it’s almost a rite of passage. Luggage used to be a common graduation gift, meaning that the person was being launched out into the world. If you’re a more experienced traveler like me, it means that you’ve already logged lots of miles on your current set, but there are adventures awaiting.
My standard luggage set is a roll-aboard that fits in the overhead and a tote in which books, water bottles, etc. are placed. The issue is, you’re only allowed two carry-ons and, if you’re a woman, that means you can’t also carry your purse in addition to those two pieces. So my tote has always been big enough to hold my purse (which is quite small) as well as the rest of my stuff.
The fact is, my roll-aboard probably has a few million more air miles left on it, but it’s the tote that’s the issue. It appears that I have a number of business trips to Seattle in my future. When I travel for fun, I carry a small, 3-lb. laptop with me to use to check emails, etc. However, when I travel for business, I have to carry my company, full-size, 9-lb. monster of a laptop. It won’t fit in my tote. My purse won’t fit in my briefcase which holds my computer.
I needed a tote that holds both my gigantic laptop as well as my purse, Kindle, water bottle, travel docs, etc. And since one of my [no doubt charming] personality quirks is that I like my luggage to match, I decided that it was time to also retire my roll-aboard. There were some things about my existing one that I didn’t like and it seemed like a perfect time to resolve those issues once and for all.
So after dinner (and a couple of glasses of wine) hubby and I went luggage shopping. Found a beautiful set, which was not THAT expensive, but I made the store manager promise I could return both pieces the next day if I couldn’t get both my laptop and my purse in the tote.
Everything works beautifully. I love all the engineering, features, pockets, organization, color of the luggage, and both my laptop and my purse fit with room left over for the other stuff.
I just have a question for those of you who check into this blog.
Anyone have any experience in getting Enbrel (or Humira or Simponi) through airport security? I’ve always used a Wednesday injection schedule because I seldom travel on Wednesdays. You guessed it — my first trip I’m traveling on a Wednesday. My options are to take the shot early on Tuesday before I leave, late on Thursday after I get back, or to carry the autoinject pen with me through security.
Please let me know because I have a feeling that this isn’t the only time this will come up. I have new luggage and lots of places to take it.
Thanks for checking in.