My wellness bachelorette: 7 tips for traveling during an autoimmune disease flare up

Posted: April 2, 2019 by faithashwellness

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I was feeling on top of the world after I booked my bachelorette with 6 of my best friends to visit my favorite place in the world, Mexico. A month later, I had a thyroid relapse, leaving me in a unique situation for the upcoming trip. I bounced between excitement and anxiety - I’m SO excited to spend time with the people I love most in the place I love most, but I’m also feeling so drained, foggy, and sick and feel anxious about boarding a plane and performing when an episode hits me. Needless to say, my perfectionist planning side came out in full effect, scheduling exactly 2 doctor’s appointments for the upcoming trip and researching ALL the things for staying healthy while traveling.

This “planning” phase turned into a full proof plan for celebrating my upcoming nuptials without destroying myself in the process. Now that I’m home, I would say I successfully “did” my bachlorette on a thyroid relapse- getting the most out of my time with the people I love and being careful to take care of myself in the process.


Here are the steps I followed for traveling while sick or on a relapse:


What does this look like? Oh my gosh- so much sleep and so much water. I slept 10 hours a night in the run up to this trip. I drank myself silly with water. I was PERFECT on my vitamin regimine. I took ginger shots to boost my immune system. I went to the doctor and got prescriptions for basically any sickness that could happen, just so I had the meds just in case. I have been off prescription pills, besides my thyroid meds, but there was no shame in me taking a few with me for an extenuating circumstance. I got anti-nausea (which i did use as 3 of us were sick from a dinner one night), anti-constipation, anti-bloating, sleep medication, and beta blockers.


Honestly, I never thought I’d see the day where I would spend my bachelorette sober, but I totally did and I still had a fantastic time. I’ve been sober lately because I have to be in order to heal, so I kind of relish in the feeling of being sober. On the first day in Mexico, I tried a glass of wine and a marg and it sent me over the edge- a full on light headed, nausea ridden, heart pumping out of chest episode. One beta blocker and anti-nausea pill later, I felt like a new, and decidedly sober person for the rest of the trip. This is how I was able to have a great time and participate in all the day time activities with my lovely friends. Sorry, but if you want to enjoy all the activities on a low energy level and a weakened immune system, it’s all about saving your drinking for a glass of something at dinner and an early bedtime. It works!


Luckily, I have the most considerate and understanding friends. They planned this trip with my “situation” in mind. It was sort of “don’t leave the resort or do too much” vibes lol. It was perfect. The important thing is communicating to the people that you are traveling with how you are feeling and setting the correct expectations. Even during the trip, my dinner glass of wine and new food would send me over the edge at about 8pm and I would have to absolutely crash after dinner. But expectations were set, evening plans weren’t made, and we all went with the flow. This is a unique situation because my friends did what I wanted to do as it was my party, and they are AWESOME, but if it’s not your bach, set the expectation that you will firmly be leaving early and will not be attending late night activities. Sleep is LIFE. Do it on vacation. When you’re sick, you cannot, and never will be able to push forward without it.


So I doubled up on my methyl B12, multivitamin, and and probiotics. Usually that’s a great tip for hangover prevention, which I didn’t really use it for. If you are drinking, try that for the hangover prevention. But even if you’re not, traveling with a weakened immune system can be tough, so double up for the win (but speak to your doctor about what is safe to double up on!)


Mexico was magical because we had an all inclusive tab and I had coconut water on tap, and I drank tons of it. Especially if you’re in the sun, it’s important to stay hydrated. Also it’s easy to get out of routine on vacation. Whereas my day usually starts with chugging water before I do anything, without my routine, it started with all the delicious mexican food! So I had to set reminders during the day to take inventory of what I’ve drank and to chug a water bottle or coconut before doing anything else.


Well this all goes back to my friends being super lovely and accommodating. Before the trip, I thought a lot about what activities would work for me. I had the idea of doing sunrise yoga. Scheduling this in was great because it got everyone to bed early and up early- a routine I'm used to. It was also an activity that got my blood flowing, also something that helps me feel good. Not to mention we were able to meditate by the ocean, which was awesome! I think it's important to not just let your trip "happen to you", but to take more control of it. If you're planning a trip with people, do research on the activities there and suggest activities that would help you feel like you're sticking to your routine or just help boost your percent a little.


It all kind of hit me on the last day. You know how your body holds out when stuff needs to be done and then once you're done, the sickness hits? On the last day of my trip, I had all the relapse feelings. Horrible nausea, light headed, complete depletion of energy, brain fog, etc. Luckily, I came prepared. Things I do to ensure my airport experience is bearable: bring an ipad stocked full of shows that will make me laugh, tell the flight attendant that I'm sick so I can board early in sit in the front by the bathroom, eat plain food and drink lots of water (this looked like bread and water for me, and not very much bread just in case), apply peppermint oil for relaxation and stomach pains, and plan the reward for when you arrive home. For me, I get excited about the moment I walk into my fiance's car and we drive to my favorite restaurant to pick up dinner. Envisioning a successful end result helps a lot.

I haven't had a chance to just "live a little" in the past 3 months, and this trip did wonders for my spirit. Just getting out of routine and enjoying delicious food that I don't usually eat was amazing. In all situations, I think communication is key. It has become my greatest tool. With invisible illness, it is so hard for people to understand what you're going through, and people can't truly relate unless they have been there. But communicating your feelings and struggles to the people around you is the best way to surround yourself with understanding friends, family, and even strangers who help make something like a bachelorette party possible, even on a relapse.

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