So this past week, I reached a little milestone in adjusting to my life post RA diagnosis. It probably doesn't seem like such a hurdle to anyone else, but for me, this particular feat feels like a big deal since it enables me to keep doing something that means the world to me (literally) and still take care of myself: travel.
One great thing about my job is that I get to travel around the world quite a bit. Before all the shenanigans with my immune system, this was no big thing, but, as with everything else in my life with RA, traveling far and wide is not so easy breezy anymore. In addition to the stresses of traveling and jet lag on my joints, I am on some fancy meds that involve shooting myself up twice a week with a drug derived from Chinese hamster DNA (I'm not joking), and these little suckers have to be kept cold. At all times. Even if you are going to be flying for hours and hours and hours in a xanax-induced haze (despite my travel addiction, I am an anxious flier. I know it doesn't make sense, but it's just the way it is.)
For a girl who trots the globe, this is definitely inconvenient, but way less inconvenient than being stricken with chronic pain all over my body, so there you go. I've been shooting up since January and have traveled a few times since then, but always managed to be gone and back in time to take my shot at home.
This trip, there was clearly no getting around it unless I doubled up on my shots, which didn't feel doctor approved. Besides, I knew it was time to get over my anxiety about keeping the damn things cozy and cold for what would be close to an 18 hour journey and figure it out.
So I sucked it up, combed the drug's website and chat rooms for tips on traveling long distance with my temperature sensitive shots, and all I can say is that it was pretty much the easiest damn thing in the world, and I have no idea why I made such a fuss about it.
I froze the little gel pack that came in the travel kit the drug company provided, put the shots in their original package with the prescription in a ziplock, and packed an extra ziplock bag for later. I got all my medical paper stuff ready for the scrutiny of the security guards to prove that these were, in fact, necessary for my health and not terrorist needles, and off I went. I had zero problems with security (did they even see the needles?) and half way through the flight when the gel pack was starting to thaw, I asked a flight attendant to fill my ziplock with a bunch of ice. Once I got to my hotel, I stuck them in the minibar, and that was that.
Go me. next up: figuring out how to keep them cold the whole time I'm in the Peruvian amazon this summer.