Traveling post Bowel Cancer: Different to my previous posts, although this not my first time traveling abroad it has certainly been the longest time spent away therefore requiring considerably more planning.For most holidays are complicated enough remembering everything required And trying to fit it all into your allowed baggage allowance whiteout going 1 kilo over for fear of being charged or having to throw away a luxury item pre flight, but for me the addition of having to add to this everything that I will need to look after my stoma needs requires at best attention to detail.
I write this blog in the hope that it will inspire others to expand their travel horizons and not talk themselves out of living a normal active life post cancer.
So if this is the first blog of mine you have read Bowel cancer left me with a Stoma bringing my colon into my tummy and effectively leaving me with an arse bypass. On the upside I am now Cancer free, and getting back to leading as near to normal life as I can, opting to irrigate rather than having a colostomy bag allows me to spend an hour of each day irrigating my colon in return for a normal active life on our farm and beyond.
Though not my first holiday post cancer this certainly is the longest with a 16 day trip to both Antigua and Tobago, tough this blog is aimed at other Bowel cancer survivors, I also have a number of friends who learn a little more about me each time I write.
Tips and advice for those irrigating and traveling with a stoma
In addition to all the normal pants, socks jeans, shorts and sun cream list.
Order your supplies well in advance, as we were travelling after Christmas I also had to take into account.
For this 2 week trip I have taken:
70 patches, I generally use between 1 and 2 per day but read that the heat sun cream and water can increase the frequency of patch changes, they were not wrong I would pack 100 next time.
10 drainable bags, I rarely use these but as one of our flights and journey home takes me offer my 24hr window the bag will allow a little extra time on my daily routine.
7 cans of adhesive spray remover
7 cans of clinifilm/barrier film
6 packs of 30 dry wipes
4 packs of 50 disposal bags
1 Braun Irrigator, irricone and tube.
30 irrigation sleeves
1 base plate and 2 belts
1 backup manual gravity fed irrigator cone and sleeve.
1 oakmed stoma powder
1 stoma hernia protection belt
Key learning points
Undercooked Jerk chicken excites your stoma amongst friends.
Allow for delays, take far more patches and bags than .you anticipate using.
Drink plenty of water.
Carry all of your pouches in hand luggage with manual irrigator, divide sprays between your party, these are equally important not to lose.
Always carry your patches, your stoma is just as capable of taking you by surprise even when on holiday.
Carry a spare Tshirt.
Salt water, sun cream and swimming pools are great for unsticking your patch check and change often.
Pack an understanding partner, I took Sue and love her to bits.
Above all enjoy your holiday, and remember the people who stare at your patch are just struggling to find a way of asking why you ware a patch on your tummy. Help them find the words and educate.