…I sometimes have to mentally slap myself in the brain for being such a whiny idiot.
My new job is in travel, but we work with people with medical conditions. When you think of most travel bloggers, all they do is choose where to go, how long for, book a flight and head off into the sunshine while writing about their adventures. With someone who has an illness or a medical condition, it’s so different. If possible at all.
You need to decide if you’re well enough. Not fit to travel? Good luck finding an airline who’ll let you board. Or an insurer who’ll cover you. Or hotel staff who’ll take responsibility if you are unwell.
Then you need to decide where to go. Spain? US? Caribbean? Fall ill there and you’ll be in serious financial worry.
Then decide how long you can take on a plane before you’re in too much pain. If you can travel by air at all.
Then you need to weigh up the mental cost. Sure, a week in the sun is fun, but will be you drained by the time you come back?
Then find a hotel or apartment that has everything you need.
Then ensure the food won’t aggravate your condition.
Then save up enough so you can afford it.
Then book it, but only before you’ve spoken to your GP and healthcare workers who have the final say on whether you can go.
Then then then.
It’s a logistical nightmare.
So part of my job is making sure I know these challenges, and reading a lot of personal experiences, charity forums, support groups to see how we can help. And I stumbled upon Emily Eva Alice. And then I cried. At work, no less #attractive.
My Dad was silent next to me, his hands were holding on tightly now to the railings on my bed. I can’t remember the last time I saw my Dad cry, but in that moment when I turned to look at him for a reassuring, ‘everything will be okay’ comment, he didn’t say anything, he just looked back at me with tears rolling down his face and then hugged me.
Emily was diagnosed with Leukaemia at 20 years old. Funnily enough (for people with a tisted sense of humour) it’s a condition I’d just spent a few hours writing about without really thinking about it. ‘So we have GP visit covered, can’t fly if platelets are too low, yep, spoken about radiation and not getting in the sun, SPF etc etc. Anything I’ve missed? Oh, medication, the usual EHIC etc, can’t travel without fit note blah blah blah yadda yadda’ SUBMIT.
And then I read the post above. Then this one, as I subconsciously touch my hair, almost reassuring myself I still have some. I read a post about how Emily told her friends she had cancer, thinking back to some research David had done and how I couldn’t understand why someone would break news in that way. She doesn’t even complain about NHS hospital food after three weeks of nothing else.
Then I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. When I was 20, nine whole years ago, I had a job, relationship, jetted off to exotic countries, was trying to persuade my parents to move back to Essex, had lunch dates with my sister and gossiped with friends I’m not even sure I still have. I did normal things. I didn’t have to worry about what Emily did.
So yeah, a bit of a reflective post. My job is amazing, not because of press trips or the fact it’s a 20 minute commute. But because I meet (even only if through a computer) people I know are braver, stronger, and more stubborn than me. And they inspire me to make the most of my health now, and for as long as I’m fortunate enough to have it.