"I’ve traveled overseas all my life. My family traveled a lot when I was a kid, but we always camped so my mom could make sure my CF health care and diet needs were met.
Now, as an adult with CF and CF-related diabetes, I travel often for business and pleasure. I’ve been across the United States often, since I have family on both coasts. I’ve also been to Europe several times and to Australia — and I hope to go back! I’m already planning my next trip abroad to celebrate my 50th birthday!
Suzanne Pattee, a 49-year-old with CF, has travelled often across the United States, to Europe and as far as Australia.
The key to traveling for me is to make sure I have enough medications to last the trip. I also find it very helpful to travel with a companion. Not only is it more fun, but a companion can help you keep up with your health care needs, carry your bags or get you a soda if you’ve worn yourself out.
I also bring a folder or envelope with me to hold all of my travel papers. This includes information on flights and hotels, as well as emergency contacts, CF centers, new prescriptions, current prescription labels from refrigerated medications and the medical travel letter from my CF doctor allowing me to carry my medical supplies. I keep this information at the ready for TSA if needed.
On a recent trip to Europe, the swine flu broke out. I had brought some oral antibiotics with me and started taking them in the middle of the trip when I started to feel run down. I definitely did not want to visit a European hospital or CF doctor, because I didn’t want to expose myself further to anyone with the swine flu. However, if needed, I would have contacted a local CF doctor, as well as my CF doctor back home.
Staying as healthy as possible, including when I travel, allows me to live each day to the fullest. Although my abilities change as I age, I still want to do my best and not let CF stop me. With proper planning and good company, traveling can open new horizons and give you great memories for years to come!