Stacy Motenko on Managing CF While Traveling

Thinking of how you will take care of your health while traveling with CF can be very intimidating. For 28-year-old Stacy Motenko, preparation is the key.

Aug. 24, 2015 | 3 min read
Dora Nagy

In her role as the director of education and support at ModernHEALTH Specialty Pharmacy, Stacy has become quite the frequent flyer. From her home in Southern California, Stacy regularly travels to Florida, Louisiana and Northern California for her job. But she also makes sure to get in some personal travel as well so that she can take any opportunity to explore other cultures, and get a different perspective on the world.

Stacy Motenko shares what it’s like to travel with adisease that requires daily attention.

But before Stacy embarks on any trip, she consults the travel checklist that she created to make sure that she doesn't forget to pack anything. “There have been times when I have forgotten medication or equipment that I needed on a trip and it was very difficult for me to track them down in a foreign place,” explained Stacy. “In those situations, I had to ask my doctor to send new prescriptions to a local pharmacy. After having this happen a couple of times throughout the years, I made my travel checklist and that has helped me to remember to pack everything I need.”

Stacy's number one travel tip is to pack extra medication, and recommends putting those medications and equipment into your carry-on luggage so that you not only have access to your medications in case of emergencies or delays, but also they won't get lost, as checked bags sometimes do. She also recommends traveling with doctor's notes to help explain, and avoid fees for, your equipment.

(Left) Stacy with all the items that go into her carry-on luggage. (Top right) The portable equipment and medications that she must pack. (Bottom right) Stacy’s personal travel checklist.

As Stacy navigated this new frontier, she did run into some trial and error once she was away from home. The first time Stacy traveled overseas, she went to Australia where she experienced some difficulty in using her treatment machine. Even with an adapter to account for the voltage difference, her treatment machine broke and she had to connect with a local CF center to get a new one. This replacement machine ended up setting off the fire alarm in her hostel, and the fire department was called out to investigate!

Although it might seem that a lot of work goes into preparing for a trip, it is well worth it. “I encourage everyone with CF to not let their disease stop them from seeing the world and from experiencing all of the things that they want to,” said Stacy. “I have traveled to some amazing places throughout my life and my travel bucket list is filled with many more places that I hope to travel to."

After all that preparation is done, Stacy can relax, explore new places and enjoy her trip with her friends.

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Traveling with CF

Dora previously worked at the Foundation as a writer and editor. During her tenure, she loved to listen to others share their memories and experiences, and consumed storytelling in all of its different forms. She constantly looks for the uniqueness in everyone's story. Dora has a B.A. in communications from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an M.S. in public policy and administration from the London School of Economics. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Dora was raised mainly in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area where she currently resides today.

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