If you know me, you already know this…if you don’t then here ya go: I suffer from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and 90% of my symptoms reside in my stomach. In simple terms…Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis means I have hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). It’s an autoimmune disease that affects my thyroid, immune system, weight, and my digestive system. Doing anything with a stomach ache is difficult, but travelling can bring on a whole new sort of challenge and fear of feeling sick in an inconvenient situation. I’ve decided to piece together some tips I’ve figured out from my own experience. I don’t like to let my stomach problems keep me from doing what I love, but it is hard to forget and not worry about what could happen.
Drink A Ton Of Water
Hydration is really important, especially if your problems are also in your gut. Think about it like you’re constantly flushing out your body and ridding of any toxins that are going to cause you an episode. Getting dehydrated only raises your chance of becoming ill.
Be Honest With The People You Travel With
Yes, of course “stomach problems” bring on embarrassment. I was extremely embarrassed to admit anything in the beginning of all of this, but thankfully I have a solid group of travel friends who have my best interest in mind. They’ve pulled over cars, sprinted down the streets of a city, held my hair…the list just goes on. I will never have the words to thank them and I know I don’t have to be embarrassed around them. They’re as open about it as I am, which I am extremely thankful for.
Maybe a bit contradictory to my tip above, but figuring out how to take care of me, completely and solely by me, was the most important thing that’s ever happened.
Who else knows your body better than you do? Make your own decisions, don’t get pressured into anything and be sure of yourself. It might sound weird, but you have to be your own best friend. This helped me not care what other people think or if they’re “inconvenienced” by my health problems.
Don’t assume that you’ll be able to get something to eat on the way. I try not to introduce anything new into my system while I’m travelling. While I was country hopping, this was a bit hard because of the differences in food and how it is cooked, but since I had brought some of my own things, I was able to avoid getting sick off of anything I ate.
Yes, you do also feel like you’re missing out a bit…but for me, it’s completely worth not having that glass of Sangria in Barcelona to make sure I can go the rest of the day sight-seeing.
I think this is my biggest takeaway from everything I’ve experienced. When I start to feel sick, my immediate reaction is to panic. When I was travelling, I taught myself how to breathe through it. There’s nothing I can do about this, I have to let it happen and if I constantly freak out about where I am or who I am with, I won’t go anywhere ever again. Continue to throw yourself out of your comfort zone, but stay calm while you do it.
One of my biggest fears is being in a car, stuck in traffic, in the middle of nowhere and having a reaction.
This summer, I went on a road trip across the United States with two of my friends. I was panicked leading up to it, but I did it. And the best part was, I didn’t have any problems. This is all easier said than done, trust me, I know. It takes a lot to get yourself in the mental state to allow yourself to go and do these things, but when you do, it’s incredibly freeing. Don’t hold yourself back, accept what is and roll with it because if you sit at home just in case you don’t feel well, you’ll miss out on so much.