Marcus Cranston, a globe-trotting physician with PD, told us how he makes the most of travel.
Six years ago, while I was working as both a physician and a U.S. Air Force colonel, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. At first, I worried that it might rob me of my passion for traveling and outdoor activities. So, as a way to fight back, I launched a campaign to run four miles in 44 countries! After a nine-month period of intensive planning, I’m proud to say that I completed my mission while helping to raise global awareness of PD. Now that I’m retired from active duty, but still practice medicine, I have a bit more time to squeeze in trips. I’m up to 121 countries and counting. If that sounds like a tall order for you, take it from me: It doesn’t have to be. Here are tips that helped me go from worrying before trips to happily wandering. I hope they’ll help to make your journey more rewarding too.
Plan the cycle of your medications according to the time changes and time zones for your trip.
Pack crucial items in both your carry-on and your checked luggage. That creates a back-up kit in the event that you need to visit a clinic. If you have a neurostimulator in place, bring along documents explaining it, to ease your passage through security. Review all treatment and travel plans with your physician.
Schedule around your jet lag. Fatigue and sleep difficulties are a major part of Parkinson’s. So, you might not want to schedule a tour on the day you arrive. Take time to rest and adjust.
Enjoy the trip-planning stage. Treat yourself to books and documentaries about your destination. Additionally, research Parkinson’s support groups in the places you’re headed. Reaching out to others can make travel much more enjoyable.
Stop worrying! Most difficulties of travel are overestimated. Just be as careful as you can, plan ahead, and you can go anywhere!
Originally printed in MoreThanMotion, June 2016