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Long distance travel
tenplay
15 Posts

It has been around 6 months since my chemo and radiation treatments ended for Stage 4 non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I am feeling okay today other than some fatigue and loss of appetite. My wife, a former Air Canada flight attendant who loves to travel, is planning a two week trip to Kenya to go on a safari to view all the animals. I would love to go but am worried a bit about taking on such a challenging trip during my recovery period. She has several travel-loving friends and will go with or without me.

Has anyone gone on an African safari before? Will I be okay going or will it be too challenging for my condition? The safari brochure makes the experience sound safe and comfortable with the only real challenge being the long plane rides. The hotel and tent accommodations appear to be quite luxurious and comfortable. My main concerns are the long plane rides, the jostling jeep rides tracing animals, medical care and support in Kenya for foreigners, and food choices. I am getting to an age where this is probably my last opportunity to go on a safari so I am tempted to go despite my reservations. Thanks for your thoughts.

8 Replies
Boby1511
596 Posts

@tenplay

i would luv to go!

I would be very worried about medical coverage.

does your current insurance cover you over there?

I don’t think I could do the heat.

id be super tempted to go thou!

such a choice!
sending best wishes!

Daisy21
39 Posts

Omg Go this Cancer has thought me to enjoy life more .You can get medical cover with travel agent very cheap that will cover you anywhere in the world and even cover cost to fly home if things get bad .U can relax on your own somedays and go on trips if u feel up to it .Ask your dr for medication in case of emergency. Go Go Go.

Trac3y
9 Posts

I travelled in the middle of my chemo for breast cancer Before Covid. It was only to Dominican Republic. We were traveling with our kids, grandkids and parents.

One thing that made a big difference was I asked for support in the airport. I partly did it for the sake of our parents, to convince them to accept the help, too. They brought a wheelchair and whisked us right through everything. I arranged it but my husband didn’t really get why at first. On the way home I said I didn’t really need it. He said yes, get it. Lol It made a big difference. I saved my energy for the fun stuff, didn’t use it up in the airport. We got priority seating in the plane too.

just a little suggestion. Hope you get to have your trip and enjoy it!

tenplay
15 Posts

Thanks for your kind and encouraging suggestions. I am now leaning toward going on the safari since the experience is geared toward “soft” tourists and can be adjusted toward more comfort with added expense and precautions. Getting travel health insurance, using wheelchair access at the airports, and taking personal time off whenever I feel tired sound like excellent options. The trip is being planned for next July during the great annual migration of wildlife across the plains and the mildest temperatures of the year. And a friend who is a wildlife photographer for National Geographic is helping us make the arrangements. We have traveled to China, Japan, Cuba, Scandinavia, the Galapagos, Alaska, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Jamaica, and parts of Canada and the US in recent years. But we have never been to Africa so it is especially attractive. I will wait to make my final decision until next Spring depending on my health at the time.

Julie44
36 Posts

I did go on a 4 weeks safari trip a few years back and am I so happy to have done it!

It had been 3 years after my first cancer and I did not worry about medical issues but check your travel insurance and what possible plan in case of an emergency. What do your doctor say?

I just want to say, as you know, life is too short and this is the trip of a lifetime. So, enjoy, it is worth it!

On a different scale, we went to Mexico not that lone ago, 2 days after my last chemo. I was a little bit worried but they have hospitals there too and doctors. I am so, so glad we went. That is what the whole family needed, a change a scenery!

LucyK
36 Posts

Check into your travel insurance options and read the fine print. Many will not cover you if there has been any change in medication in the previous 90 days, if there is a change after purchase of the policy, you must report it to the carrier. Also changes in treatment or referral to a specialist within 90 days or after purchase may impact or void coverage. When I travelled to Kenya (pre-cancer), we had to provide proof of medical coverage, including emergency evacuation.

ac2020
21 Posts

I worked for Air Canada for 35years, agent at yyzap, retired last June. Now I have a unwelcome retirement gift one year later. I wish you all the luck and try to travel if you can. I have an European River cruise on my bucket list as soon as I am allowed to travel and off Chemo….Cheers

Indigo10
56 Posts

@tenplay hi there we have much in common and outside of the lymphoma part, all good. I was diagnosed with non Hodgkin lymphoma 18 months ago ( stage 4) and completed my chemo( rituximab and bendamustine). I also started maintenance with rituximab but that was ,in my view, a misstep and I “dropped out” after consulting with my hematologist. The risk of low immunity and covid seemed a bridge too far. You did not mention being on maintenance so presumably you are not. If you were I would suggest that travelling anywhere would present high risks.

My husband and I went on a safari in South Africa 10 years ago when we were both 63, healthy and fit. It was the most exciting emotional travel experience we have ever had Accommodations were 5 star but we did not do any “drives” where we would have to stay out in the tents. We did sunrise and sundown tours.

It appears that you are prepared to do work arounds in your effort to adapt as necessary. Thats great and may or may not be needed. These are some of my observations/ comments / concerns.

*most everyone at our lodge was younger. We were definitely one of the older couples. This was not a cruise crowd 🙂 A great demographic but it may be an indicator of the concerns that older or compromised travellers may face

*once in our Jeep and out,there were no opportunities to take a washroom break. hmm best not to have that cup of coffee until later The Jeep can be a bit of a rough ride and once out on the land we did not return to the lodge for a few hours. Up at sunrise and on our way.

*Middle of nowhere” you are in remote areas at times which may take a bit of effort to access medical care should you need it

*flights - break them up, we stopped for a night in Frankfurt to mitigate the jet lag and long flight. Fly business/first class so you will be more comfortable

You have time to evaluate your health status and maybe you will feel strong enough to go on this amazing trip and it will be an easy decision. I struggle with these issues as we love to travel. Covid, ironically, has made the decisions for me and you may come to the same conclusion. It’s really all about risk/ benefit.

Here is my final observation. Flying to Africa and going on safari was the best trip ever ,but also a tough trip. I know that I would not be able to do it today but everyone’s recovery is different

Take care and i Hope your recovery continues to go well

indigo10

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