View Full Version : Should I still go during cancer treatment? (kind of long)
02-16-2008, 10:50 AM
Here's my good news....
My MIL, DD7 and I have a "girls only" weekend planned for May 8-11,2008. I made a package reservation for the Poly with DP in October 2007. Our final payment is due by March 2008. MIL and I are so excited because it would be so much fun with just the girls, Mother's Day, Flower & Garden Festival, Pirates & Princess Party, manicures & pedicures, and just all-around "girly" stuff that our boys would never want to do on a WDW trip! DD7 doesn't know about the trip yet because we know she would drive us crazy with excitement until May :princess:
Here's the bad news...
On January 3, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had surgery last week to remove the cancer and am resting right now. My chemo sessions will most likely begin around mid-March. By May I will be about half-way through my chemo treatments.
Should I still go during my cancer treatments?...
All my doctors say that I should go that I should be fine. I'm just worried that I will be too tired to enjoy the trip since I've never experienced cancer before. On the other hand, I think it would be a great morale booster for my spirits and give me something to look forward to. We've been to WDW several times before, so we could make it a relaxing trip, not commando style. If I do get tired, would I be able to rent a ECV? Our usual intinerary involves a morning activity, afternoon nap, and evening activiy. So that would be the same and give me time to rest.
My MIL and I need to make a decision soon so that if we decide to postpone our trip, I still have time to cancel in March and get our money refunded. My MIL is behind me 100%. She said if I'm ready, she's ready or if we want to postpone for a later date, we're fine with that too.
Anyone have a similar experience to share with me to help me with our decision? I'd appreciate any suggestions for traveling with cancer.
02-16-2008, 11:36 AM
I'm so sorry about your cancer. I don't have any experience with cancer myself to help you. I just wanted to say that if your doctors say you can go I would give it a try. You can always rent a scooter or wheelchair while you are there. Make sure you have your doctor's phone number in case you have to contact him during the trip. I would worry about nausea and vomiting so ask him to give you some medication you could take with you in case you need it. As long as you know that you will have limitations this trip, I don't think anyone will be disappointed. It would definately boost my morale to be in Disney World.
:pixie::pixie::pixie::pixie:and prayers on the way for you and your treatment and for a great trip.
02-16-2008, 12:05 PM
Go. If your doc says it'll be ok, then go for it. Don't let the cancer win! I think midway through would be a great time to go because your morale might be getting a little low and this would be a great boost for you. Show that cancer who's boss!
You can always get trip insurance and cancel last minute if you really have to.
02-16-2008, 12:25 PM
My father has had cancer for four years now. He has had both radiation and chemo and I can say he gets very, very tired during treatment. He says it's a different type of tired than you would normally feel. He also has days when he is very sick to his stomach during treatment. I don't think he would be able to go. That being said, everyone reacts differently and has different amounts of radiation and chemo. The decision has to ultimately be yours. You could go during treatment as a morale booster but you may spend more time in the room resting than you expected. You also have to be very careful in the sun since you are more likely to get a sunburn and dehydrated during treatment. You could also postpone your trip and turn it into a celebration that you made it through surgery and treatment. I do agree with buying trip insurance since cancer doesn't always cooperate with the best laid plans.
hoop de do
02-16-2008, 01:21 PM
You have received some excellent advice from the previous posters. Sounds like you have a great MIL and family for support. If you should hit some bumps in the road while you're at WDW I'm sure everyone will understand. That being said I say "go for it". I believe you will have a great and magical time. I'm sure it will be a morale booster. If you can let us know how you made out. Give Mickey a hug. I am sending Pixie Dust and prayers to you and yours.
02-16-2008, 01:21 PM
Well said Madame. I totally agree with you. Here is a little :pixie:for your recovery.
02-16-2008, 01:26 PM
You will do fine with chemo and such! Take it from a fellow six-year breast cancer survivor...GO,GO,GO!!!!:thumbsup:
That being said, make sure you schedule some time for grandmother and grandaughter which could serve as some rest time for mommy. If all you will be doing is "girly stuff" you'll be fine. Make sure to avoid "thrill" rides as you may be more sensitive and they can make you barf :ack:...:) You can rent an ECV with no problem, and I do suggest you do so. Also, take a note from yor doctor stating your condition and asking to provide all necessary assistance. Make sure to get a Guest Assistance Pass at Guest Services at the park you visit first (it's valid in all parks), you will make shorter lines out of the sun (chemo makes you specially sensitive in some cases). Also, call your reservation Agent and let them know if there is something you absolutely cannot stomach (you will find this out when you start chemo) so they note it if you are on any sort of meal plan or have dinning resservations. Also, try not to eat anything new or "exotic" (nice word for strange to your diggestive system) as this may ruin your trip.
Take in your bag: a Hand held fan, paper bags (just in case), a small towel, something to smell to take care of nausea, a cap, a supply of ALL and any medication to supress or lessen side effects(ask your doctor), baby wipes, gum, an extra set of clothes including underware, an umbrella, SUNSCREEN and plenty (PLENTY) of fluids, and PLEASE DO NOT go on comando mode. Take time, take in the sights, and if your daughter and MIL need to run ahead, let them. Take a mid day break or sleep in whenever possible and enjoy it to the fullest. Finally, if a treatment is being scheduled too close to the trip, ask if a reschedule for earlier or later is possible. This depends on how you react to treatment and how long it takes you to bounce back. Some people have very little side effects, others have more, some in the begining and some at the end. Remember, it may look harsh from where you are currently standing but YOU WILL make it to the other side!!!!!!!!
Best wishes on your journey and do not hesitate to communicate should you need anything!,
02-16-2008, 02:08 PM
I think you have a great attitude. You have your doctor's blessing-- sounds like you are set. As long as you take it easy and I would be careful about booking too many ADR's-- but you still have to try to eat even if your appetite is down.
I agree that it can be the best thing for you. My professor just went through chemo for breast cancer and she was amazing considering the workload she maintained. I know there are new drugs to help with nausea and that ppl do get different doses so experiences do differ. Your docs should know too b/c the weakness and nausea could wax and wane so try to see if they can't schedule the tx around your vacation.
:pixie: for a special time. Treat yourself and take your time:thumbsup:
02-18-2008, 01:26 PM
If your doc says its ok to go .... I would vote .....GO!!!!!
can't think of anything better during recovery than visiting Disney. Take it at your pace, but go and enjoy, and I hope you find some magic while you are there.
02-19-2008, 11:17 PM
Thanks for all your kind words of support!
After talking with several friends who are breast cancer survivors, I'm going to try to make the May trip! :thumbsup:
I'm just going to take things slowly and "stop and smell the roses". Cancer has taught me to take everything one day at a time.
Afterall, I'll be WDW! What better medicine is that to help my body heal than to be at the "happiest place in the world!":cloud9:
02-20-2008, 02:43 AM
I just wanted to wish you best of luck in fighting the disease and on your trip! TAke care and God Bless!
02-20-2008, 11:24 AM
I would go, just be prepared for the fact that your immune system will be compromised. Use A LOT of hand sanitizer! :) See if you can take airborne. My friend Jason just came off of chemo and he couldn't take it, but I can't remember if it was chemo related or allergy related.
02-20-2008, 11:32 AM
The worst possible thing you can do is NOT go. Patients that continue on with their plans or work tend to do a LOT better than those that don't.
I agree with the previous poster with take some hand sanitizer to protect yourself...but DEFINATELY go.
02-21-2008, 01:31 PM
While I have no personal 1st hand experience I too say go and enjoy! I also second the suggestion of scheduling some "granny & me" time for your DD. Even if you don't plan it outright, have a plan (signal?) with your MIL that maybe you need some rest time or alone time and she can take your DD to something special (even if it's just dinner & shopping) As long as your doc oks it, go and have a wonderful magical time.
I know you will beat this nasty cancer thing and show it who is boss! (Mickey of course!:wave:)
02-23-2008, 03:27 PM
I do have personal experience and just returned (yesterday) from yet another trip!
First of all, you have your doctor's blessing and that's like geting a hall pass in high school. Use it! ;) My own doctor has told me that vacation is a GOOD thing, even if I miss a treatment or two.
Based on my experience, I would repeat some of the advice you've already received on this thread:
Sunscreen applied liberally and often. Certain drugs (and even the meds you take to help with side effects) may make you more prone to burning. Plus I have uneven pigmentation now, and after our first few days at WDW I ended up with a sprinkling of freckles I never had before (even with sunscreen).
Hand gel — certain chemo agents/doses affect your immune system more than others. While it's great hygiene to wash your hands often, it's really important for us. Purell is a great substitute for visiting the restroom. Ask your doctor or nurse practitioner about the mani/pedi. I'm not permitted to have them because of the old immune system. Also, I'm not allowed echinacea so Airborne is out. Again, check with your medical team.
Hydrate! But not with Florida water. Nothing against the local supply, but my tummy is very sensitive to changes in water (particularly when drinking a lot of it).
An ECV available to you from the moment you arrive at your resort. Fatigue, a common side effect of many chemo agents, may occur at any time during the day. Unless you're walking a few miles every day at home every day and used to that pace, you may find doing the few miles we tend to walk at WDW too much.
Check with your doctor re: lymphedema if you're flying to Orlando. This will depend on your particular surgery, but it is something you will need to consider. I have lymphedema in my right leg and will be spending the next few days in a recliner hoping it will subside, because I did not wear the special garment on the plane ride down (lesson now learned the hard way).
Downtime — I love the idea of grandmother/granddaughter time, allowing them to further bond and you to rest. I spent far more time in our room than I had planned. But hey, it was a nice change for me no matter what (can I say that it was nicer to nap knowing that I was at WDW than at home?)
Go! Have fun! We have cancer... it doesn't have us!
03-05-2008, 09:25 PM
Well all these replies make me feel better as well. I just joined the Intercot forums tonight. And I just had my first radiation treatment for uterine cancer this morning. After reading all the documentation they gave me today I started worrying that I might be too tired to enjoy our trip this May. :(
My treatments will last until the 2nd week of April, which was when we had originally planned our trip -- until I ended up having surgery in January. We then postponed the trip to May 9-17. (We're also staying at the Poly!) At that time I didn't know I'd be doing radiation therapy. But the dr. says that I should be fine to go and actually encouraged us to enjoy ourselves. And after these last few months our family could really use the vacation. My DH says not to worry we'll just take it slow if need be. I just have a hard time trying to remember to slow myself down! ;) I'm really glad we decided to stay at the Poly this time since being a monorail resort it should be an easier & quicker trip back for afternoon rest breaks.
Best of luck with your treatments Castlegirl. Maybe we'll pass each other at the Poly as we arrive and you all check out! :)
03-05-2008, 10:51 PM
Mikkimom, welcome to INTERCOT!
We're glad to have you here!
03-26-2008, 09:49 AM
My DW and I went through the same ordeal last year. The biggest thing that you need to worry about is the germs from other people. My DW did not go out very much, but usually we would venture out the weekend before her next treatment was due. Make sure you have plenty of disinfecting wipes, hand disinfectant, and you could consider a surgical mask.
Whenever you go into the parks or any other public place, make sure that you avaoid as much contact with doors, handrails etc. Always wipe the handrails or rides down with the wipes before you use them.
As far as your stamina, that will be something only you can decide. As my wifes treatments went on, she had less and less stamina. It took her about 6 months after all her treatments to gain her normal amount of energy back. In fact the first time we went to WDW, she only lasted about 3/4 of a day before she had to crash.
Just be careful and plan on going at a slower than usual pace. Feel free to send me a PM, if you want any more details.
Prayers and Pixie Dust to you and your family.
04-09-2008, 01:56 PM
We went last February just a couple months after my mom finished her chemo for breast cancer. She really debated about going not sure about how her stamina would be. In the end she decided to come along and just go at her own pace. It was a fantastic decision! The trip really lifted her spirits and we had a wonderful time. I think that trip was about the only fun she had in that past year. My dad was so happy to see her having fun that he bought a DVC membership. She used a wheelchair and we just took things easy. She also has a degenerative muscle disease that was made worse by the chemo so a wheelchair or EVC was a must. As someone who doesn't normally use a wheelchair or ECV she was not comfortable driving an ECV through the crowds at Disney. We rented a wheelchair instead and it was no more difficult to push than a stroller. It was really nice to see her enjoying herself again.
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