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Has anyone gone on a vacation on a plane while on chemotherapy

antcat
Posts: 272
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi, I was just wondering if anyone has flown while undergoing chemotherapy. I would like to go away but there was an article in a cancer magazine advising people with cancer and flying to be very careful. Apparently, the problem comes about when their counts go down low and the air on a plane is not very good. My primary doc told me today that it wasn't really advisable because 98% of people that fly usually come down with a cold and a person whose immune system is compromised due to chemotherapy is more at risk. So, it was a little disappointing but I don't think I would want to get sick.

I was just wondering if anyone else flew and if they had any problems while undergoing chemotherapy.

kayandok
Posts: 1223
Joined: Jun 2008

several times, but had my blood checked before I went and got the ok from my doc.
k

lulu1010's picture
lulu1010
Posts: 367
Joined: Feb 2011

I live in Ohio and went to Florida after 6 months of chemo (2 hour flight). I had no problems and no one said not to go. They even rearranged my chemo days so I could go and feel good while there.
And then in my eighth month of chemo I flew to Arizona ( about 4 hours ?). Again no one said not to go and made sure my chemo schedule did not interfere. I got no colds etc. but I was worried on the long flight about DVT's.( Blood clots in the lower legs from sitting so long.) I meant to wear compression stockings but of course I forgot them so I just made sure I got a seat on the aisle and stood up occasionally and did ankle pumps and such to keep the circulation going. Also tried to walk briskly in the airport for 1/2 hour before boarding the plane.
I also went by car to Washington DC and to Charleston, South Carolina. Not bad for a sick woman huh?
I had no problems.....it was good for the spirit....hope you go and have a great time! I dont plan to give in to this disease!

rose_marie's picture
rose_marie
Posts: 75
Joined: Jan 2011

My doctor told me not to fly due to the air quality in the cabin. There is always someone with a slight cold or caugh. Especially the children. Not a good idea, if you want my opinion.

Rosemarie

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

I flew from California to Colorado to get home after my surgery and three rounds of chemo. I wore a mask on the plane and in the airport. The doctor also recommended I get an injection to prevent blood clots before I flew.

clamryn's picture
clamryn
Posts: 508
Joined: Jun 2010

I asked me doctor if I could fly and he told me "No". He said there were too many germs on a plane. So I haven't flown. But I sure would like to.

Linda

JoanC's picture
JoanC
Posts: 223
Joined: Jan 2009

I was in the middle of chemo and flew to Maui 51/2 hr flight there and back 2 weeks later ...no problems. Did wear a mask per my onc/gyn. I think the vacation was worth the slight chance.
((Hugs))

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Hissy_Fitz
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

My mother-in-law died just weeks into my initial chemo. I flew from DFW to Chicago, then to W VA. We came back home two days later. My doctor said he saw no reason to "ground" me.

Carlene

lauripiper
Posts: 27
Joined: Jun 2011

I flew twice, once during chemo and once just after. I think it varies by your immune system response. Ask your dr. where your levels are and if they are extremely low then probably not a good idea. Mine were low but not excessively so and I didn't have a problem. It was nervewracking though! I completely expected to get sick but never did.

pattysoo's picture
pattysoo
Posts: 171
Joined: Oct 2010

I flew twice, once to get to MDA after chemo #2, and once to Baltimore after chemo #5. Chlorox wipes in a purse packet were my best friends. I disinfected everything I touched in my seat area and kept my hands away from my face. I didn't have any problems with illness. There are fewer kids on planes midweek, I think, but maybe not in the summer.

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I'd make my decision based on how you honestly feel. If you're not up to par, it might not bbe worth it. But if you feel pretty good......GO!

At the time I flew to the Dominican Republic with my son for a short vacation, I was getting Avastin every other week, and taking Cytoxin in pill form daily. I made the trip a week after (and a week before) my Avastin infusions, and took my Cytoxin pills with me to take. I was worried about the flight, but I wore compression socks, and am pleased to report that I was able to take long walks on the beach and eat fairly exotic food, and had no trouble at all. I felt good and thought it was worth the gamble. My oncologist did blood labs the week before when I was in for my infusion, and said that I should have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day and take it easy on the night life, and I stuck with his recommendations.

antcat
Posts: 272
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you everyone for your replies. I spoke with my oncologist and he said "to go". So, that's what I'm going to do. I don't want the cancer to rule my life especially since it doesn't want to leave me. I see my primary care doc weekly because I'm on blood thinners and he also checks my blood counts every week, for I'm in good hands with him.

I do have a question though, for Linda, why did you have to wear compression socks? Was it a long flight, mine is only 2 hours but not sure if I would need to look into wearing these socks. They also might be a good idea for my dad, as he has knee problems and will probably be coming with us.

Thank you again.

lulu1010's picture
lulu1010
Posts: 367
Joined: Feb 2011

I am so glad you are going to go! I intended to wear compression stockings on the longer flights to increase the circulation to the veins in the legs. It helps prevent deep vein thrombosis. I didnt think too much about it on the 2 hour flights. If you are on blood thinners, it may not be a problem. You could check with the doctor to see what he thinks before you go, have your blood counts checked and you should be good to go. I think it will bring some normalcy to your life and raise your spirits.

pjdreams's picture
pjdreams
Posts: 79
Joined: May 2010

I travel while on chemo whenever possible. Enjoy !!

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

When I finished my initial treatment protocol and was in my 1st remission, I took an 11-hour flight to Greece with my husband. For that trip I bought 5 pair of 'travel socks', (mild non-prescription grade compression socks I saw in a catalogue). I had 25 lymph nodes removed during my initial surgery, and had just finished adjuvent external pelvic radiation, and I was concerned about lymphodema with all the walking planned and the long flight. These 'travel socks' made my legs feel so much better.

I did eventually develop very mild lymphodema in my ankles and saw a lymphodema specialist over a year ago. If you faithfully wear compression garments, the specialist told me that you can keep the swelling from ever getting worse, so I have made a point of wearing compression socks (in a prescription grade) ever since. They make pretty ones that look just like trouser socks and somewhat 'sheer' knee high ones (somewhat) that I wear with capris in the summer that don't look too bad. I feel my pro-active approach has kept my mild lymphodema in check all this time. You won't be sorry if you wear 'travel' socks for the flight; they really make your legs feel great, lymphodema or not.

Kelita66
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2011

After the 3 rd treatment when I knew what and when would be happening to me I flew. I made sure my counts were ok and only took a week long trip.

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