The glamourous travel job – and the excess baggage of MCTD

July 29, 2012

We’re half way through 2012 and I’ve achieved something I really wanted to – and wasn’t sure if I could. I’ve travelled for work. Over the last couple of months I travelled to Papua New Guinea and Malaysia, accompanying travel journalists while they research their stories.

I knew I was going to be facing some long flights – being cramped and risking aches and pains, strange food that may play havoc with my stomach, incredible heat that could affect my easy-burn skin, thanks to the medications I’m on and essentially the over-riding concern that I might have a flare and not be able to join the group one day.

Apart from the occasional upset stomach in PNG, my health was not an issue at all. I was very exhausted for the week when I got home, but I think this is pretty common when you’re on a work trip.

When I went to Malaysia, I knew I was going to be staying in five star hotels and eating good food so I was feeling confident I was going to be alright.

Of course, the night before I went I noticed my lovely red welts (Erythema nodosum) had come for a visit and by the time I got to Malaysia they were all over my backside, in angry, red bumps.

Now this would be fine, except for the fact that I knew I had a number of massages lined up and I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain to the non-English speaking masseuse that the hideous marks weren’t contagious but they did hurt so don’t touch me there.

I was seen by a doctor before hand and I explained it to him but I’m not sure if the message was conveyed to the therapist properly because there was still that awkward moment when I was lying naked and vulnerable on the table, blushing with shame at my marked body.

I was lucky enough to experience an ayurvedic massage, an Indian style massage with oils that was very luxurious. It somehow did amazing things for my stomach – which had been very upset the day before, and I felt fantastic afterwards. So much so that I’m keen to look for this type of massage in Australia.

When we went out snorkelling, we weren’t offered life-jackets to start with and were swimming off this little island. I swam out for about three minutes and quickly realised I was going to be too exhausted to do this so I swam back to the beach and waited for the others.

Not really a big deal.

One thing that was annoying was having to always drink bottled water. I love my water and have taken it for granted that in Australia you turn on the tap and get drink-able water. I always had to plan my drinking habits and have a whole bottle ready for morning when I take my handful of tablets. It was just something else to think of.

I’m not really complaining. Just reporting. While there were a few things that I noticed, really it wasn’t too bad and I’m pumped and ready for my next trip.

For those who are following at home -that’s New Zealand this week and then Japan to visit my sister in September. 🙂


6 Responses to “The glamourous travel job – and the excess baggage of MCTD”

  1. Beverley said

    WELL DONE YOU!! good onya!! so glad to hear you’re having some wins!!

  2. Julie said

    What meds are you on, I hope you don’t mind sharing that information. I have been diagnosed for almost 2 years and I hate how it has changed my life. It even changes you as a person. No matter how many anti depressants I’m on, I’m not the same..

    • Hi Julie,

      I’m on methotrexate, prednisolone (2.5mg now), plaquenil, orudis (anti-inflammatary) caltrate, nexium (to protect the stomach and avoid reflux) and folic acid.

      Plus pain killers when required. I’m meant to take fish oil but I get lazy with it.

      Hope you’re doing ok.

      • Julie said

        I’m on the same pretty much except the prednisone, tried it a few years ago and couldn’t deal with it. How much methotrexate, I am on 8 2.5 mg., once a week. I also take folic acid and a couple different pain pills daily. 2 antidepressants and a sleeping pill at night, also my thyroid meds, they removed it a couple of years ago. I just try to make it through the day to be able to work. My house is totally neglected though. It used to look nice all the time, but not since this terrible disease hit me hard.I hope your day is going well. Thanks for the info.

  3. Holly said

    I just returned from my first camping alone since I was diagnosed with MCTD in March 2009.
    I am also at the dangling end of 5mg of prednisone…trying to get off but my body resisting with fatigue.
    I live in Michigan, USA. And yern to camp the woods and swim the water again!
    The fatigue is real but if Im careful I can bike or hike or swim for about an hour. Then be smart and rest. I feel so encouraged that there is still life out there to enjoy.
    Keep up the great work with the blog! you encourage many!!

    (polymyositis,raynauds, features of RA, Graves disease, disphlagia)

    • Hey Holly,

      Nice work! I camped over new year and slept in a swag ( an aussie thing that is a mattress built into a canvas bag almost and it was so comfy. That’s impressive you can still do so much activity. Wow

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