So you have Crohn’s Disease and want to travel?
WHAT IS CROHN’S DISEASE?
Crohn’s Disease is, well, it’s a pretty nasty malfunction within a person’s autoimmune system. In short, rather than protecting the body from harmful outside intruders, it loses its ability to determine what is good and what is bad within its gastrointestinal system. Thus its immune system becomes overactive and attacks everything that is bad, as it should, but also what is good, as it should not.
Crohn’s Disease is not, of itself, lethal. However it causes great pain, as you can imagine, where the body is literally at war within itself. Many Crohn’s Disease patients experience the most pain within their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohn’s can cause GI issues as common as abdominal pain and bloating and to complications that require the removal of large portions of the intestines.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CROHN’S DISEASE
And then there are all of the inconvenient complications that arise from the disease outside of the GI tract itself:
* Weight loss
* Recurring diarrhea
* Reduced appetite
* Rectal bleeding
* Ulcers and mouth sores
* Bone and teeth deterioration
* Delayed or stunted growth
It can also lead to things like Rheumatoid Arthritis, skin issues like eczema and shingles (if you were fortunate enough to have Chicken Pox as a child).
Oh, it’s also not curable and doctors really have no idea what causes it. All you can do is try to manage it through various medications and lifestyle choices and try to reach a point where the disease is considered “manageable.”
With that out of the way, Lindsay has been living with Crohn’s Disease since she was 12 years old.
TRAVELING WITH CROHN’S DISEASE IS DIFFICULT
Most people with Crohn’s Disease do not make plans to travel very far outside of their comfort zone, for obvious reasons. Aside from the daily inconveniences and pains at times, even the thought of a “flare up” is known for causing post-traumatic stress disorder in many Crohn’s patients. So traveling long-term with Crohn’s Disease is incredibly rare. In fact, Chris and Lindsay spent hours trying to find stories, advice and encouragement from other people who were traveling long term with Crohn’s Disease.
To their surprise, there were not many stories out there to provide a solid frame of reference. But instead of giving up on their dream, they have instead chosen to plan it out and pursue the epic road trip that will begin in April 2018. And while traveling with Crohn’s Disease is out of the ordinary, it is their hope that they can “normalize” it enough to inspire other people with Crohn’s Disease to travel without fear of the disease.
Lindsay is committed to living an abundant life with Crohn’s Disease while learning to travel long-term with the condition. Her hope is that she can become an example to other people with Crohn’s Disease that they do not have to abandon or sacrifice their dreams to settle on a “manageable” life.