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New diagnosis - Is it safe to travel?

Hi,
My name is Dafydd, I am 23 years old and I have recently been diagnosed with MS. I am currently studying for an anthropology masters in Amsterdam. As part of this masters, I am required to do a 3 month field study. I am thinking of going to South Africa to do my research. I am however concerned how this well relate to my new condition. I have read a lot of things on the internet and I have come across a few concerns relating to having a relapse. I have not had one yet and I am afraid that it might happen in the 3 months I am in in South Africa away and if I am on the other side of the world, will this make it a more emotional and difficult experience to deal with? I am not really a homely person and don’t rely on home comforts and I consider myself to be fairly independent and I would not have thought twice about doing this research if I have had not have been diagnosed with MS. So this is new for me and I have not experienced a relapse so I am not sure what to expect? The symptoms I had when MS first came apparent were double vision which lasted for a couple of weeks and instability/dizziness/tiredness which lasted a lot longer, maybe two/three months. Is there any relationship between original symptoms and relapse symptoms in terms of length? Also, is there any relationship between temperatures and relapses as it will be summer in South Africa? And whilst having a relapse, is my immune system weaker/more susceptible to picking up other diseases/infections/bacteria that could cause more damage? If anyone has any professional advice or personal experiences related to this, I would be very grateful.
Kind regards,
Dafydd

Hi Dafydd i don’t have any answers for you as i am awaiting diagnosis but your post was on the second page so doubtful anyone would spot it and reply. this should bump it up and hopefully get you some responses from people who can help.

ahh i see, well thank you for that! I was beginning to think noone liked me :smiley: Hope you hear some good news!

ahh i see, well thank you for that! I was beginning to think nobdody likes me :smiley: Hope you hear some good news!

Hi Dafydd,

FWIW, my first diagnosis was transverse myelitis, changed a few months later to MS (RRMS assumed).
Two months later I did a trip to the US. 10 days, six flights, five states, three hire cars, two conference papers (the reason for the trip, and guess who did the travel plans), whilst colleagues gave two more papers.

The interesting bit was that of stepping out of a nice cool car into 125 degree heat in southern Utah (felt like being hit with a sledge-hammer) but it did not trigger a relapse.

My advice would be to go for it - you may not get a second chance - but to check that you get blanket insurance cover from your Uni. Mine did, and without any silly questions about pre-existing conditions.

Geoff

Completely agree with this, Geoff.

Dafydd, I am sorry that you have this unwelcome dx to cope with. Because MS is so unpredictable, it is difficult to achieve a stable balance between (1) keeping to a minimum its impact on your life and (2) not inviting MS trouble by making unwise life choices. For most of us, I think, it is a matter of keeping things under constant review and dealing with each decision on its own merits. What I mean is, if something is really important to you (like this SA project), you might decide to take a few more chances than you would for something that mattered to you less. Personally, I have always been inclined to say, ‘Oh sod it, let’s go for it’, when something unmissable has come up, remembering that nothing in life is risk-free, and that depriving oneself of a life-enhancing experience comes with risks of its own - depressing the spirits, at the least.

An MS dx is a terrible shock to the system, particularly to a person who is young and healthy and has (perfectly reasonably) taken good health for granted. It seems to shake the foundations a bit and make a person wonder what else that seemed reliable is going to go horribly wrong any minute. I think this can make a person a bit risk-averse (very understandably so), until life settles down and normality reasserts itself. Everyone feels at sea in the early days of MS and the mind does work overtime on worries about what will happen. Most of us find that we feel much calmer about it all over time, though. Life has bowled you a shocker - no two ways about it - but I promise that a person can accommodate MS into a good life.

You ask whether MS flares tend to repeat themselves. They can do - in my case, this does tend to happen sometimes - but they don’t always, and the risk fo completely new stuff out of the blue is part of the deal, I’m afraid.

If you do go to South Africa (and I hope that you do) I hope that it is a wonderful experience.

Good luck with it all.

Alison

I totally agree with you all Dafydd i say do what you want will your young and health and enjoy life to the max and try not to worry too much and having MS. I wish you good luck and enjoy the wonderful experience.

I totally agree with you all Dafydd i say do what you want will your young and health and enjoy life to the max and try not to worry too much and having MS. I wish you good luck and enjoy the wonderful experience.