View Full Version : Study abroad and autoimmune diseases...ah mon dieu!

10-13-2011, 01:46 PM
I am a junior seeking my b.a in French Lit, and if I want to graduate, I must either complete 12 credit hours or work 6 months in a French speaking country. I have 3 options this year and they are Strasbourg, Togo, and Bucharest. My heart has always been in West Africa, so of course, Togo is my first choice. Awesome opportunities, right? Well, of course I have to complicate everyone's life. My advisor dropped the bomb on me today by asking me how I am planning on managing my illness while abroad. He knows everything I have been through these past few years, seen me come to class hooked up to ivs, etc etc. So I cant do my usual and play it off, because he KNOWS lol. Besides, its a very legitimate question and one that I have been subconsciously avoiding, because I really cant answer it. Or maybe the answer just devastates me.

So my question for you is; has anyone gone overseas? Specifically one not known for fantastic healthcare. Am I stupid for thinking I could actually go to Africa for 3 months and be okay? Am I wasting my colleagues' time and patience for wanting to follow my dream but potentially being a flight risk? Is it possible?

Of course, I have just been placed back in diagnosis limbo so I have a lot of contact with my doctor lately. I plan on speaking with her about it, but I feel like at least part of this issue can only be addressed by people who have been through it themselves. This very well may be a case where my illness prevents me from having an experience I dearly want, and thats hard to swallow.

I just need some advice from you lovely people :]

10-13-2011, 02:01 PM
I have no advice, but I wonder about this alot too. I really want to travel at some point in my life and don't know how realistic it is to go wandering the globe when I need to have a rheum at the ready should I need them. I wish you luck though. I would love to travel to Africa =) my study abroad asperations are more towards Italy though.

10-13-2011, 08:49 PM
Without knowing how "sick" you are, it's hard to give you any advise. My gut reaction is to say "go for it!", but take plenty of prednisone and whatever other meds you might need with you. Make a long appointment with your rheumy to create a game plan, with instructions for what to do if you get sick or have an emergency. Make sure you figure sun exposure into your plan and figure out how you can minimize it. Maybe you need to stick with larger cities and towns and not go off into the dessert or jungle.

My (healthy) daughter is in Germany on a Fulbright scholarship for a year and is having an amazing experience. She has life-threatening food allergies and we worry about communication in restaurants - but I would never tell her not to go. That being said, she was careful to chose a country where peanuts and shellfish were not major components of their diet. I would say the same to you - go, but chose a place where you are not putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

10-13-2011, 09:21 PM
if you are on a set regime of medication.
then the first question i can think of is, are these drugs banned or illegal in the particular country you plan on visiting.
second question, do i need to supply my own medication whilst away.

once these are answered........ the rest should be easy to work out.
doctors can prescribe drugs for longer periods due to travel.
shipping drugs is a formality... certain procedures to follow, but it is possible.

i say go for it.........

live the dream whilst you can

and good luck.

10-14-2011, 02:12 AM
I'm with Gizmo and Steve on this.

Il faut qu'a faire que tu desire. Je pense que si tu veux va - va toi!!

From one French major to another. You need to do this or you could regret it for the rest of your life. It's been 30 years since I was able to use my French hope I did it right.

Hugs and good thoughts

10-17-2011, 04:15 PM
I've traveled overseas, but only two weeks at a time. I took plenty of my meds with me and did fine.
Will you have a way to keep in touch with your rheumy while you are there?
Would he/she be willing to monitor you long-distance?