I’ve not taken a proper vacation since my dog was diagnosed with diabetes. I refused to leave her for over two years until this past September, when I traveled to Washington DC for 2 nights for a patient advocacy trip. I admit that I was a wreck until I had her back in my arms. I’m lucky enough to have friends willing to take her for a few days. It is a big ask to have someone take care of a blind and hearing impaired dog who takes 16 pills and two shots of insulin daily. I’ve only seen staycations in my foreseeable future.
A few months back, some fellow dog lovers/friends asked me to join them for a weekend get away with our dogs. I was so excited! A mini vacation with Georgia and other dogs sounded like heaven to me! The only issue: the destination was 4.5 hours away. If was was flaring, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I was so nervous because I had such a rough summer with flares. Lucky for me, I was flare free.
Georgia and I headed out and arrived in about 5 hours. Smooth sailing but I felt tired. We toured wineries, which was great for me, but difficult for Georgia. She is blind and struggled to get around. She also has some sore paws. It seems her paws get aggravated easily since her diabetes diagnosis, so walking became an issue for her. Our first stop was a winery at the TIPPY TOP of a mountain.
The drive up “Brokenback Mountain” was a bit hairy, but we were amazed by the views. Unfortunately for me, and Georgia, there was a lot of walking and stairs. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t have to carry my 28+ lb. dog, but I did it. I’ll admit, my arm was killing me by the end of the night. Georgia seemed to adapt fairly quickly. She found her zen in each place we visited. She is the most resilient creature I have ever known. She is a belly-up-to-the-bar kind of girl who enjoyed all the attention she received and snoozed away when she needed it.
By the end of the first day and a busy schedule, I was beat. My ankles and hands were swollen and I was in quite a bit of pain. Georgia took a toll on my right arm. I didn’t want my trip to suffer as a result of overdoing it. So, I decided to take a page from the Georgia-Grace-Handbook-of-travel and I rested. I made sure that I took time to rest each day to keep my batteries on charge instead of empty. I only did as much as I could handle and I opted out of a few scheduled events to just sit and relax. It was good for me and good for Georgia, too.
We ended up having an amazing time. Georgia settled in on day two and handled living with 13 other Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with ease. She is my inspiration to never give up.
Realizing that I can’t do it all, is a hard pill to swallow, but it made the times I could engage even better because I had more energy. I’m hopeful that my new biologic drug is working. I still have swelling, but my pain is fairly manageable and my fatigue isn’t horrific. I had to drive 6.5 hours yesterday and was worried that I would be dragging at work today. Surprise, surprise….I had a good day. It was truly a pleasant surprise.
So for those of you who struggle with travel, I get it. It’s far from easy, but with balance, it can be a great time. Every day living with autoimmune arthritis is a learning curve. It’s not the life I envisioned for myself, but it’s the only one that I have got. I’m going to try to keep making the most out of it.
Thanks to my friends and their amazing dogs for making a our mini trip so enjoyable.