Many young people like to take an extended break after university before settling down into the world of work. But how easy is that when you have a liver condition? Luke, who has biliary atresia and had a transplant when he was 12, went away for a month after finishing university this summer.
My final year of university was really busy so I was really ready for this holiday at the end – in fact I actually had two together. First I went with my 14 housemates to a villa in Sardinia for two weeks. And after that eight of us went inter-railing for another 12 days. The whole trip was something we had planned for ages and it really lived up to expectation.
We visited Vienna in Austria, Ljubjana and Lesce Bled in Slovenia, Munich in Germany, Budapest in Hungary, and lastly Athens in Greece. We did cram in a lot into a fairly short time but it was well worth it!
Healthwise, thankfully I was fine the whole trip. Yes I did get tired quicker than my friends but I expected to and since we were country-hopping, it wasn’t long before they felt the same as I did. There was no issue with medication as, at this point in time, I only require one tablet to take each day. I had a backup plan and two of my friends carried a couple of strips of medication in case something did happen. Insurance wasn’t a problem as I am covered under my family’s annual insurance with AxA PPP.
I wasn’t at all worried about this trip – just excited . My parents were a little nervous but they have always gone with the principle that life is to be lived. Like me they feel that, as I have been given the gift of a second chance at life with my transplant, I should take all the opportunities that are given. I have been going on holiday with my friends since I was 18 and now we have a proven plan which works and gives us peace of mind.
My advice to any young person with a liver condition who wants to go backpacking across Europe is to plan for the worst. I went with my housemates who know me and understood my limits. I entrusted a couple of my closest friends with my spare medication and with a sheet of paper that has all the information about my medical history and relevant contact numbers if something were to happen. This document can be used to show foreign doctors my medical history so that they know what to do. I also carried this document with my passport, which would be on my person whenever we travelled between countries. This, along with my MedicAlert necklace that I wear all the time, gave me and my parents peace of mind as we knew that if something were to happen my friends/ the emergency services would know what to do and who to contact. All this can be done before you leave your house for your trip and once your trip has begun you can enjoy it to the fullest, which is exactly what I did!