Visiting Pakistan For The First Time After My Diagnosis

I was born in Scotland, but my mother is from Pakistan, so I have a lot of family there including my grandmother. I haven’t been out of the United Kingdom for more than 7 years, which also means I haven’t been out the country with my NMOSD diagnosis.

It’s so overwhelming because I don’t know what to expect, I don’t remember what it’s like to travel on a plane and the weather in Pakistan is going to be extremely hot. Hot weather triggers my neuropathic itch. I can barely handle the heat in Scotland so I’m regretting my decision of going to Pakistan in the summer. However, that was the only time I could really go, because of university.

Preparing for my travel

Luckily, some of the places I will be staying at will have air conditioning, but not all of them so I will have to adjust. I have all these extra things I need to think of before going to Pakistan. I need to be extra cautious because of my suppressed immune system, I will be taking masks, loads of hand sanitizer, specific soaps (I have sensitive skin since starting rituximab) and so much more.

Infection control away from home

Things like infection control are not as important in Pakistan as they are in the UK, so I will have to take the initiative of making sure i’m safe. Because I get frequent infections, I will need to take natural remedies like D-Mannose and probiotics to prevent them. I need to make sure I have over a months worth of medication to take with me, without my painkillers and anti-depressants I won’t be able to survive. It’s sad to see that I unquestionably cannot survive without medication, as before my NMOSD came around, I was the type of person who hated relying on medication. I avoided it at all costs unless I felt like I was dying. Time really changes people and my family will see that once they meet me after these long 7 years!

Clothing and NMO

I will be wearing traditional clothing, and I’ve made sure to let the tailors know that the clothing has to be breathable. Especially cause of the weather, and the risk of triggering my symptoms, I would trade wearing aesthetically pleasing clothing for comfortable clothing!

Nervous about seeing family

The main thing I’m really nervous for is meeting my family after gaining weight because of the medication I was on. Ever since I had taken prednisone for over 6 months i=I’ve not felt the same in my body which has made me extremely insecure. I don’t want people to judge me for my body just because I’m bigger than what I was when I last visited Pakistan. I’m also worried about a flare or relapse happening in Pakistan, NMOSD isn’t really well-known and i’m pretty sure they won’t know what the disease is or what treatment is required for a relapse. I really want to enjoy this time away from Scotland, I’ve not been anywhere in ages and i’m so excited to see my family. I hope nothing ruins it, especially my NMOSD.

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