Lupus is one of those “invisible illnesses” that causes most of its damage internally. There are external signs at times, however, the external damage is only a fraction of what is really going on inside the body. People with lupus experience different conditions, and it’s never the same as another person. Yes, lupus has different faces and it presents itself in many ways. And in that case, having lupus means making serious key decisions in life such as living a healthy lifestyle. Effective treatments and following a healthy lifestyle is a key to managing and enjoying a good quality of life.
Living or traveling abroad with lupus is sometimes a challenge, and it involves a lot of planning. It takes a lot of concern to understand how someone is going to live abroad with good access to medication and other important aspects to consider. Different countries have different healthcare systems as well as the cost, availability of lupus medicine and doctors. When traveling, you should consider traveling with your extra prescriptions depending on the country where you are heading to. Moreover, it’s also wise to be in a place with access to good sanitation systems, clean water, as well as suitable medical facilities.
Telling your doctor about living abroad is important so that they can help you in devising a health plan in case of an emergency before you get established there. Having them list your health conditions and prescriptions is an advantage. Furthermore, travel insurance policy is crucial. Check that it includes all pre-existing conditions, and research the medical care in the country you want to live in and more. Travel insurance sometimes can be difficult to meet as it differs in each individual with lupus. Lupus affects individuals in different ways, thus it entails having access to different medications individually depending on its conditions.
Accessing healthcare overseas
Living in the European economic area and want to travel within this region? Well, you should ensure that you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will give you all the rights to access the Healthcare Systems necessary for you within that region. Non-EEA countries may have different conditions, and it’s good to check before you leave your country. UK has reciprocal Healthcare agreements with some EEA nations. Some of the immediate medical treatments may involve some reduced cost and in some cases free medication of lupus.
What if you can’t afford the cost of lupus medication and want to live abroad?
As for the case of Kristiana Page, an Australian born lady, she expresses the conditions she is going through and the love of traveling to different destinations in this world. Her expressions have much to do with her lupus, which seems to keep her from living abroad.
Feeling both elated and disheartened, Kristiana wrote her encounters from a small pub in Edinburg, Scotland. As she falls more and more in love with the places she has traveled in the last 28 days, she has managed to travel 10 countries within Europe. She truly loves the world but somehow that love has swelled to epic proportions. Her concern somehow is depicted from the perception of what future hold for her. “I’m a little upset because I know that, at least for the foreseeable future, no matter how much I love a place, lupus is likely to stop me from living anywhere but Australia,” she says.
As for Kristiana though, being in Scotland for less than 24 hours has already stolen her heart. Scotland has completely wrapped around her little finger, a beautiful country she hopes to live for an extended period - only if lupus would release her out of Australia. Kristiana has been diagnosed with the immunosuppressant disease for at least two years without parole, as she termed it as “non-negotiable”. It has held and restricted her in some ways as she’s forced to buy boxes of CellCept medicine she describes to be “in batches of 150 at a time”, and she can’t afford to live anywhere but her own country. Here, hope for Scotland is unlikely to be an achievable reality for her due to this condition.
Though she hopes the reality of living in a European country come true, she can’t equate what her own country, Australia, has helped her, especially in Healthcare compare to other nations. “Australia is the best country in the world,” she says. She loves it as her home and it always will be she said. Australia Healthcare System provided to every citizen is totally amazing. Being an Australian and the ability to live the life she does is something she appreciates. Kristiana has major subsidies applied to a lot of her medications, like the immunosuppressant CellCept which is most notable with a reduced cost from nearly $300 to about $40. To her, if it wasn’t for the National Healthcare System provided by the Australian government, she couldn’t have afforded the medication essential to stopping lupus from trying to terminate her.
Keeping her dreams alive
Kristiana is living with heavy-duty medication and until she’s declared to be healthy enough to live without such medications on a daily basis, then her own county will only be the place she can be. Australia has helped her a lot in healthcare and as she revealed, she’s incredibly grateful for all that’s available to her. People from other countries living with lupus have challenging experiences, especially when it comes to national healthcare. Her nationality has helped her pay the unimaginable amount of debt she would have to accrue in medication to keep her alive if she would have lived in another country.
Kristiana feels disheartened as lupus has stolen many of her moments. She has earnestly fought to keep traveling regardless of her condition and what it might cost her.
With all the means she can manage, Kristiana hopes that one day, she’ll have enough to manage her chronic illness. Such hope sometimes goes with a wish or possibility of being an expat, even if it means temporarily. And in such, with optimism, she eagerly anticipates for a time that all the wonderful and precious moments involved in moving to a completely different nation will become a reality. When such time arrives, and when everything in regards to her illness becomes manageable, she’ll get to call this beautiful, fantastic and inspirational Scotland her home.
Kristiana shares how she lives with lupus and is an example of how lupus patients live their lives. A life of pain with some restricted freedom and medical challenges which are so expensive makes life a distress sometimes.
A lupus patient from the UK
There is much need for lupus patients to access healthcare it seems. Eleanor, a British citizen living with lupus, lives in Spain but spends her summers in the UK to recover. As she says, lupus is different for everyone and NHS is really good. Her UK doctors are amazing. With her condition, she stated that health insurance is also important. She chooses to stay in Europe so that she can use her EU Health Insurance everywhere within that zone.
With medical research and a better understanding of the disease and its treatment, we may be in a better state on the path of helping patients. Above all, it’s always great to follow doctor’s advice and prescription directions as well as other research findings so as to live a better, good lifestyle with lupus.
- When traveling, you should consider traveling with your extra prescriptions depending on the country where you are heading to.
- If you are living in the European economic area and want to travel within this region you should ensure that you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
- The Australian healthcare system has been extremely helpful to patients of lupus such as Kristiana Page.