How Not to Travel with Sarcoidosis

Athena Merritt avatar

by Athena Merritt |

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More than 55 million people plan to travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving this year, according to AAA. But I won’t be among them. After two exhausting trips to Cleveland, all within a month, this self-proclaimed worst traveler is staying home.

I love to travel, but trips wear me out. My sarcoidosis and other chronic illnesses contribute to my fatigue. I’m also my own worst enemy.

Packing up

I envy people who pack a week or more in advance, but I secretly wonder if they’ve lost their minds. My sister has packing down to a science. She somehow manages to sucker her daughter into doing it all for her.

To me, packing early means packing the night before. I tend to stuff clothes into my suitcase minutes before heading out the door. It’s hard to predict how I will feel during a trip — if I’ll be hot or cold, if I’ll feel like going out or staying in — as well as pack all the clothes and medications I might need. I can’t foresee how I’m going to feel, so I procrastinate until the last minute to improve my chances of predicting my needs. 

My bright ideas … after the fact

Every year, I fly half a dozen times or more. Yet it doesn’t occur to me until I’m stuck at a security checkpoint that I should sign up for TSA Pre✓. I should also stop wearing belts, shoes with laces, and jackets — all things I have to take off to get through security. These bright ideas dissipate the moment I’ve cleared security and don’t return until my next flight. 

Consistently bad timing

I have a hard time passing up significant savings, which means I tend to fly at undesirable times. To be fair, my recent 3 a.m. shuttle to the terminal led to an inspiring chat with the driver. But I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve inched through Philadelphia’s rush-hour traffic, regretting my decision to pick savings over convenience. 

Getting it right 

Despite my tendency to self-sabotage, I get many things right. Crying babies aren’t music to my ears, so I never travel without wireless, noise-canceling headphones. I pack plenty of snacks, which gives me the willpower to ignore the unhealthy, overpriced food offered in airports. My iPad comes with a variety of entertainment options.

The Lung Institute has some helpful tips for air travel with lung disease. USA Today has solutions for combating sinus pressure, and Men’s Health covered everything from dry skin to constipation. 

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving and safe travels. 


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


Joyce Marin avatar

Joyce Marin

Thanks so much for your insight into this issue. I have lived and traveled on four continents and many countries and ALL over the USA as well.

Athena Merritt avatar

Athena Merritt

Thank you. You are an inspiration. I hope to do the same. Wishing you all the best. I hope each day gets easier in your battle.

Joyce Marin avatar

Joyce Marin

But having been diagnosed and loss of multiple organs until it went into my spine and bone marrow, no one knew that I had Sarcoidosis, let alone WHAT it is (I am talking about the Dr.'s and the medical community) it was my marriage and husband with whom I married in 2006 that let me know what I never knew before, I have sleep apnea and at the same time I was found to have leison's in my spine and after a biopsy it was found to be Sarcoidosis! Wow! And after so many organs removed and my first biopsy at 9 yrs old on my ankle, but that was in the 60's! Now in my late 50's, I just had a pain pump put in and hopefully this will negate the pain. Its spread to my brain but I am still alive and kicking! I am so VERY grateful for my husband and our two fur-babies, a cat and a dog!

Marjorie Burkett avatar

Marjorie Burkett

I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 1997. I’ve had three biopsy. I have a n X-ray once a year. I never really know what they find because of my age and my obesity I’m told the X-ray is foggy so it’s hard to read.


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