After getting married in Greece in May, I went to Asia for two weeks for my honeymoon. I wanted to blog about how I did managing my health in Vietnam and Thailand.
After I did so well in Greece, I was excited about the trip to Asia, knowing that I would be healthy enough to properly enjoy it as well. You see, travelling with health conditions such as hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, can definitely make things more difficult.
In terms of the journey, it was a 12 hour flight each way, and I was apprehensive. The longest flight I’d done before this was about 4 hours and I get so bored when travelling! I was also concerned about the timezone difference and not being able to sleep on the plane, imagining being a zombie by the time we reached the first hotel and not really recovering for the two weeks we were away, but it was actually fine. I settled in to the new timezone fairly well and didn’t feel the change too badly. I did have one morning a few days in where I woke up with a migraine and had to rest until midday, but apart from that, I adapted to the time and adjustment in sleep without too much of a problem.
We did do a lot of travelling on this holiday, including five flights in total (we went back and fourth between Thailand and Vietnam, and also did some internal flights) and two 4 hour coach journeys, but I was very happy to do some Sudoku puzzles, listen to music and even write some blogs. The travelling was a bit tiring so I had to make sure to pace myself and remember that it was OK to just rest and not be exploring Asia constantly. I’ve definitely matured in how I recognise my limits these days.
I did get this really awesome T Shirt whilst away though!
I definitely felt completely relaxed on the trip for the first time in, well, I don’t know how long! Which I’m sure my adrenals loved.
Now, the temperature was HOT in both Vietnam and Thailand. Spending the first week in Vietnam, with temperatures in the low to mid 30’s (Celsius) it was definitely warm enough. I enjoyed spending time in the sea to keep at a good temperature as with my thyroid problems, I’ve never been able to regulate my body temperature very well, so I can overheat and become rather useless quite quickly! Thailand was something else though. With temperatures pushing 40 degrees Celsius, we tried going out during the day but ended up searching for anywhere with air con or coming back to the hotel to cool off in the swimming pool. As many of thyroid patients report, I definitely felt less hypothyroid whilst on holiday due to the warmth.
I even kayaked for a couple of hours on one day in Vietnam, which I was so shocked about, as I didn’t feel unwell or ‘pay’ for it the next day with fatigue or aches and pains. Overall I was eating healthier whilst there though and it’s something I’m planning to maintain when I get back home.
Now, being gluten free..
In Vietnam I was ecstatic that most foods were safe from gluten. Being the biggest exporter of rice in the world, they used rice noodles and rice flour in place of wheat. Hoorah! I ate so much delicious food including spring rolls! I’m definitely going to try and recreate some of the food back home.
In Thailand, they use a lot more wheat and soy sauce (which contains wheat), so it was a bit trickier. I did take a bottle of gluten free soy sauce with me though. I also had my gluten free card app on my phone which explained what foods I couldn’t have to keep me safe when eating out. I just couldn’t eat as much on the menu as Vietnam.
My acne, which did get better when in Greece a few weeks before for my wedding, was very up and down in Asia. It was doing well in Vietnam but I think the humidity of Thailand gave me a lot more pimples and clogged pores to deal with.
I also came down with a viral infection half way through the trip (and ended up at a Vietnamese hospital to have some IV drips and observations) so I’m sure that didn’t help my skin either! I had to go to the hospital to be tested for many of the serious diseases they have in that part of the world, but I was luckily given the all clear and was told I just had a nasty viral infection instead. I was so relieved. For a few days after though, I was confined to my bed a lot more, had a horrid fever and muscle aches I can’t even begin describe. They were excruciating.
I seemed to get over the virus fairly quickly though, and was soon feeling better. I made it a priority to take all my supplements regularly, meaning that my immune system was well supported to fight it off. Some things I did have to plan ahead for was how I was still going to take a probiotic and all my supplements on holiday, when it wasn’t feasible for me to carry bottles of kefir (my probiotic) and hundreds of tablets. As I take around 20 physical tablets a day in supplements, even trying to fit them in to a pill organiser for two weeks would be difficult. So after speaking to my functional doctor, I bought the highest strength probiotic (at 100 billion) and a strong multivitamin that would replace many of the separate supplements I was taking. I was really thankful for her help in finding these as it put my mind at rest.
One of my favourite things whilst in both Vietnam and Thailand were all the foot massages I had! They were amazing and helped my tired and feet and legs hugely.
So overall, the trip was a big success for my health and, despite the virus I caught, I did much better than I have done on various holidays. For once I didn’t get a stomach bug and my energy levels were very good.
And I’m back home feeling refreshed and motivated.
Don’t forget to check out my tips and advice on travelling with chronic illnesses such as hypothyroidism, here.
Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018, and is a qualified Diet and Nutritional Advisor, also currently studying for relevant qualifications and certificates in Life Coaching, Motivational Speaking, Reflexology and more. She has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community.