Holiday dilemma- what would you do?

Hi ladies
jst after a bit of advice. I had my 5th carboplatin today (hence lying awake all night wired off the steroids!). I’m due one more on 18th + then will be rescanned at end of may. My last scan (after 3 cycles) showed no progression + very good shrinkage in mets to superclav lymphs + some reduction in skin lesions too. So a good response- especially for someone who was told I almost certainly have chemo-resistant tnbc…
Anyway, my lovely dad has promised to take us on holiday at the end of this treatment abd he wants us to have a fortnight in Kos (Greece) all inclusive etc. My dilemma is that I’m petrified of waiting til this chemo is finished + I’m rescanned, in case they find any progression to organs etc (god forbid). It will obviously make insurance virtually impossible + I think I’d be too scared to go just in case I took ill. I’d also want to crack on with more treatment if this was the case. Now I really need a holiday after a relentlessly hellish 16mths, and so does my poor hubby! My little boy turns 2 in a fortnight and wud really enjoy it so I am seriously considering going before my last chemo- I would need to delay it by a week + gave my picc removed before we go but a fortnight all expenses paid in the sun will I’m sure, make the vein hunting on chemo 6 worthwhile :wink:
so I’m thinking of suggesting we go away once I get through the 1st 2wks post chemo, stay fir about 10days, and get back in time for chemo 6 after a weeks delay. Then I can enjoy my holiday instead of worrying abut scan results etc. I just feel being triple neg + with my past history, I need to go for things NOW as I don’t know lterally what is round the corner…
Insurance will be a huge issue and if anyone can advise me if a firm that would consider covering me md-chemo then I’d really appreciate it. If not, I think I would risk getting that European health card from the post office + going without full cover. I’ve had no major se’s on this chemo, no infections, no neutrapeinic episodes etc, so I feel cnfident enough to do this. It’s only a few hurs away + my dad has said he would pay for a flight home if I needed one.
Ok, enough ramblng- what would you guys do?? Go for it, or hold back, pray for the best + hope it’s an option in late June??
Your advice would be great on this- think my dilemma has exaccerbated by steroid induced insomnia… :wink:

thanks in advance, as ever
tina xx

I’ve never been to Greece, looks lovely but I’m wondering if it’s a bit grubby and unhygeinic say compared to Spain, canaries etc. I’m not a snob btw- it’s a nice hotel etc, I’m just naturally worried about bugs, infection etc. Also, can anyone tell me anythin about healthcare standard over there- are the hospitals the pits or ok?
Ta :slight_smile:
tina xx

I get my insurance through MIA but I am not having treatment at the minute (clear for 3 years) and did not get insurance whilst having chemo. As to your concerns about Greece I can understand them as their hospitals aren’t the best and though I haven’t been my partner has and has always said that it is a lovely place but he wouldn’t take young children there because of the hygene etc.
Sorry to be a bit negative and this is only one opinion - couldn’t you go to Spain or the Canaries where the healthcare is better?

Hi tbh I wld wait get it all over then go I’m unsure about u sitting on a warm plane with loads plp I can understand what y saying I was meant to be going in July had to cancer I was told won’t consider it while on chemo can’t u go just after chemo fin it wld be great to get away I think in my opp I’d wait or u will prob only Beeing worrying about inf gd luck in whatever u decide x

Hi Tina

I can really appreciate your need for a great holiday to look forward to now, and also your concerns about travelling during your chemo treatment (or after it’s finished), and hope the following might be helpful for you.

In my recent search for travel insurance to go to the States (a different prospect to going to an EU country, as the health care is so much more expensive), I had loads of conversations with insurance firms about travelling with and without full cover for my secondary BC. They felt quite strongly that we really shouldn’t think of travelling without good insurance cover, even in EU countries, as the EHIC card won’t cover all medical/care/travel costs, especially if you need to be re-patriated when ill – could cost thousands £££. And, even though I’ve been stable for a number of years, with few side effects from my treatments and leading a relatively “normal” life, I had to agree that I’d be frantic if I was abroad without full cover – and so would my partner – and therefore wouldn’t get the relaxing holiday we’d hoped for.

In 1997, when I had CMF chemo after my primary BC dx, my chemo nurse was quite concerned about me possibly travelling abroad during that treatment, as things can get difficult as a result of chemo side effects – especially infections – rather suddenly. So I waited until after my chemo finished before going anywhere outside the UK.

I haven’t been to Greece for many years, so can’t comment on health care facilities there, or the cleanliness (or otherwise) of tourist accommodation. We’re all so different in the way we respond to our cancer and treatments, so our experiences might not be particularly relevant to you. I wonder if you could talk to someone from your onc team, or a Mac nurse, to help you assess the risks of travelling while you’re having this treatment? Hope you do manage to get away, either before or after you finish your current chemo, and that the chemo is working well for you!

Marilyn x

Hi Tina,
I totally get your “do it when you can” appraoch and generally in life I’m a “go for it” girl, but I do remember being a bit more cautious on and post chemo…
personally I have found greece to be pretty much similar to other mediteranean countries - I have some friends who live there for 6 months each year so if you want me to I can ask their thoughts on healthcare. what does your Onc think? I know most oncs are good at encouraging hols when they think the risk is low of anything tricky happening.
It might be one of those go with your instincts and take sensible precautions moments?
bw Nicola

Thanks for your replies so far ladies :slight_smile:
the location is flexible so I’m going to suggest Majorca/ menorca or somewhere like that insttead it won’t be a problem. The trip would be nearly 3wks after a chemo infusion so I would be pretty much back to normal + infection risks would be pretty low. It’s not that I’m impatient and can’t wait til after chemo- it’s just he whole scan stress and as I said, bad news would mean yet another cancelled holiday for me+ my family. Does that make sense- I’m just scared of holding off + would rather go on the back of my latest good scan results. I would obviosly try + get cover even if expensive + would discuss with my onc before I booked anything.
Someone mentioned trying click sergeant who might insure during chemo so I’ll give them a ring later- I’m going to hit the hay now after a very sleepless night :frowning:
thanks again
tina x

Yep - I understand your dilemma and I guess it’s about you and your personality in coping with being away from the familiar… I’ve settled for holidays in the UK since they make me feel “safe” in case I need any medical attention but I know that others happily venture far afield… I suggest you do what you feel is right for you and I’d think your father (who sounds so caring in wanting to take you and the family on a holiday) would understand any decision you make - I don’t find it easy to put my views at the forefront but that’s so important for you to enjoy yourself - and for the family to therefore enjoy themselves too. If you know Kos then you’ve probably feel ok - eg have you checked out hospital facilities.
Thinking of you - not easy…

Holiday, yes. Greece, not sure. Had a friend who fell very ill in Greece in one of the main islands and her experience of the healthcare there was not good, shall we say. But that’s only one person’s experience. Does it absolutely have to be Greece? Wondering if the countries with an excellent reputation for oncology healthcare might be a safer bet?
Ann x

Hi Tina,

What a lovely Dad you have! A family holiday sounds a perfect tonic, and a very thoughtful gift.

Can you speak to your oncologist and get their advice? My onc was very keen for me to have a week’s break half way through my course of carboplatin/gem (it was his suggestion, not mine), and I flew to Oman for part of my normal week three and part of the “extra” week. He also recommended a break before my final dose, as carboplatin can be so hard on blood counts and this would give me more chance to recover before the final onslaught. Again I flew out to my family in Oman, and had no adverse effects on either trip.

Best of luck whatever you decide, and hope you have a fabulous time!

J x

Hi Tina
I can appreciate your dilemma, a lovely break would be so nice for you but I think you should be cautious where you go. Possibly stick to mainland Europe in case there was a need to get back quickly, there’s more options. I make this comment after my daughter was stranded in Malta due to the ash cloud last year and couldn’t get back for over a week due to it being an island and therefore very little transport options available. Also do you want to go somewhere as hot as Greece? I know I didn’t when having chemo. Plus it’s the only country I’ve ever had food poisoning in! What about trying the South of France? The French health service is meant to be good plus there are many flights and trains available for transport if needed. Although you mentioned an All inclusive to be honest I wouldn’t trust the hygiene whilst on chemo. My BC team said absolutely no ‘sharing’ food at all and certainly nothing that had been hanging around for a bit. I’m sorry if this seems a bit down on your plans but these are things to consider - which would also make it less worrying for you whilst you were away I’d think. One option could be self catering apartments - everyone else can look after you :slight_smile: And you’ll know everything is freshly prepared. There is a great company called Pierre et Vacances who have great sites all over France who we’ve used before. Good luck and I hope you get a break, wherever it is :slight_smile:
Nicky x

HI GIngerbud

I couldn’t get any insurance at all for my hols last year so I went anyway just armed with my E111 health card. WE went to Lisbon, Heidleberg, Lanzarote and France. I had finished my chemo and was just on Tamoxifen (which was a waste of time) and although I now know the cancer was surging back, I had a wonderful time relaing with OH and family.

None of us know quite what’s round the corner, apart form the obvious. I would rely on how you feel in yourself and go for it!!! Have a fabulous time.

Sue x

Agree with Sue. Go with your heart xx

Thanks girls :slight_smile:
I’ve defo decided against Greece now + will tell dad to book Spain instead- he goes regularly so it won’t be a prob. Think I’m going to go 4 it unless my onc says it’s a definate no-no. I’ve texted my bcn+ she seems to agree it’s reasonable given I’m so well etc. She also fully undestands my fears relating to holding off til after chemo, scan results etc. It’s so not fair- feeling really sorry for myself today. I’m 33 + should not be going through this. None of us should :frowning:
I’m going to speak to my onc on tues- he’s in clinic in the same unit where I go for complementary therapies so I will nab him to discuss my options.
Thanks again
enjoy the long weekend + the wedding if your watching it :slight_smile:

tina xx

Hi Tina
Glad you’ve found a way forward with holiday ideas - let’s hope it can be Kos next year after treatments. Hope you and your family have a great time where ever you go

Hi Tina - Holiday Holiday Holiday!!! Obviously no one can tell you what to do but… be careful and holiday!!
A couple of years ago, half way through TAX for Primary bc we were given (long stioy!!!) a holiday to New York. My Onc was keen and so was I as long as my bloods were ok. They were, MIA online insured me and it was fantastic! I delayed chemo for a week and it did me the power of good.
As a family we have always promised ourselves we would go to Australia to Fraser Island (fraser was my son’s name). We went, it was amazing (Insure Pink). I came home and within a week i got my secondary bc diagnosos. I am so very very pleased we went as it is all a bit different now. Weekly chemo and a v poor prognosis. But every day at breakfast we choose one of the photos we took, pin it up, and chat about it over toast and cereal!! A great start to the day,
I am telling you all this cos we do not know what is round the corner and precious times are so important amongst all this cr**. It is said that our emotional state effects our physical well being. What is beeter than a holiday. You have a kind Dad!
It is a difficult decision, but I will be phoning round insurance companies on Tuesday trying to get a week in France in August.

Best Wishes,

Sadie xx xx

I’ve been benefitting from all of your posts over the past few months since my secondary diagnosis with lung mets on the 22nd Dec, but this is the first time I have posted anything. I had my 5th Docetaxel yesterday, which has been a bit of a roller-coaster but the end is almost in sight (for now…just Herceptin), which is the reason for my post.
My lovely sister and her family have managed to transfer some Virgin direct vouchers to our name and we would really like to use them to go to Tobago at the beginning of August. I spoke to my Onc yesterday and he thinks I’ll be fit to go then, i had a scan post cycle 3 which showed that the chemo was working well (but which also showed scaring from bone mets in my spine) and I’ll have another when I finish the chemo. I am confused about travel insurance, has anyone had any experience of travelling to the Carribean with secondaries? My BCN said sometimes people take a calculated risk and travel without having the breast cancer covered as sometimes insurance quotes end up higher than the holiday itself. Any advice would be greatly appreciated Jinny

Hi ladies
I spent a bit of time phoning round companies on thurs + got several refusals due to secondary status +/or chemo. I did eventually get one quote (can’t remember company off top of head) but it was nearly £2500 for one week in Spain!! If we do decide to go I think I’ll be taking a chance with a EH1C or e111 whatever they are called.
Jinny, as for carribean travel, I’ve been told that it’s the most expensive alng with cover for tge states + Canada, I’m afraid. Im sure you will get cover but Its likely to be really pricey. You will probably find it easier to get quotes if you are not undergoing chemo at the time.
I don’t think I would risk going so far away with no insurance for bc as it is a bit risky. At least in Europe you are entitled to basic healthcare with the e111 (or whatever it’s called now). I know Europe is no comparison to Tobago, but if you were to take ill in the carribean with no cover, god knows what it would cost you.
Try insurepink- I got a great quote from them at Xmas when we went to Canada. It was around £120 + bc was fully covered, as were my hubby + son. I think the big difficulties arise when undergoing treatment (I’m mid chemo at the mo).
Good luck
tina x


I hv just booked our family holiday gran canaria in 3 weeks can’t wait!!!. I finished Chemo in dec and my last radiotherapy tomorrow (yeh!!!). As a family we hv always used American express holiday insurance as it’s free with our card… They said they will ensure me for everything but bc, as I’m not in active treatment and my bone mets aren’t in any danger of causing fractures I think this is enough…

The main difference for me is I love travelling but am too scared to do long haul, but maybe in time… Reading everyones posts i feel great empathy with them as there is always something with stage 4 and we can’t live our life on hold…

So I’m going to get one of those medical cards and off I go… Apparently I can lose my suitcases, get run over, fall off a balcony as long as it’s nothing To do with bc!!! Surely even I can’t get in that much trouble in 7 days!!

Love txxxx

Hi I had no holidays last year due to treatment for multiple liver mets FEC chemo. However, now on hormone antagonist and have been to Jamaica for two weeks amazing and am going on a gullet cruise in Turkey in June. I have not had cover for my bc but am covered for other eventualities and did ensure I had prophylaxis for venous throboembolism due to the long flights. As long as I feel well enough am going to continue my world travels used to be a stewardess with BOAC and hope I am able to complete another round the world trip, have done 16 and there’s are still many places I would like to visit with or without insurance. Keep travelling ladies and enjoy your holidays you all deserve them.

Hugs to you all.