Vacay with (NO!) RA


Last month, I took my very first long vacation since being diagnosed over 6 years ago!

I was a little worried about how I’d handle it if I flared on the beautiful island of St Maarten so I began preparations in March.

I had two goals: I wanted to rehab my ankle so that I could walk and even hike if we wanted to, and I wanted to really focus on taking care of myself to build up stamina and try to belay the fatigue.

I started working out twice a week with a trainer, something else I haven’t done since this whole journey began.

Lemme tell you: from March to May, I have seen a tremendous positive change in my body. I have avoided working out for a long time for fear of injuring myself. What I’ve learned is that I can do a lot more than I think I can, and doing it makes my body a lot stronger! That’s a whole different post though which will happen soon!

Anyways, so I got up at 5am 3 weeks ago and met 3 of my best friends at the airport. I was stoked: two months of hard work and healthy eating let me get on that plane without an ankle brace, with wrists that could actually lift my carry on, and 13 pounds lighter. I found reassurances in the emergency Pred pack my doctor gave me.

It. Was. Exceptional.


Here we are right after we landed at Princess Juliana Airport, getting our rental car. What does a rental car in the Caribbean look like? Brown gremlin. For serious. And drivers on the island? SCARY!


On our way to the French side, we stopped and hiked around for photo opps like this. HIKED! And I was FINE!

We spent the rest of the afternoon on Orient Beach…yes, the nudey beach and a lady never tells is the answer to the other question you’re thinking right now.

I will say that spending an afternoon on a beach full of naked old people tells me that life, age, and gravity is not kind to anyone…comforting to us patients to know as we grow older. 🙂

I went snorkeling twice.


Snorkeling…ahhhhhhhh…that’s like the dream version of hiking for this gal with RA!

My favorite day was our last day where we took a boat around the whole island, stopping to snorkel and explore small uninhabited islands.


Tintemarre- I wish they’d just left me there. I’d be fine! So beautiful and completely relaxing.

And then all too soon, it was time to go.

While I had no flares while I was there and I certainly overdid it with the activity (and the rum punch), I woke up my first morning home feeling pretty lousy.

I flared pretty badly for three days but got it under control with lots of water and rest.

I never had to touch the Pred pack.

And I wish I could go back there tomorrow because for that week, I really did feel normal.

4 responses »

  1. Sounds great!! I will look forward to your post re working out- as I have been the same (avoiding it in fear of injuring myself). It is only recently that I have started pushing myself a bit more. Did you personal trainer have any RA knowledge?

  2. Great story – thanks for sharing. There’s always that little bit of fear when planning a trip!

    I agree – would like to hear more about working out. I’ve thought about getting a trainer, but really want one who is seriously educated, like an exercise physiologist. I talked to one who was ‘self-taught’ and some of her comments were scary.

    Glad you had a great time – very evident in the photos.

  3. What a delight to hear and see what a great time you had! Good on you for starting the preparation in advance, I’ll bet that helped so much with your confidence. You are so right, we can do more than we think we can, it helps to have someone who can really show what works for each person.

  4. Wonderful. I find I tend to rally on vacation. I always seem to crash afterwards but have a great time while away.

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