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Living abroad with Lupus

My family thought I'd lost my mind when I announced less than 6 months after my lupus diagnosis that I was leaving the country. It was something I'd always wanted to do, a few short years ago, I "interviewed" Chile as a country to consider. 

This time, I researched quite a few places but the short list included Thailand & Nicaragua. I will be honest, I was heading more toward Thailand. They have top notch hospitals and while the cost of living is low like Nicaragua, their unemployment rate is higher and they don't have a reputation for petty theft. 

In the end, my family (my daughter in particular) asked me to please stay as close to the States as possible. Nicaragua is 2.5 hour flight from Florida so it won by default. Since arriving, I have already met a few challenges that have had me wondering if I should have my head examined. 

One particularly painful night after popping the maximum allowed pain pills, the realization that 911 was not something that was available here crept in my little head, then of course there was the issue that if I needed to go to the ER....umm, not one of those anywhere near either. THEN the last thing was, if I did manage to get somewhere that a doctor could help me, would he speak this foreigner's language? 

On the flip side of things, I have hopped on social media (which is a god send) and joined several groups with people who have also moved here. I've gotten a doctor referral for an English speaking doctor, learned that prescriptions are non-existent here (I literally just bought my prescription meds that would cost me $80 in the States for less than $3) so I am no longer concerned that I won't be able to afford the medications I require.

All in all, I will tell you that this has been a wee bit more than I anticipated. It's only been 2 weeks at the time of this writing but if you are considering a move abroad with an illness, please be sure to research thoroughly what to expect. I looked on the US Embassy's website & they had an English speaking Rheumatologist but me not really knowing the lay of the land didn't realize that doctor is over an hour away from me.  Also, make sure to travel with your extra prescriptions because if you don't make it to a farmacia right away because of the language barrier or whatever, you can't have them sent in. It's on the restricted list, you can pack them in your luggage but you cannot have them mailed here. 

If you have questions, I will do my best to answer but I will tell you that so far, I have zero regrets for making this move. I look forward to sharing with you all my 1st doctor visit and will let you know how that goes. Keep in mind that stress is a trigger & moving to a new country where your language is not widely spoken can certainly create some next level stress but Chile prepared me for Nicaragua. If you've never been abroad before, I suggest you do several visits and take some private lessons on the language first.