Nothing in my life has sucked more than getting the news that I have Lupus. It has consumed so much of my life since February that it seems like I've been battling it ALL of my life. As I learned more about the disease, talked to others who have years under their belt battling and paid attention to what those who are in remission had to say, it caused me to really start looking close and hard at what I put in and on my body.
I started doing my best to eat only the best ingredients but found that the more I learned, the less safe I felt with the treatments and the foods. I learned by being in support groups that while the symptoms of lupus are all different, the treatments all seem to be the same. I found that a little crazy to be honest. Hundreds of people and we are all on the same treatment plans? God must've heard my prayers for trying to figure out if there were other options out there, things that had yet to be explored.
I rarely ever watch TV but when you can't really move, it becomes a welcome go to. I was watching a show on Netflix when I came across something called The Inside Man and it changed my perspective and my life. The journalist is told by his doctor that he needs an MRI which leads him down a rabbit hole of medical nonsense. What really caught my attention in this episode is the last thing he mentioned, the colonoscopy. On my road to learn what was wrong with me, one of the many specialists that I saw recommended one for me. I was told that since I was not iron deficient but was highly anemic this could lead to answers. Just to secure the space was $200, I would require someone to drive me and I would be sedated so they could enter my body from both ends. Then I saw this guy swallow a small camera and go about his day. My mind was blown! Why couldn't I have this? Why all the pomp and circumstance if there was an easier way. Insert additional research where I learned that many insurance companies will not allow certain types of procedures because they are considered "experimental" even though they have been used for many years in other countries. My first thought after this was "am I getting the best treatment or am I getting the treatment that the insurance company allows?" which are two different things.
Thailand was where the journalist received his care, at a top 10 hospital & the bill was mere pennies compared to what he would've paid in the states WITH insurance. This lit a fire under me to learn more. As I learned about Thailand's medical care, I became quite intrigued with the thought of living there. I shared the episode of The Inside Man with my family when they came to visit me back in February. As my disease progressed and finally yielded a name, I was weak, could hardly move, even walking and talking at the same time was a true challenge (still is some days) I think even though I kept talking about it, my family figured in my condition that day of me leaving for Thailand was never going to come.
Heading to Nicaragua?
As I got a little more energy, I started reviving the thought of moving to Thailand. My daughter in particular has said "Mom, we have learned, it's not a matter of if with you, it's a matter of when" so she set about trying to find other places with good food, good healthcare and affordable housing because she was not comfortable with me going so far away. Insert Nicaragua . I called my Mom, Sister & daughter (these are my advisors) and told them what I wanted to do. My Mom didn't want me to leave the states at all, my daughter said go but not too far & my sister and son said, do what you must because it's not our place to tell you otherwise. So stress that I had no idea was going to be attached to this decision kicked in major. Thailand vs. Nicaragua, the battle had begun.
Almost daily, this was on my mind and once I was told I could no longer do that I'd been doing for the vast majority of my adult life and that disability was recommended, all I saw ahead of me was a life of poverty. So I needed to make a decision and I felt I also needed to try to accommodate my Mom & daughter. So, Nicaragua won. I felt I could live there, I could find myself a little place by the beach and be happy. So I sold all my things and went.
As soon as I got off the plane, I knew I was going to have to suck it up to remain there. My first experience after getting off the plane was being detained by customs and then being asked for a tip because they handled my bags. Once I arrived at my 1st temporary home, I was told about the gates. Don't allow anyone in unless you know them, if someone comes to the gate claiming they know someone here, do not let them in. There is a key to leave and a key to return and always make sure the gate is closed behind you, don't have your cell phone out for an extended period of time while out in public. I was like, what the hell? I figured this was overkill and just precautionary. I then went to my 2nd temporary home where I was pretty much told the same thing. One evening while sitting on the porch with my computer, I was told it was dark and that I should come inside with the computer.
I am a lone female and travelling that way can come with risks that men or couples don't face. I was starting to notice a theme when speaking with either locals & expats alike. The message to me said I won't live stress free here. I grew up inner city Chicago where you have to be hyper alert at all times, its tiring. I started noticing I was becoming guarded when in public and paranoid whenever I would take my phone out to snap a few pictures. Add into this that there weren't very many green spaces (I need the trees) and I knew Nicaragua was more of a decision for my family than for me. So I donated the items I took with me & beat the streets out of there. It is a beautiful country, I lived directly on the beach for $300 for the month (although I only stayed on the beach 2 weeks, the other 2 weeks were in the city). I met some great people so all in all, if I were a couple I may have found a way and a reason to stay but since it's just little ol' me, I had to decide what I really wanted. I had to take my family out of the decision. So as I share this post, I am lying across the bed in Chiang Mai, Thailand....hoping, praying that I love it because it took a really long time to get here and I don't want to make that trip back anytime soon. I can tell you that the impression I have after day 1 is already better than my day 1 impression of Nicaragua. So to sum it up, I simply felt like I would not be comfortable remaining in Nicaragua under lock and key. Bars bother me & I never want to have to live behind them, it gave me a feeling of pretty jails. So nothing overly dramatic like some may have thought but just a personal preference for the next chapter of my life. Thanks for reading! Have you considered life abroad? If so, where do you think you'd like to call home?